Chapter Four

Answers to Arguments
Rabbis from Outside of Israel Must Also Issue a Ruling
Even Without Being Requested to from Israel 
Not to Wait to be Asked, but to Take the Initiative and Publicize the Law

In the wake of the Rebbe’s call to the rabbis to publicize a ruling, responses were not long in coming. Many questions and complaints were directed at the Rebbe. Here are a few to which the Rebbe responded publicly:


1. Some Diaspora rabbis argued that since they do not live in Israel, they should not meddle in affairs there.

The Rebbe responded that this argument has no basis in the Torah, because all Jews are one people. Every Jew, regardless of where he finds himself, is united with every Jew in the world (even with one who says he has no business meddling in their affairs...). The Rebbe cited Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi’s statement that a body can only be considered healthy when all its constituent organs are healthy. If one is missing (G-d forbid), then the whole body and all its constituent organs are defective. Similarly, when a particular organ is not functioning properly, the other organs must "complain" and "sound an alarm" in order to bring this to attention. The Rebbe continues:

I can do nothing about those who insist on keeping quiet. But they themselves know that to remain silent is a violation of the Code of Jewish Law, which states that when a Jew at one end of the world does something contrary to Jewish law, every Jew — no matter where he is — must let it be known that this is happening, and that this Jew is harming himself and the entire Jewish people, thereby forcing the Divine Presence — which follows the Jews wherever they go — into exile.

 

2. There were those who justified not issuing a ruling by saying that they had not received a directive from Israel to do so.

To them the Rebbe replied that when it concerns ideas that are in conflict with this opinion, the same rabbi does not maintain that he must wait for a signal from the Holy Land, but acts immediately. Only when it involves taking a positive step, such as a ruling on the integrity of the Land of Israel, does he suddenly allege that since he is in the Diaspora, he must not meddle in Israeli affairs, claiming there are already many capable rabbis there.

How can he possibly say that he cannot act without a directive from the land of Israel? We are dealing here with a situation of "You must not stand idly by your brother’s blood." This verse applies not only when your brother is in your home, but also when he is somewhere else — even far away — as long as he is in danger. Similarly in the present situation: when someone hears that the Israeli government wants to surrender land, a matter endangering the safety of the Jewish people, he is obligated to fulfill the law, "You must not stand idly by when your brother’s blood is about to be spilled."

 

3. There are also those who claim that they know they are obligated to protest and cry out. But since they have not been officially approached (and even if they would be asked, who knows if they will be listened to...) why should they go out on a limb?

To this the Rebbe responded:

In a matter of life and death, the law (as stated with regard to the Laws of the Sabbath) is that "he who waits to be asked is contemptible," with all the connotations of that word. The reason is stated there: how could those who know the ruling wait to be asked? This is a case of life and death! According to the law, rabbis are not allowed to wait until they are approached, but are obligated to effectively and broadly publicize the ruling. By acting in this manner, everyone will know that the law is, that, even though it is the Sabbath, we have to stand ready with all our weapons (in order to prevent the loss of Jewish lives).

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