Rosh Hashana 5767: Unesaneh Tokef; Withstanding and Defying a Gezeira Rah…

Rosh Hashana 5767: Unesaneh Tokef; Withstanding and Defying a Gezeira Rah

By Moshe Burt

Each Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we daven the Unesaneh Tokef as part of the Mussaf tefillah.

The story behind the Unesaneh Tokef tefillah (expressing the seriousness of the day): relates the Gezeira Rah (evil decree) faced by R’ Amnon of Mainz and his Kehilla of forced conversion to Christianity dating back about 1,000 years.

R’ Amnon who, with his Kehilla, faced dread coersion as well as mortal, imminent threat of death, gave the perception of consideration of possible compliance with the demand to convert to Christianity and, as a result, became distraught at even having given the impression that he could betray Hashem.

This gezeira rah 1,000 years ago in Mainz, Germany is contrasted in our time, just over a year ago, with the compliance of nearly all of the tens of thousands of Chayalim and police who took part in the Israeli government-sponsored pogrom which ripped apart entire communities from their homes, friends, shuls and workplaces and ripped away from the Jews, at legalized gunpoint, parts of our divine inheritance — the Land of Israel.

In this author’s lifetime, the expulsion equates as the paradigm persecution of Jews in our time and more. For this Gezeira Rah was not perpetrated by any gentile nation against the Jews. It was perpetrated by one kind of Jew upon another kind of Jew, i.e. Israelis vs Jews.

But there is one issue lurking behind last year’s expulsion: its implications and consequences and the desecration of Hashem’s Name. This issue apparently still has not been dealt with squarely, forthrightly among kippoted soldiers and their Rabbis, not by any of the Religious political party alignments regardless of the material or size of their kippot, not by the Yeshivas and shuls, not by many kippoted adults and surely not by ALL kippoted politicians who vacillated and equivocated at crucial junctures where any one group of them acting Al Kiddush Hashem would have negated and reversed the gezeira rah. For the Religious parties, for the right price, will still fall all over themselves for the spoils of the coalition.

The point is simply this — We learn from Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De’ah #157 that by a public gezeira rah against Hashem and Torah, Jews must be willing even to give their lives al Kiddush Shaim Shemayim, if necessary rather than commit the aveirah (the violation).

On Yom HaDin, as we daven for our lives and for the year ahead, our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif — many still seeking their places, our brethren in the North who have had their lives disrupted, been displaced from their homes, their property in many cases destroyed by Katushyas, as well as our dear brother, Jonathan Pollard and the lives of the 3 captive Chayalim are central in our thoughts, prayers, chassadim and actions. May this abominable period of history called hitnatkut be as a bad dream.

May we be zocha in this coming year to take giant steps toward fulfilling Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

L’Shana Tova — a sweet year to Kol Yehudim and Good Shabbos.

Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.