This morning I posted my underlying political views re. Israel. I wanted to add one major point. And it is so important that it is the one time, that I can recall, that I have talked what can be viewed as politics - Israel politics - from the bima, from the pulpit. It is regarding the rule of law in Israel, and, specifically, following the law when it comes to the IDF. I believe that in the case of Israel, not only is the rule of law critical to the moral, ethical and national fiber of the state, but it is crucial for the very survival of the Jewish State. Therefore, it becomes a religious issue of “pikuach nefesh” making sure that the best defense of the Jewish People - the State of Israel - can operate safely as a state of laws. That applies to soldiers in the IDF, even if their rabbis tell them otherwise, and to those building communities all over the land. I would push hard to allow the greatest freedom of expression the law will allow - free speech is important - and for the greatest latitude in letting Jews live everywhere in Eretz Yisrael, the land that God gave us, but we need to follow the laws of Israel.
Our rabbis had an ambivalent - to say the least - attitude towards the Hashmonaim who did not always stick to Jewish law. They are still heroes, but their state did not last. I hope, and pray and plan to work hard to make sure the the Jewish state that we have in our days lasts a lot longer, and one of the key ways of doing so is by making sure that all those who live in her holy boundaries, heroes or not, obey the law.
Shabbat shalom, Chodesh Tov and Chanuka same’ach,
Rabbi Asher Lopatin