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Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 14th day of Tamrnuz, 5743,
the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Numbers 22:2-25:9.
Prophetical portion, Micah 5:6-6:8.
Tuesday, Fast of the 17th of Tammuz
Pentateuchal portion, Exodus 32:11-14, 34:1-10.
Prophetical portion, Isaiah 55:6-56:8 (afternoon only).
Candlelighting, Friday, June 24, 8:54 p.m.
VOL. LXXXIII, No. 17
Friday, June 24, 1983
In the critical period that confronted Israel
and the Jewish people prior to the Six-Day War
of June 1967, the slogan was: "Shenit Matsada
lo tipol — Masada shall not fall a second time."
It may be applicable now. While Israel's mili-
tary strength is unquestioned, the losses in
maintaining it are immense and heartrending.
The 500 who died in the Lebanese sphere affect
every Israeli family and cause feelings of
mourning wherever there are Jews who must
feel akin with their Israeli fellow Jews.
That is why it is necessary to consider the
ramparts that represent concern for the future
of the Jewish state and its unquestioned moral
How are these ramparts to be treated? Is
the immediacy of withdrawal of Israeli troops
from Lebanon to be viewed as compulsory, or is
the warning that such an abandonment of posi-
tions in Lebanon would mean a return to the
insecure position of Israel under terrorist
threats to be taken seriously?
There is no doubt that the extreme ter-
rorism is gaining ground and that under the
label of PLO the immensity of repetitive dec-
larations from the saber-rattling enemies of Is-
rael is not diminishing.
Under such conditions the people of Israel
is being tested and the attitudes in Jewish
ranks face challenges that cannot be ignored.
The ramparts continue to be threatened
and their security must be viewed with realism,
devoid of political considerations. Politics un-
fortunately play damaging roles. Therefore the
unending obligation to treat the judgment of the
dominent forces in Israel with seriousness.
They know the conditions and an active opposi-
tion is on such an alert that out of differing
views must develop, in the course of time, the
solution that is so urgent for peace.
A defensive rampart must, nevertheless, be
on a high level of morality, and to sustain its
virility its ethical codes must not be subjected to
A battered rampart must be above re-
proach, and the frequent accusations of mis-
treatment of Arabs on Israel's borders and in
presently-resettled territories demand correct-
ing. If the reports of brutalities are real, they
must be corrected. •
Then there are the apparently growing
condemnations in Jewish ranks which cannot
lend strength to the determined "Masada shall
not fall again" will to live.
There is no doubt that the ramparts are
being battered. They must be protected, and
such protectiveness must come from two
sources: the elevation of Jewish moral
standards within Israel and the assurance that
Jewish unity will not be disrupted at a time
when it is so vital in the strength of the Dias-
pora alliance with Israel as a defensive force for
Israel. "Shenit Matsada lo tipol."
COALESCING THE FORCES
When Israel's very existence was
threatened in 1967, in the period of a Gamal
Abdel Nasser's war that was aimed at the an-
nihilation of Israel, political forces in Israel
were unified. Menahem Begin was called into a
coalition government. Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir,
Moshe Dayan and their associates were ready to
cooperate in the interest of Israel's security.
Perhaps the situation is not much different
insofar as the internal Israel situation is con-
cerned. Only in a unified approach to the issues
— involving the so-called Palestinian dilemma,
involving settlements which in the main can
never be dissolved, as well as the demands for
withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon and
their consequences — there must be a common
ground of understanding and cooperation by all
ranks in Israel's society.
Accusations constantly repeated that dif-
fering views on matters involving Israeli secu-
rity and internal peace of mind among the
people of Israel, that the differing attitudes are
politically motivated, again raise to the fore the
demand that a coalition government be estab-
lished, in the consideration of differences of
opinions and attitudes.
There is a single basic principle never to be
molested. It is the obligation to recognize differ-
ing views in the interest of arriving at amicabil-
This has applicability on a domestic as well
as national scope. If people can not differ they
will not be able eventually to agree. If there is to
be clarification of opposing views it must be
attained in face-to-face confrontations, thus
eliminating any approach to unwelcome bias.
In time of crisis such an effort to attain
unified action is more vital even than on the
strictest personal level, and the aim of produc-
ing the highest level of unified aim for the com-
mon good must be out of mutual respect.
In the deliberations now being conducted in
Jerusalem by the Jewish Agency, there will
hopefully come forth such a workable proposal,
supported by the two forces in worldwide Jewish
ranks, the Zionist and the otherwise com-
munal. There is a vital need for such an in-
fluencing stand by world Jewry together with
the representatives of the Israeli community of
Jews and their government.
There is need for a unity that will obviate
demonstrations in many areas which give the
impression of an impending collapse of of an
undermining of harmony among Jews
everywhere, as well as among Israelis. There is
a need for realistic unity. Perhaps the gathered
representatives of Jewish communities
everywhere can exert the needed pressure to
abandon divisiveness and to coalesce for har-
Ktav-Published 'Jewish Quest'
Dr. Agus Explores Jewish
"The Jewish Quest" (Ktav), the title of the newest volume by Dr.
Jacob B. Agus, adds significantly to the researched studies conducted
by the eminent scholar.
The new work, which draws upon historic teachings, much of it
based on Maimonidean concepts, is sociological and philosophical in
Its aim is theological. Rabbi Agus concerns himself "with the
nature of revelation in an ecumenical sense."
It is interesting and important in treat-
ing this volume to note that the author at the
outset states: "The core of revelation is taken
to be not the conveyance of concrete informa-
tion, but an awareness of the luminous and
the sublime that developed into a hunger for
wisdom, a dedication to goodness, an inten-
sified sense of the holy."
Concerned with the ecumenical, giving
emphasis to the basic principles of Conserva-
tive Judaism, Dr. Agus considers the new
horizons in the post-Holocaust era, in a period approaching the hopes
for peace for Israel.
The current developments on the world scene receive due atten-
tion from Dr. Agus, as he defines the new anti-Semitism that was
equated with anti-Zionism.
He is not uncritical of Jews and Israelis, especially in his com-
ments on the challenges that have been directed on the question of
traditional morality. Thus, he states:
"We must take note of the fact that the moral image of Israel
declined at the very time when the Arab case gained in credibility and
power. The increasing nervousness of the Israeli government, the
anxious haste to establish new settlements in the midst of Arab lands,
the rough tactics used to suppress Arab demonstrations — all these
factors helped to remove the aura of moral greatness from the cause of
Israel. The house of Israel' had become 'like all the nations.' "
Therefore, his frank approach to the American Jewish leadership
problems in relation to Israel and other issues that keep arising. He is
of the view that Jewish leadership in this country "is in need of more
subtlety and sophistication than ever before." This is where he takes
into account the changes in attitudes towards Israel in liberal ranks.
This is where Palestinianism is tested as a problem.
In a sense, this thesis is a warning against ancient mythologies,
in reference to the claims that the West Bank belongs to Israel
because"God gave it to us."
He declares that "the task of Diaspora Jewry is to help Israel
acquire fresh dimensions of moral and cultural greatness."
Dr. Agus is the noted scholar whose guidance in testing reli-
gious ethics aids teachers and students alike. His theological defini-
tions are vital to such studies, such as his enlightening chapter on
"Judaism in the New Testament." His analyses of Halakhic studies
similarly add immensely to such approaches to theological schol-
On this score, "The Jewish Quest" provides guidance in the ecu-