“The sword [dedicated] to the Lord is filled with blood…. for [there is] sacrifice to the Lord in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.” Isaiah 34:6

Most rabbis have divested from God. Their God is a subordinate who must be content with whatever attention is paid him. He is not expected to have any influence on current affairs, and thus is not feared. Had the rabbis feared God, they would follow his precepts, not government instructions. Why did the rabbis not call on the Jews to fight the government over the destruction of Gush Katif? Because the rabbis don’t see the commandment to conquer Canaan or establish a Jewish state as binding. They are skeptical about that ancient fellow Joshua bin Nun, who conquered the land. Maybe he received a commandment; they didn’t. Rabbis demand miracles, such as a supernatural Messiah, because they don’t believe the words of the Torah. The commandments do not persuade them; rabbis know how readily the Talmud twists the commandments. De facto, the Torah takes for them distant second place after the sages—whom they also reinterpret at will. Had the rabbis believed that the commandments are divine and the words passed to us intact, so why demand a Messiah? But they don’t believe that the commandments are miracles, and so they demand that a miracle happen before their eyes. God, however, tends to perform miracles without violating the laws of nature. Every miracle can be explained away. Pundits explain persuasively how the Red Sea parted naturally. Jewish survival in the Holocaust is attributed to chance, and Israel’s victories against behemoth Arab armies to tactical superiority.

Meir Kahane conformed to the profile of a messiah as closely as one can imagine: a genius, a charismatic leader, a man of religion and war, suffering, humiliated, condemned to death by Jewish leaders, and murdered by an Edomite Arab. Talmudic rabbis called the Romans Edomites, too. If Messiah comes and is recognized, would the Jews follow him? The case is far from theoretical. Scores of Chabadniks consider the Lubavitcher Rebbe to be the Messiah. In clear violation of the commandment that prohibits images, they put the Rebbe’s photo in their homes and offices, and revere him. They gather at his grave to ask for blessings and intercession. But Chabadniks ignore the Rebbe’s major injunction against ceding any part of the Land of Israel. Perhaps they consider the Rebbe a spiritual leader, not worthy of consulting in earthly matters? That’s not so. Jews cheered Sharon’s, Netanyahu’s and other politicians’ visits to the Rebbe. Sharon specifically sought the Rebbe’s help against Shamir’s plan for elections in Palestine. Chabadniks—presumably ready to die on stakes rather than forfeit their religion—were afraid to fight the renegade government over the Gush Katif destruction.

Chabad leaders vociferously condemned the flock in Kfar Chabad who voted for Baruch Marzel, and his program of holding the Jewish land and expelling the Arab enemies. The leaders knew they acted contrary to the Rebbe’s teaching and invented a flimsy pretext: Chabadniks shouldn’t vote for Marzel because he won’t pass the electoral barrier and their votes will be lost. As if the votes are not lost on Shas and similar quasi-religious outfits committed to cooperation with the government in return for money and promotion. Chabad leaders could have helped Marzel to pass the electoral barrier instead of campaigning against him.

Judaism is a religion of deeds. There is no gap between earthly and spiritual things. A religion of practical purity is hard, indeed. Religious Jews invented a parallel life. Judaism remains for them a religion of deeds—but of insignificant deeds, rites unrelated to real life. They tear toilet paper in advance of Sabbath and observe absurd rites without the slightest basis in the Torah—but have expunged God from practical matters. They disregarded the reformer’s warning, “Hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matter of the law: justice and mercy, and faith.” They followed his wrong advice, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
In Judaism, even the land we live in is God’s; nothing belongs to petty caesars from the Israeli government.