Sunday, May 2, 2010
When we were growing up Moshe Hirsch was Public Enemy Number One. Yes, there were zealots who hated the State, or at least said that they did, but nobody was like Hirsch and his few cohorts. Yisroel Dovid Weiss was still eating Haagen Dazs ice cream and never dreamed that he would one day meet Arafat and Ahmadenijad. Moshe Ber Beck was selling Tikunei Zohar and Strasheler seforim - or at least it was another guy that was chucked from Toldos Aron who looked and dressed like him. And the internet was not yet born - or was in its infancy and was limited to the Military, so we hardly knew about every 2-bit guy who decided he would save the Jews from evil Zionists. Hirsch was the man, the one who did what he wanted and listened to nobody, and he was hated by almost every Jew in the Holy Land, and by extension, the rest of the world. They say he was heavily influenced by Reb Elchonon HY"D's writings. I remember his "talmid" Chaim Tzvi Freiman (another American kid who "found" Neturei Karta in Israel) would visit a neighbor of ours and had Palestinian flags in his shopping bag for all to see. Even Arafat probably didn't have one in his office at that time. OK, maybe HE did.
Hirsch was an American kid, yeah, he was the pride of Lakewood at one time, they say. RAK said he would be one of the greats. (where have we heard that before?) Not surprised? neither are we. It seems Americans moving to Israel is a lethal combination. Must be that American swagger, that when they meet "real" Jews they lose their senses completely. He was married to Reb Aron Katzenelenbogen of NK's daughter. You can't tell me that he really thought that he was saving World Jewry, or even Meah Shearim, or even himself and his family from the Arabs, right? I mean, he was praying that the State collapse - with no Jewish bloodshed, he claimed - and I would think that Arafat would then become King of Palestine, right? and Yasser said he would throw all the Jews into the sea, right? so why would the Hirsch's be spared? So what was he thinking? When did this Hachno'oh LiFnei HoUmos become such a great Mitzvah? But he never backed down, and he taught his kids well, it seems. They all follow in his path, and would accompany him on his trips to Gaza and Ramallah. Weiss stole his thunder by traveling the world to spread his "message," while Hirsch and Co. stayed in the Holy Land and recently only traveled to nearby "Filistin" to reinforce the yoke of Galus on himself. (I'm not sure if he ever traveled to Tunis to see Yasser or not.)
It was interesting to watch the reports of his death today and to see the responses of some people, especially frum people. Many of our brothers wished him the worst, even today, and had no comforting words to say to his grieving family either. Then there were the jokes about him getting the 72 just like a Shahid would get, a sort of "honorary shahid," if you will, and the questions of how he was "allowed" to be buried on Har HaZeisim when it was officially occupied in 1967. Then there was the talk about him being a great Talmid Chochom who definitely "had his reasons" (huh?) for what he did, and that we weren't allowed to speak ill of him, even if he did have a din rodef. To top it all off there were those that made much out of the fact the died on Lag BaOmer, they made a whole tzaddik out of him... Jews are weird when it comes to things like that; we don't like to hate anybody, no matter what he may have done, and we look for ways not to hate. מי כעמך ישראל. I'm sure by now he's done Tshuveh, but the problem is his children nebach think that his way was the correct way! And his son Yisroel Meir published the "Siddur Vilne" used by so many who don't even know what they're supporting when they buy it!
nu, vos ken men ton...