God is against the nanny state

Is It OK For a Jew to Be Politically Conservative?

Sammy Beniot, The Lid

As one of the few MOTs (members of the tribe) willing to admit to a politically conservative slant, I get asked all the time (by liberal Jews), how can you be politically conservative and a Jew? I would argue to them, how can you be a Jew and NOT politically conservative? Conservative principals such as limited government, individual responsibility, free enterprise, traditional morals and manners are all deeply rooted in Jewish tradition.

In B’reishet (Genesis) we are told that man is created in God’s image, since we also believe that our maker has no bodily form, it can’t mean that we are all ringers for the “big guy upstairs.” We are taught that just as God acts as a free being, so does man. Just as God acts without prior restraint, so does man. Just as God can do good as a matter of His own free choice, so can man. Man is therefore spoken of as being created in the image of God because of our free choice.

The Rabbis teach us that each man is born with free will. It is further understood that in order for Man to have true free choice, he must not only have inner free will, but also an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. God thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely; this is what the Rabbis mean when they said, “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b).

Free will is the divine version of limited government. We are created in God’s image, it is our nature to do the right thing, but it is up to each of us personally to make the decision to do the right thing. God does not force us to do the right thing.

I once read that when God created the world, sparks of his holiness were spread across the earth. Every time that a person performs one of the 613 mitzvot in the Torah (the Five books of Moses) one of those sparks is purified and sent back to heaven. Through that process we become closer to God. In other words that all are sent here to this world to make the choice to improve ourselves through our good works.

Liberal/Progressive government takes away that choice. It assumes that left to our own devices, we will do the wrong thing (or at least what they say is the wrong thing) so government takes over the role of God, and steps in to control our decisions. While Judaism sees good vs. evil as a personal decision necessary for us to grow, liberalism takes away that choice and gives it to the government, retarding our spiritual development and the opportunity to get closer to our Maker.

Judaism also teaches us that we cannot rely on God’s help to bail us out all of the time, the responsibility to take action falls upon each and every one of us. Even the famous story of Moses splitting the Reed Sea teaches that lesson (Red Sea was a typo made when the Torah was translated into Greek). In Sh’mot (Exodus) Chapter 14 Moses sees the Pharaoh’s troops bearing down on the Israelite nation, who are trapped against the sea. Moses starts praying to God, but God says stop praying and do something!

15 And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Wherefore criest thou unto Me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.

The Rabbis teach us that even when Moses lifted his staff the water did not part. The Egyptians were closing in, and the sea wasn’t moving. So a Hebrew named Nachshon took the responsibility upon himself to act, and just walked into the water. He waded up to his ankles, then his knees, then his waist, then his shoulders and just as the water was about to reach is nostrils the water parted. The lesson is that it is OK to believe that God will eventially help us, but we cannot get that help until we take personal responsibility and act on our own.

On the other hand a Liberal/progressive government teaches citizens that the government will always bear the responsibility of protecting you, there is no individual responsibility, just the collective bailout, there is no personal responsibility.

Everything that follows, the way we do business, treat other people,etc, all flow from that free will to do the right thing and to take personal the Talmud is the first journal of business law, and the first book of social etiquette. It lays out all the rules in front of us. But it is up to each and every one of us to make that personal decision to do the right thing.

Maybe that’s why liberal/progressives interpret freedom OF religion (meaning that everyone is free to practice the faith of their choice) as freedom FROM religion (meaning that there is an iron wall separating church and state), because if faith is allowed to get too close to our government as it now exists, people might remember that government is not a substitute for God. The Jewish picture of God, is our creator who gave us personal responsibility to do the right thing, but with the choice to accept that responsibility or not. There is no room in Jewish law for a government that forces us to do (their interpretation) of the right thing.

In the end the question should not be “Is It OK For a Jew to Be Politically Conservative?” The real question should be “Is It OK For a Jew NOT to Be Politically Conservative?”

May 18, 2010 | 8 Comments »

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  1. As one of the few MOTs (members of the tribe) willing to admit to a politically conservative slant, I get asked all the time (by liberal Jews), how can you be politically conservative and a Jew?

    Possessing the ability to think helps immeasurably.

    Liberalism is an abject failure.

  2. I know the Indian restaurant that makes the best Croc Curry:

    Sam says it is crocodile that has been the biggest hit with his male customers, who like wrestling with the proposition, but for the women, the other meats on offer are attractive for different reasons.

    “Once you explain to them how things work, what kinds of meat [there are] and how good it is for you, they try it straight away.”

    “Crocodile is extremely popular with the men. It is like a macho thing.

    “The ladies are trying springbok and ostrich, because they know it’s good for them as it’s very lean.”

    Sam says that crocodile – which he describes as “white meat, very lean, no fat at all” – may sound exotic, but it actually has a taste that will be familiar to most diners.

    “I think the taste is in-between a chicken and a fish, because right at the end, you can taste a little bit of the fishy side coming through.”

    Crocodile is one of several unusual meats that the restaurant uses

    The new flavours are certainly capturing the taste buds of his patrons, though some have taken a while to get used to the idea.

    One customer says seeing crocodile on the menu for the first time was “a bit bizarre” but adds that “once you get your head around it, it’s normal”.

    So normal, in fact, that it has become one of Sam’s best sellers – something he’s more than happy about, though he does admit he’s getting a little tired of the one-liners.

    “I’ve heard all the puns, all the crocodile jokes. They’ll order a crocodile and say to make it snappy.”

    Perhaps it’s time for him to push one of his new ideas, zebra curry, instead – although that’s probably not something he needs to see in black and white.

  3. Only for Gourmet Suckers

    You don’t go around sucking on everything offered to you.

    But you’ll want to get your lips around anything from Lollyphile, a brand new candy company with the mission to make the most uniquely delicious lollipops in the whole world.

    Currently your pucker can delight in absinthe and maple-bacon flavors, but they’re hard at work brainstorming other concoctions as well. Yes, folks, the absinthe variety is legal (it contains an amount of thujone okayed by the U.S. government). As for the ingredients? They use only the highest quality — organic, sustainably-farmed bacon; real absinthe; molten sugar; and no artificial flavors.

    If anyone tries to tell you that candy’s just for kids …

    Tell them to suck it

  4. Crocodile Curry

    1 Indian Chef; plus
    8 Kitchen assistants
    4 Spare assistants on standby

    3 Large Crocs (C. Niloticus)
    1 Smoked warthog
    3000 Green peppers
    1-4kgs of Curry Powder (depending on how hot you like it) I personally like the ‘Mother-in-Law’s tongue” brand
    1/2 ton rice
    1 Tree of Bay Leaves

    1. Beat crocs over the heads with a sledgehammer.
    2. Collect tears in 44 gallon drums and use them for salad dressing.
    3. Indian chef tells assistants to place crocs into heated swimming
    pool. Turn on the steam. Make sure that the crocs area quite dead –
    otherwise spare assistants might be required.
    4. Boil for 10 days. After 7 days, skin can be pulled off – which is
    used for handbags etc. Nice keepsake for the invited guests. During the 10th day the teeth will fall out and are used for jewellery and amulet’s.
    5. Cut off tail and use for Crock-tail soup at a later stage – keep in
    deepfreeze once cooled off.
    6. Surviving assistants then must cut crocs into bite size cubes.
    7. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for a further 2 days.
    Taste to see if it has enough spices etc. I sometimes like to add
    apricot jam to give it extra juiciness and flavour – about 5 kgs or to taste should do.
    8. Curry should be ready when the vultures start circling above.

    Serves approximately 1250 people.

  5. Steyn nails it again.

    …don’t know how you were diverted

    you were perverted too

    don’t know how you were inverted

    no one alerted you – G. Harrison

  6. Recipe for Shavout!!!

    Fruit Sorbet

    3/4 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1/4 lemon juice (or other juice)
    1 1/2 cup peeled and pureed fruit
    2 egg whites

    Use ice cream freezer or set refrigerator for fast freezing.

    Dissolve sugar in water. Add corn syrup, juice, pureed fruit.

    In Ice cream freezer: mix fruit mixture and stiffly beaten egg whites together and place in ice-cream freezer. Process until frozen.

    In refrigerator freezer: Freeze fruit mixture until firm around edges. Beat egg whites until stiff. Turn partially frozen mixture into chilled bowl and whip until smooth but not melted. Quickly fold in egg whites and freeze until firm.

    Makes one quart.

  7. Between Giving the Torah and Receiving It
    by Dr. Israel Eldad

    Eldad . . . . Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks) is known as the holiday marking the giving of the Torah, not the holiday marking the acceptance of the Torah. Giving the Torah was indeed a matter for weeks; for it to be accepted, dozens or even hundreds of years had to pass, and some say – it still hasn’t been really accepted.

    Giving the Torah was a one-time act, a ceremony. It isn’t a process; it was a miraculous event, an act of Divine grace bringing together the time, the people and the conditions that were right for the gift, the inspiration, the great Heavenly grant, the insertion of spirit into body, of soul to flesh and blood. Theories of history can do no more than go around in circles, explaining the conditions and circumstances of the recipients, but they can never use rationality or explanations to penetrate the revelation, the giving.

    Historians are good at explaining a posteriori the necessity in events. But with hindsight they cannot explain the events at Mt. Sinai. And the factual emphasis on the “giving” as opposed to the “acceptance” proves there is no point in talking about a “ripening of conditions” or a “necessity of circumstances” or a “link in a chain of events.”

    An act of genesis is at the basis of the entire description of the giving of the Torah. It isn‚t the continuation of a chain of events but the breaking of a chain, a breaking that that cannot be explained with words from our sociological or historical vocabulary.

    All the events of the hundreds of years that followed were no more than an immanent accepting of the previous transcendental giving. The judges and kings and prophets fought among themselves and with their nation for the acceptance of the Torah. This battle is subject to analysis and research and explanation, just as is everything in nature that followed the first moment of Genesis.

    The secret of this genesis is also the secret of many other phenomena. It is the secret of the beginning of life, of true poetry, of the birth of ideas. Doctors can see all the secrets of pregnancy and birth but only the secret of the original life of the seed – is still a deep secret.

    Therefore one does not decide on ideas. Ideas are given by revelation and they exist. You decide and fight for their acceptance, to spread them or allow them to penetrate. Therefore Mt. Sinai was held over the heads of the nation during the giving of the Torah [in the legend in which Israel was offered a choice between the Torah or being buried under the mountain], because the Torah is not the result of evolution, during which all the right conditions were quietly and calmly prepared till the bodies were ready and eagerly awaiting it. It is always a revolution, meaning something coming in opposition to what the nation is ready for and consciously desires.

    Now, from the world of the Torah in general to one part of it: sovereignty.
    In the past few generations, only a few extraordinary prophets taught sovereignty, gave the Torah of modern Hebrew sovereignty.

    But great is the distance from this new revelation to its acceptance. And apparently it, too, must pass through two stages: first the stage of being forced upon the people from above, and only afterwards, the stage of learning it from below, from inside.

    And if you want to know where we stand today on our journey through the desert, let it be told: we are standing before the golden calf.

    Chag Shavu’ot Sameach

    Lit. weeks. One of the Shalosh R’galim (three pilgrimage festivals), a festival commemorating the giving of the Torah and the harvest of the first fruits.