When people think of Rabbi Kahane, ZT”L, HY”D, they remember a daring and courageous leader who did not know the meaning of fear. His many years of standing in the front lines for Jewish causes in Israel and abroad, confronting empires and well-oiled establishment bodies and enduring along the way constant hatred and antagonism which endangered his very life, inspired admiration in the eyes of most Jews (even if more often than not their admiration was kept in the closet!)
For good reason the Rabbi was perceived in such a way. More than anything else, the Rabbi warned us about the illness of our generation – FEAR OF THE GENTILE. It wasn’t so difficult for the Rabbi to come up with such a diagnosis. After all, whenever he spoke to Jews (“religious” ones as well), he was always confronted with the same line: “You’re right, but what will America say?…” And thus, there was the need to stress in a big way the subject of trust (“Bitachon”) in G-d and the prohibition of fearing mortal man.
It is fear that has caused us to constantly give in and surrender, to the point where fear of going to war has become a legitimate component in our political thinking. But one who studies the Torah outlook on war (parshat Shoftim) will reveal that the central theme concerning war is the prohibition of being afraid! The midrash (Tanchuma, Shoftim) even says: “Your forefathers did not fear them – and they were victorious!” In other words, the key to victory is lack of fear, and faith that “Your G-d is with you!” As an example, the midrash brings down the war in our parsha between Avraham against the four kings: “Do not fear Avraham, I will protect you” (and this is the source for the blessing in the silent prayer, “The shield of Avraham”). And so, when Avraham went out to war to sanctify the Name of G-d and save Lot who represented at the time the side of Avraham and G-d, he fearlessly went out with only 318 men against four powerful kings, and was ready to die in the process – “I will go out and fall on Kiddush Hashem”. (Midrash Raba, Lech Lecha)
This concept is also the “halacha”, as the Rambam brings down in Hilchot Milachim (7:15) “And when entering into war, one must lean on the Saver of Israel in time of stress… and one must not fear or be intimidated, nor should one think of his wife and children…and he who starts to ponder these things at war time and frightens himself – has transgressed a negative commandment!..” The Rambam continues: “And if he did not win and did not perform in the war with all his heart and soul, than he is like one who spills everyone’s blood!”
These shocking words apply to the collective no less than they apply to the individual Jew. If an individual who cannot overcome his natural fears is considered a sinner who has spilled the blood of all Jews, what can one say about leaders whose very mindset and national policy is based on fear of war, fear of the gentile, and tie the hands of the soldiers while they are being shot at!? And so, before Succot last year we saw our soldiers lay bleeding to death before the very eyes of their comrades in battle who sat helplessly by screaming for help, and the help never arrived, because it would have meant having to kill mobs of Arab rioters and murderers – this is all because of the fear of the gentile reaction! If an individual is considered a spiller of blood, what can one say about LEADERS, other than they are downright murderers!!
On the other hand: “And he who fights with all his heart and all his soul without being afraid, and all his intention is to sanctify G-d’s Name, it is guaranteed that he will not suffer damage nor will bad come unto him…” Thus is the case for the collective as well. If we fight under the headline of “Kiddush Hashem”, “Emunah”, and a willingness to wipe out the enemy who is desecreating the Jewish G-d and nation, we are guaranteed to win, and the gentile won’t dare open his mouth!
Rabbi Kahane, HY”D, predicted all the events that are happening now. One who reads the things he wrote 15-20 years ago could think he was reading words of prophecy. But no. Rabbi Kahane simply dared to open his eyes and see, refusing to be blind like so many others who were afraid to open their eyes, lest they come to conclusions which would make life uncomfortable for them.
While others were afraid, Rabbi Kahane was not. He fought – and in the end fell upon the altar of the Jewish Nation, with the confidence that his words were not wasted, and in the end the truth will win out.
And if the majority of Jews still don’t dare to open their eyes and understand, we the few, the students of Rabbi Kahane will continue to cling to his way, and to carry the torch of truth until we bring the revolution and the Messiah.