In Genesis 47:29-30, this past week’s Torah portion and the final Torah portion from the Book of Genesis: “When Jacob’s death drew near, he called his son Joseph and asked him to put his hand under Jacob’s thigh and swear not to bury him in Egypt, but to bury him with his father and grandfather.”
The point of this is that no matter how comfortable the Jews were in Egypt, no matter how many generations they lived there, they were not Egyptians but Jews. Jacob wanted to remind Joseph and company that they would never be Egyptians, they would never be anything but Jews, no matter where they dwelt and pastured their flocks.
No matter how many generations Jews live in America, from this perspective, we are not Americans, we are Jews, we have our own way of life, and we are just passing through. Like our ancestors Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, we may pasture our flocks in non-Jewish lands, we may take up residency in foreign lands, we may make money off the goyim, but we will never have any identity more important than our Jewish identity. We can pasture our flocks in America but we will never be American.
Our first identity is Jewish. Our second identity is Jewish. Our third identity is Jewish. Our final identity is Jewish. Our loyalties are to the Jewish way of life. We may be residents of the United States or Canada or Australia or France or Russia, but we are not Americans nor Canadians nor Australians nor French nor Russians. We are Jews. We are only citizens of non-Jewish lands in some technical sense of the term “citizen.”
Therefore, we dress distinctively, no matter how unpopular this makes us with the goyim. When it comes time for us to daven mincha, we daven mincha loudly and proudly. We don’t retreat to a quiet corner to fulfil our Jewish obligations.
The non-Jews may resent this. So be it. The Pharoah who knew not Joseph saw the Jews as a Fifth Column in his midst and so he set about to persecute them lest they take over. The Nazis did the same thing. Yet the people Israel live.
A Jewish friend responds:
This makes no sense biologically. Our first identity is human. Our second group should be whichever larger human family (or families) our tribe belongs to. We can debate on whom that extends to, but it certainly should extend a lot further and wider than just Jews. Of course, it helps keep your in-group in-line when you don’t acknowledge any out-group as even human. Other semitic groups draw such lines. L’havdil, look at ISIS. More similarly, look at comparable smaller semitic groups outside of proper Islam.
Of course, if we accept biological reality, that our tribe is no more than 5775 years old, and we share much of our essence with semitic and European peoples, it does somehow make the case against marrying the hot Asian girl a little less dramatic or convincing. Especially when we have so many genetic diseases when we marry our own.
Another Jewish friend says: “Is a Jewish quarterback’s loyalty to his team or to the Jewish people? May a Jewish athlete compete for any country other than Israel in the Olympics? How does the leading conservative columnist David Brooks reconcile that his own son enlisted in the Isaeli army?”
Now, if we were to take the non-Jews’ perspective for a minute, we may well see the Jews, if they believed and behaved as outlined above, as a Fifth Column in their midst. A patient non-Jew might inquire as to the Torah’s directives for the Jewish state of Israel. How would the Torah instruct Jews to behave towards a Fifth Column in their midst? I am no master of Torah, but I sense that the Torah would not be thrilled with non-Jews living in Israel whose identity is foreign to Jewish identity.
Wikipedia notes: “Kahane’s legislative proposals focused on transferring the Arab population out from the Land of Israel, revoking Israeli citizenship from non-Jews, and banning Jewish-Gentile marriages and sexual relations, based on the Code of Jewish Law compiled by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah.”
So let’s say non-Jews in the United States adopted a policy towards Jews in their midst identical to the Code of Jewish Law compiled by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah as applied to non-Jews in the land of Israel. I guess that would mean prohibiting sexual relations between non-Jews and Jews and prohibiting citizenship to Jews.
As harsh and realistic as that sounds, it might have some good effects on non-Jews and Jews. For non-Jews, it would mean more control of their nation and more ability to shape it in their image. For Jews it would mean a distinct and separate identity with less inter-marriage and less assimilation.
Why would any nation want a separate nation in it, a nation that feels no loyalty or solidarity with the host state? This analysis is not applicable to most American Jews who are generally married to non-Jews and feel far more loyalty to America than they do to the Jewish state. Jews who are strong Zionists tend to move to Israel.
Chaim Amalek: “Were you to attend a reform, reconstructionist, conservative, or Modern Orthodox temple, you would be much less likely to encounter such [traditional exclusive Jewish] sentiments. To put this another way, as the Hasidic rabbinate sees things, the central task of the Torah rabbi is to isolate his flock from the goyim so that he may control them. Separate dietary customs, separate clothing, separate language, etc.”
“Goyim! Most of what you dislike about the Jews is the work of secular Jews. You may dislike the Torah Jew, but you can spot him from a mile off and need not imagine that he likes you.”
“All of you worried about the outsized influence of the Jews in America needn’t. The Jews who are capable of such influence are in fast decline, being replaced by ultraorthodox Jews who are very very conservative (much more than you) and utterly incapable of influencing anything except perhaps a local election where they have the numbers. Consider post-Jewish world’s such as exist in much of Europe, where the local WASP elites went flaccid decades ago and abandoned border control You really cannot blame the handful of Jews in say, Sweden for all the Muslims there now.”
Jews must either assimilate completely or leave and go to Israel. There can be no middle ground nor can we tolerate a nation within a nation. Assimilate or leave, Hebrews!
Someone said, I forget whom, that within Western culture, Jews are both ‘stimulant and a corrosive.’
The problem here, is, many Jews seem to want to have their cake and eat it, too. Maintain their separate tribal/religious identity while retaining full citizenship and participation in society. This is unsustainable though over the long term.
Jews are a brilliant and accomplished people to be sure, but also in some respects, terribly subversive. Many Jews seek to subvert and destroy the host culture of their respective societies. This is what accounts for ‘anti-Semitism’ more than any other factor. The principal cause of anti-Semitism is competition between Jews and Gentiles, and the feeling among Jews that they are a separate people, while at the same time, claiming full citizenship and rights in the larger society. There is also the problem of double standards, one for Jews and one for non-Jews.