Rosh Hashana 5770: Unesaneh Tokef: Al Kiddush Shaim Shemayim vs Mental Coercion by Israeli Governance

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 coercion 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, where forced compliance with an evil decree is based on penalties for noncompliance far less than dread coercion and mortal, imminent threat of death.

In our times, we were witness to the compliance with immoral orders 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. And we have been witness to expulsions of Jews in Hevron, from various outposts and hilltops, etc. at the peril of loss of jobs, loss of military training, loss of protexia, possible courts-martial, dishonorable army discharge, stains on one’s permanent record. But this author has yet to hear a Sharon, Olmert or Bibi threaten those who disobey expulsion orders, or subsequent immoral orders, with death.

And at the religious political level, compliance or noncompliance with “coalition discipline” is played off vs funding of a group’s institutions rather than taking into account the mortal, imminent danger inherent with compliance to “coalition discipline.”

Further, a report was “filed with the Ethics Committee of the Israel Board of Psychologists against two psychologists for:

using their psychological and hypnotic skills’ to facilitate the Disengagement-expulsion” indicates that they behaved
“unethically and damagingly.”

This report further indicates that these two psychologists;

“Trained the officers and psychologists of the army and the police, and taught them various techniques of emotional manipulation, instilling ideas, and massive influence upon the soldiers’ behavior, opinions and emotions. The purpose of the training was to nullify the soldiers’ and policemen’s instinctive opposition to the expulsion, and to bring them to the point of obedience to any command that would be given.”

“The behavior of these two psychologists stands in clear opposition to the principles of the psychologists’ ethical code.”

The report states that a secret team of psychologists was convened by OC Southern Command Gen. Dan Harel, to prepare a large-scale strategy to mentally and ideologically sway the army in general, and the soldiers in particular. Their work was completed in July 2004 – seven full months before the Disengagement Law was passed in the Knesset.

IDF kits entitled “Mental Preparations for the Disengagement Mission” were disseminated throughout the army, published by the IDF Behaviorial Sciences Wing, the Psychological Wing of the Ground Forces, the Israel Police, and the IDF Education and Youth Wing.

One of the teachings in the kit stated; “Failure to carry out the mission of evacuation will be a failure of democracy. Guarding over the principles of democracy and the rule of law are what will guarantee the continued existence of the State of Israel. The sovereignty of the State of Israel is expressed by the ability of the IDF to carry out the decisions of the government. And this is what is being tested in this mission.”

The report’s authors noted that this stood in stark opposition to the basic creed of the IDF, which demands adherence only to legal orders, emphasizes the importance of love of homeland and Jewish national values, and does not mention at all the need to protect the regime or democracy.

For the full text of this compelling and important report about the psychological manipulation of the IDF, police and other agencies into performance of immoral acts agaist the Jewish people, click here.

The behavior of these two psychologists stands not only diabolically opposed to man-made psychological ethics, but in clear, naked opposition to Jewish tradition, of the “Ethics of Our Fathers” (Pirkei Avot) and the milinuims-long Halachic standards of how a Jew treats his fellow Jews.

Therein lies the essential difference between the dire and dreaded life-and-death pressures borne by R’ Amnon of Mainz and his Kehilla which brought the Rav to momentarily weaken, and the pressures to comply with the edicts of modern-day dictative, corrupt and manipulative gvernance being felt by today’s soldiers, policemen and religious politicians and religious leaders.

There is one issue lurking behind the expulsion just over three years ago from Gush Katif and the Shomron: its implications and consequences and the desecration of Hashem’s Name. More and more religious soldiers B’Ezrat Hashem are beginning to deal with this squarely, forthrightly although the same cannot be said for the kippoted and black-suited religious politicians who vacillated and equivocated at crucial junctures where any one group of them, had they been acting Al Kiddush Hashem, would have negated and reversed the gezeira rah. The so-called “Religious parties,” for the right price, will still, to this very day, 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 in the case of 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). Kol V’Chomer Jews must be willing to forego government funding, protexia and even risk court-martial or loss of jobs to prevent a Chillul Hashem.

may we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that we fulfill 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, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

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.