Rabbi Yisroel Rosen of Zomet, wrote the following. I disagree about the Tzeduki part. I do not believe for one minute that Ariel ever took his eye off the ball or that he didn’t do what he thought was best for his country and people. Rabbi Rosen, with respect, was never in the cauldron of international politics, but lies in Milchamta Shel Torah and Technology. As he lies in a very precarious state, I also believe it is in extremely poor taste for Rabbi Rosen to express these views while the Satan is Mekatreg. If you can’t say something good about someone on their death-bed, don’t say it.
As for the Chashmonaim, we knew they wouldn’t last. They were Cohanim.
“In the End He became a Tzeduki” / Rabbi Yisrael Rosen
Dean of the Zomet Institute
“Yochanan the Kohen served as a High Priest for eighty years, and in the end he became a Tzeduki” [Berachot 29a].
From the Depths of the Expulsion…
As soon as Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister at the time, fell into a sick bed eight years ago, I wrote an article in this bulletin with a title that is still relevant today: “One Tearful Eye and One That is Dry” (Issue 1100, Tevet 5766, January 2006). Here is the beginning of the article, written with tears in my eyes:
“One eye is ‘filled with tears’ for this glorious warrior, often decorated in the past for bravery and strength… He was a man who deserves credit for several of the victories during the past wars. It can be said that in his techniques of war he embodied the military approach of active deterrence, meaning that he moved the battlefield across the enemy lines, to the heart of their fortresses… Sharon educated generations of commanders in the spirit of ‘after me’… As a ‘man of the fields’ from his earliest days, as a ‘man of the land’ who clung to the concept of love of the land, based on his ingrained Mapai instinct, he knew to follow the principle of the Rambam, that settlement provides more of an act of possession than conquest (see Hilchot Beit Habechira 6:16)… in spite of his secular way of life he appreciated the traditions of old, and he insisted on the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.”
The weeping eye, on the other hand, is not for “Arik” the man but for his historical rejection of the principles of Zionism and of the security of Israel, which he had so strongly developed and defended. As far as all those “in the know” are concerned, this turnabout was meant to cover for crimes in the realms of finance and criminal activities. Thus, using transparent and crushing guile he quickly became the “darling of the left” by putting his massive weight behind the operation of evacuating Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip. He knew very well that there are judges in Jerusalem who read the newspaper Haaretz, where an article would be published with a headline along the lines of, “Democracy and Corruption can Wait their Turn.” Those who would destroy you from within were given immunity by the courts of the earth, down below! The deeper the expulsion went, the greater was the level of pardon available.
However, there is also a court in the heavens. And here is what I wrote in this column five months ago (issue 1483, Av 5773, July 2013:
“More than once I have asked myself and my readers what the Holy One, Blessed be He, is hinting at by the unpr ecedented act of suspending Arik Sharon as in a slingshot between heaven and earth, in an unprecedented coma between life and death, for so many years. Can it be that his body and soul will only come to final rest when all of his ‘partners in crime,’ both political and military, will apologize and repent for their actions? So far only a few have done so, and they were mostly lower-level participants. Recently, these people were joined by the deputy head of operations of the police at the time of the events and by one of the perpetrators who came to his senses, General Gershon Hakohen.”
A Commission of Inquiry Before and After
This accusation that has been brought against Arik Sharon, that the decree of expulsion was born as a result of his own personal interest, is based on strong circumstantial evidence, and is a very serious matter. The same is true of accusations of traitorous activity or worse. As time passes, I have been waiting for these matters to be thoroughly investigated by establishing a “Commission of Inquiry of the Motives of the Expulsion from Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip, and of the Results.” This should begin as soon as possible, while those who are privy to the information are still with us.
Another reason for the urgency of appointing such a commission is linked to the frequent repeated visits to our region by the American Foreign Minister, John Kerry. Everybody knows that in the balance Kerry holds the destruction of many settlements in Yehuda and the Shomron (and the Jordan Valley?), G-d forbid. I cannot be sure that a commission will accept the suggestion that the motivations for the previous expulsions were as explained above, perhaps it will leave room for an explanation that the motive was a real hope for and belief in “peace.” But one thing is certai n: In the summary section of the commission’s report, it will be written clearly, in black and/or red, that nothing was accomplished by this move. Just the opposite – on all fronts, we are in a worse situation than before – with respect to security, international relations, deterrence, and of course the values of Zionism and settlement activity.
Did a Chashmonai Warrior become a Tzeduki?
At the beginning of this article, we quoted the words of the sages about the possibility that even Yochanan the High Priest might have become a Tzeduki (who opposed the rule of the Perushim, the traditional rabbis). He might even pour the water of libation (on Succot) on his feet and dirty them, as required by the Tzedukim, instead of sanctifying the Altar of G-d.
In Chassidic lore (in the name of Rabbi Baruch of Mezhibezh, in the book Butzina Din’Hora), a remarkab le assertion is made – that “Yochanan the High Priest” who became a Tzeduki was none other than the father of Matityahu the Maccabee, who is known to us from the “Al Hanissim” prayer (“In the days of Matityahu Ben Yochanan, the High Priest…” – admittedly, many commentators insist that the two priests named Yochanan are not the same person). Thus, we see that even a Maccabee who fought valiantly and with great courage, the few against the many, is liable in the end to reject his status as a warrior.
Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech from Dinov, in the Chassidic book Bnei Issasschar (Kislev-Tevet number 4), also saw the two priests named Yochanan as the same person: “At the time, this great and holy man made a terrible mistake. But then his son Matityahu came and made a new oral mitzva (which the Tzedukim did not accept).”
Will the Matityahu (or is it Netanyahu) of our generation also correct the error of his predecessor?