“A Jew Doesn’t Expel A Jew”
Rabbi Y. Oliver
Jewish hothouses in Gush Katif, may it be speedily rebuilt.
We know that throughout history, the Jewish people suffered mass tragedies in one form or another around the time of the three weeks and the month of Av. We are now marking six years since the euphemistically-termed “disengagement”—the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes, the mass devastation of dozens of Jewish villages, and the surrender of Jewish land to our arch-enemies.
In contrast, it was Jews who initiated, organized, and implemented the mass expulsion of their fellow Jews from their homes and land, to knowingly hand over their land to our sworn enemies—the Nazis of today, the PLO and Hamas—knowing full well that this act would empower and embolden them. There was not even any political pressure from the US at the time to make such a move (not that such pressure would in any way have justified the expulsion, of course, but its absence makes the expulsion all the worse).
Now, we were sent into golus, and thus it stands to reason that we are still in golus, because of sinas chinam, baseless hatred. The Gemara tells us that there was a specific event that so exemplified sinas chinam that it precipitated the entire exile. This was the episode in which a Jew in Jerusalem expelled another Jew by the name of Bar Kamtza, thus humiliating him. The relevance of this story is clear.
Let us increase in our love for our fellow Jew, which includes our zeal to defend our fellow Jew from harm—even harm inflicted by another Jew.
Although all the pain and suffering that the Jewish people have suffered throughout the ages is very difficult to digest, in a way, I personally find this tragedy worse than others, and thus representative of the nadir of the golus.
In earlier tragedies—such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, the pogroms, the Holocaust, and so on—it was always goyim who initiated their attacks against Jewish life and property. Even the Judenrat, the European Jews who collaborated with the Nazis in sending Jews to be slaughtered in the gas chambers, did not initiate their actions, as despicable as they were. Rather, they acted as they did for fear of their own lives.
And yet a group of Jews, very stubborn and organized, supposedly sworn to the noble task of leading and serving the Jewish people, initiated and carefully planned a mass expulsion of their fellow Jews on a scale so grand that it simply has no parallel in Jewish history.
Now, surely you will say, quite possibly with outrage, how dare I make such comparisons? No, I am not saying that Mr. Sharon is equal or worse than Torquemada. What I am saying is that I am much more troubled and outraged by a Jew’s callousness than a goy’s.
Because all Jews are brothers. And we are one family. And brothers shouldn’t treat one another like this. In the words of the cry that many of the Jews of Gush Katif and their sympathizers chanted as they were being expelled, “A Jew doesn’t expel a Jew.”
To the extent that we, the Jewish people, allowed this vile event to take place, we are responsible for it, and for the prolongation of the exile that it surely caused.
But this is not merely a matter of feeling sincere remorse for this collective sin, necessary though that is.
Concessions lead very predictably to ever-greater concessions, so ever since the Gush Katif expulsion, there have been various small-scale expulsions, and constant talk of another mass-scale expulsion. Only this time, the threat involves not the expulsion of 10,000 Jews, but 250,000 Jews, G–d forbid—all the residents of the Shomron and Yehuda, and the surrender of their land—our land, the Land of every single Jew—to the Hamas and the PLO, G–d forbid.
Every Jew should shudder with dread at the thought of this unspeakably evil act being inflicted upon our brethren in the Holy Land, and pour out his heart to Hashem that this evil plot be completely and forever forgotten, and do everything in his power to avert it.