Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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20
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Jacobi is smuggled out of Jerusalem. In Yavneh he is murdered
by right wing Israeli zealots.
Rabbi Jacobi, although enduring much personal hardship, re­
tains his faith in the power of prayer and study. He is in constant
conflict with two sources of authority, the rabbinate over its
acquisition of property, and the government for its policy of
retaliatory raids. The manifesto which he wrote for his Yavneh
academy declares that his students “shall be as the disciples of
Aaron, loving peace, and teaching Torah which alone sustains
the Jews who, if they faithfully follow its Holy Principles, will
be redeemed by them and then redeem all mankind, in God’s
good time . . . ” The rabbi’s view of redemption is similar to
that expressed by the prophet Zachariah. “ . . . Not by might,
nor by power, but by my spirit, said the Lord of hosts” (4:6).
The official Israeli position, however, differs markedly from
that embraced by Rabbi Jacobi. The State has decided to eschew
the way of holiness, preferring instead force of arms, exempli­
fied by the Sammael, one of Israel’s newest self-propelled nu­
clear missiles, and terrorism as practiced by zealots such as the
secretary Dora. Linguistically, these names reveal the great gulf
existing between Zachariah’s view and contemporary times. For
example, Sammael is a compound word comprised of “sam”
(poison) and “el” (angel). Rabbinic texts portray Sammael as
the angel of death. Dor-(generation)ra(evil) is meant to stand
for those whose nationalism has become fanaticism. Dora’s ac­
tions contrast radically with Buber’s view of redemption. For
example, the philosopher tells Nissenson that he would not have
condemned Eichmann, because this is “not worthy of Israel’s
transcendent destiny: being a light unto the nations.”
USE OF FORCE
Two other stories, “The Throne of Good” and “The Crazy
Old Man,” pursue the redemptive theme of power versus ho­
liness. In the first, a young survivor of the Holocaust is clan­
destinely smuggled into mandatory Israel in order to carry out
a mission against the British. The boy, from Vilna, is code
named
Zemsta
(revenge). After his parents were murdered in
a pogrom, the thirteen-year-old youth stabbed to death a Lith­
uanian ‘manhunter’who helped round up Jews for deportation.
Zemsta,
like Danny Levi, has a bar mitzvah that is directly related