January 08, 2006

More on Pat Robertson and Faith

Folks, I am still surprised at the raging near-global disapproval of Pat Robertson's comment about Ariel Sharon on his program “The 700 Club”. This is what he said:
Ariel Sharon, who was again a very likeable person, a delightful person to be with. I prayed with him personally. But here he is at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or United States of America. God said, ‘This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.
So far, all that Pat Robertson has done was quote a biblical principal. God explicitly promised in the Torah that He would have a constant, 24/7 connection with the Land of Israel and those who dwell here: "A land that the Lord your God scrutinizes constantly; the eyes of the Lord your God are on it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year." -- Deut. 11:12.

God's very first pronouncement to the first Jew, Abraham, is a command to move to Israel. "Go from your land, from your birthplace, from your father's house, to the land that I will show you." --Gen. 12:1

The covenant which God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob promised two things to their descendents: the eternality of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. Judaism is the only religion in the world connected to a specific country. Other religions have sacred sites, rivers, and springs, but Judaism maintains that every inch of Israel within the Biblical borders is holy.

It is also important to know that the Torah is full of examples where G-d smote people and cities and entire nations for their actions. In fact, in the very first book of the Bible, G-d says to Abraham, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:3

Take for example the splitting of the Red Sea and the Ten Plagues. The Jews leave, the sea splits, the Egyptians follow and they drown. After the splitting of the Sea, "The nations heard... fright gripped them" (Exodus 15:14). Even the most wicked nations were sufficiently impressed by the Ten Plagues and the splitting of the Sea. They may have wanted to attack, but they were scared enough of the God of the Jews to lay off.

Obviously after the splitting of the Sea and the Ten Plaques, people had the basic understanding that some force controls this world, and that whatever this power was, it was on the Jews' side.

Take for example Moses. He never entered the Promised Land. Why? Moses disobeyed G-d. God tells Moses to speak to the rock and water will flow. So after 40 years of leading non-believers, Moses loses his temper for one moment and instead of speaking to the rock as he was commanded to do, he hits it. And God says to Moses, "Because you don't believe in Me, you're not going to go into the Land of Israel with the Jewish people."

For Moses -- the ultimate prophet to whom God spoke face-to-face -- to get angry for a few seconds, the consequences are awesome. It was a desecration of God's name, done publicly in front of the Jewish people. The consequences show just how accountable people on such high levels are for the little mistakes they make and the repercussions of those mistakes. In Deuteronomy, Moses accepted his fate that he would not enter the Promised Land and tells his people, "If you keep the laws between 'man and God' and between 'man and man', everything will go fine for you. No nation will touch you. You'll have prosperity, and you will live to change the world. But if you don't keep the Torah, if you break your end of the bargain, then the land will vomit you out, your enemies will attack, and you will suffer."

It is in my opinion that just because mankind is politically correct, don't expect G-d to play along. He means business. The message is clear. The solution to all our problems has nothing to do with external threats. It always has to do with the Jews' relationship to each other and their relationship to God. I realize that G-d in retribution isn't always selective and many good people suffer with the bad. For example, were G-d to obtain retribution on Europe for the Holocaust and for throwing Jewish babies into Krupp ovens alive and screaming, I can't forget how many innocent Jewish babies had to suffer in the first place. Even as I watch President Bush bond with Muslims to divide the Land of Israel, knowing that this would put the land G-d gave to the Jews in grave danger, I now expect the US to suffer in various disasters - natural or otherwise, one after another - in retribution.

Why was there no outrage when thousands whispered privately that last year's tsunami was Divine Retribution against Islam? How many of you wondered out loud if Katrina was not Divine Retribution against the US for her participation in the Gaza "disengagement"? So why can not Pat Robertson speculate about Ariel Sharon's illness in the same vein?

Don't any of you have any faith that there are unseen forces at work? What is happening in the world and especially in the Middle East, should not be a surprise to those who believe in the Bible, because our prophet, Zechariah warned us: And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it -- Zechariah 12:3

The problem with most people is that they view all worldly events at face value. They refuse to perceive the secondary forces which cause every event to occur. The more this world becomes atheistic, the weaker is our belief in God.

One thing is clear to me: G-d has blessed Israel by re-uniting Jerusalem and bringing Judea, Samaria and Gaza back under its control. Based on what our sages teach us, it is a horrendous sin against G-d to renounce this inheritance to which Israel is entitled. Israel holds these lands as a sacred trust for the Jewish people in perpetuity.

I don't claim to know what G-d thinks, but I am sure as heck allowed to speculate and Pat Robertson, dopey and a schmuck as he has been in the past, also has the right to speculate. I am more than willing to trust that what G-d Says and that what is written in the Torah to be unflinchingly true - it would not only be sinful, but also criminal, to carve up the one tiny spot of land given to us by G-d.

Some of my peers, who are afraid to mention me by name on their sites, threaten that they may lose respect for me now and that I should grow up. I always want to grow and my faith is growing deeper each day. But I ask my critics - who is the more arrogant? Me, who believes that when G-d Spoke, the earth was created, or my critics, who believe that G-d is just a spirit, an impotent figurehead, and flawed?

David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel said: "A Jew who does not believe in miracles is not a realist." Why did he say that? Because miracles are the only possible explanation for the existence of the Jewish people.

I welcome your public comments and to my critics, I welcome your private emails. You know who you are.

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