The HEJERA PLOTby Y. I. Hy (C) The Hayut Foundation, P.O.B. 8115, Jerusalem 91080, Israel.
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Continuation of 4.3 Protocols Of The Lovers Of Zion #2 - Begin And Akiva.
Begin: You make me proud that we are of the same people. But all the same, I can't accept your condemnation of Bar-Kokhva. We Jews have willingly died as martyrs for too long. The time has come for the Jews to fight back, and we have finally gained our state through this fight. Without the memory of Bar-Kokhva, even the Jews themselves might never have believed we could fight, and with its help, we now have a most formidable army.
Akiva: I certainly wish that it was not all in vain then. It all depends on the direction in which this mighty army of yours develops. A mighty and formidable Jewish army - you should know - is that which never has to fight. It has no need to destroy human life because its enemies are afraid to fight it. As it is said: "The greatest hero is he who turns his enemy into a friend". This means he must not only be strong, but also wise. Above all, one must remember that the greatest might is the Might of God; and the greatest army is that which fights under His command, which fulfills His plan. Those who seek them will find God's ways, the ways of true progress.
As I told you - Bar-Kokhva refused to turn to God's help and to the Divine Plan. I will explain to you some of the signs of the plan in the hope that you will seek it: The Divine Plan does not regard Gevurah [Heb: Might] as an ultimate value, but as an essential step, so that the recognition of Gevurah could be superseded by the recognition of Hesed [Heb: charity or love] and then by study and the attainment of Binah [Heb: Understanding] and Hokhmah [Heb: Wisdom].
I believed that the might of the army would bring Rome to accept the existence of the Jewish People, so that we could resume following our ways and keep God's Torah and commandments in peace.
But Bar-Kokhva refused to stick to this. He chose the way of Gevurah [Heb: Might] to the exclusion of all others. The Might of God is but a lesser manifestation of his Compassion. But the might of man is only good when directed toward redemption. The war of the Messiah can be only a war toward liberation. You yourself, as leader of Israel, could be part of the most glorious chapter in the history of the world. Isn't that what you want, Menahem? You know that your name is the name of the Messiah. Wouldn't you like to fill that role?
Begin: This sudden turn in the conversation confuses me. How can a man suddenly become the Messiah? Wasn't the Messiah chosen during the Creation? How could Bar-Kokhva have fulfilled, or not fulfilled, this role already? And if he could, how can it also be another person later on, let alone me?
Akiva: As I have often said: "All is foreseen and free will is granted". This is difficult for us to understand: Let's say that there are roles to be filled in the drama of redemption, the cosmic Plan. People like me try to read God's script to help identify and clarify these roles. But you, Menahem, might be one of the people with a chance at playing a leading role. You are already an actor on the stage of history. Let us try to judge your aptness for this new role, the Messianic one. Let us check and see: have you been a man of might who led the wars of Israel?
Begin: Before we gained our Jewish State, I had the opportunity of leading the underground National Military Organization which started the rebellion against the British Empire - the largest empire that the world has ever known - and we forced the British to leave our land and give us our independence. Eventually, though my political opponents kept me out of power for decades, when I did join the government of our nation, I was quite instrumental in persuading it to enter a war which finally united Jerusalem under Jewish rule for the first time since we were exiled two thousand years ago. And when at last I got to lead the country, we have just succeeded in scattering the forces of the terrorists who threatened innocent lives, a contemptible enemy that even many of our political opponents abhor, and who terrorized even their so-called brothers in southern Lebanon by brute force.
Akiva: This was concerning war. Have you also advanced peace since coming to power?
Begin: Yes. During the thirty years my political opponents were in power, they called me a dangerous warmonger who would endanger the nation with ceaseless battles; while themselves they failed, or did not dare, to make peace with any of our neighbors. Whereas I had hardly risen to office when I made a peace treaty with the strongest of our enemies, with Egypt. We have had to make great, and often painful sacrifices, and our difficult negotiations with the Egyptians are even now dragging on; but our peace with them is by now tried and proven. We have now a good chance of making peace with the Lebanese as well.
Akiva: This is all certainly a great deal better than anything Bar-Kokhva did. You liberated the Holy Land from the rule of a great empire and you succeeded in turning your enemy into your friend.
Begin: The leader of Egypt indeed became my personal friend, but he was then murdered by the sort of fanatics who justify their murders in the name of God, His Mercy upon us!
Akiva: You may indeed be growing into the role of the Messiah son of Joseph. I made a great mistake in this matter once before. So forgive me if I dwell once again on Bar-Kokhva - on the disaster which he caused through his pride. He actually put off the redemption, which was already at hand.
Begin: He put off the redemption!? What do you mean?
Akiva: If only he had sought the help of God and the advice of the sages! On Passover Eve in the year when the great revolt began, five of us, considered the greatest sages in the land, were gathered at my place together for the holy feast. We feasted, rejoiced and told the story of that Feast of Liberation, as commanded by God. We also meditated, consulted among ourselves and prayed to God to hasten the redemption, and by daybreak - we felt we understood the plan of the redemption.
Each of us had had some inkling of it before, but when we pooled our thoughts, they formed an astounding picture: "The Kingdom of Edom", the Roman Empire, our cruel and hated enemy, was to be the vehicle for spreading the knowledge of God Almighty. The hour had come for the transformation. Throughout the corrupt empire was not only great oppression, but also a great spiritual hunger. There were Jews in great numbers all over the empire, and their life, enlightened by Torah, were beginning to be highly respected by their neighbors; while the Roman rulers and their idols were becoming more and more despised, even by many of Roman birth. The pagans were already converting to Judaism in great numbers.
Moreover, it seemed that the martyrdom of Yeshua son of Joseph, whom the Romans had crucified in another, older Passover, might not have been in vain. His followers were gaining converts, especially among the poor and the oppressed of the empire. Their converts, who were known as "Messianists" or "Christians", often suffered martyrdom for their version of the religion of Abraham, but the more they were persecuted, the more their numbers were growing. Yet their master Yeshua had not returned, as his disciples had promised he would when he died ninety years before, and the sect needed a new direction. We knew it would take very little to cause them to reunite with us; and we knew what were the needed formulations that would win them over. It was for a cause that we kept the witness of Judas iscariot.
We also knew that it would take very little to make our land the new head and heart of the empire, just as had been prophesied by the prophet Isaiah: "The Mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it". All that was needed to achieve this at that time was religious freedom and home rule over "The Land of the Philistines". This was where Yavneh and several other great academies were located. We did not need a king, we didn't even need Jerusalem and the Temple. We were willing to wait to gain Jerusalem later, just as you were. We only needed a safe home and the will to accept the heathen, and to help them accept God's word. All we needed from Bar-Kokhva was that he secure this safe home for us, that he cause the Romans to grant us autonomy, and to grant any person who wished the right to convert and with us to seek God's will.
We gave to Bar-Kokhva's uprising tens of thousands of our students. We knew that he had to show the Romans his strength in battle, because that was the language they understood and respected. He had to show them that he had an army of six hundred thousand. This number was very important. But he should also have shown them that he was willing to negotiate, and even to disband his army, if the prohibition of circumcision and of teaching the Torah would be revoked and Jerusalem would no longer be defiled by idolatry. But his early success in battle went to his head. He refused to accept our counsel; he clinged to power and did not want to transform might into Hesed [Love], and Binah [Understanding] and Hokhmah [Wisdom] according to the Divine Plan. For him, this plan we believed in was but vain philosophical speculation. He only wanted power and glory - he won them and failed us all.
After his fall came terrible persecutions. We were no longer free to think of the other nations. All we could do was to try to insure our own survival and that the Torah will not be forgotten from Israel. We were no longer able to turn for the new formulas which would gather back the Christians. We knew that the historic moment had passed, and that it might not return for centuries. But perhaps your time is once again the right one. How long has passed?
Begin: About two thousand years.
Akiva: Hallelujah, God is great. And what has happened to the Roman Empire in this time?
Begin: The victory over Bar-Kokhva was their last military victory. Their decline became more and more rapid, and their empire was dismantled and repeatedly subjugated to other nations. The state now centered on Rome itself is weak, and is not an empire. In the center of Rome is a quarter like a tiny semi-independent state ruled by a high priest of the worshippers of Yeshua.
Akiva: So they too have survived, and even prevailed over a part of Rome herself.
Begin: The disciples of Yeshua eventually converted the emperor himself. And at his command all of the Romans had to convert. But they have declared that Yeshua is not just the Messiah - but claimed him to be God himself, Heaven have mercy! and they have since persecuted the Jews at times no less than the pagan Romans did.
Akiva: Have they many followers nowadays?
Begin: They inhabit all of the lands you knew of beyond the Great Sea, and many other lands of which you never heard. They added to God's Written Torah their own scriptures; and through them and the Ishmaelites the Word of the God of Abraham has spread far and wide.
Akiva: How strange are the ways of His Plan and the ignorant would not understand this. When individuals fail to fulfill their roles, strange alternatives sometimes appear. I knew some followers of Yeshua myself, but I don't understand exactly: Do they regard both the Infinite One, the God of Abraham and this Jew Yeshua as the One and Only God? Creator of heaven and earth?
Begin: Please don't ask me to explain, I doubt that most of them could. What I know is that they have made a Holy Family out of the One God, with Yeshua as both God and the Son of God.
Akiva: We are all indeed the sons of God. Do you remember what I used to say on the subject?: Beloved are Israel who were called sons of the All-Encompassing; Even greater love was shown to them, who were called sons of the All-Encompassing, by their being told: "You are sons to the Lord your God" [Deut. 14.1].
What is important is that most people no longer worship idols but recognize the God of Abraham and worship the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Though we may find it abhorrent that they also consider the Jew Yeshua to be God, there must be a hidden reason for this in the Divine Plan, even if no one yet knows what that reason is. Perhaps it will be revealed through our interactions with them. Are there Christian nations among the present friends of Israel?
Begin: As a rule - the nations which support us are predominantly Christian, and those nations who oppose us almost always are not.
Akiva: They are pagans like the Romans?
Begin: Our worst enemies are the Arab nations which are predominantly Moslems, together with other Moslem zealots and all sorts of anti semites from all over. But from the point of view you expressed, it is interesting that the Arabs themselves respect Abraham. The Arabs regard themselves as the sons of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, and their Moslem religion is the religion of the God of Abraham and none but Him.
Akiva: Blessed be the Lord God, for surely the Plan is unfolding through human history, and in a much more intricate manner than we could understand in my time.
Begin: I am glad that the situation pleases you, but it is not so simple as it may appear: Our enemies are real; they are cruel and fanatical; when they seek to destroy us, they often claim to do so in the name of God.
The Christians have hated us for many centuries; most of them still do, though their leaders have recently stopped saying so with pride in public, and I think that they cannot stand to see us strong. The greatest massacre of the Jews in all our long and painful history occurred, As I told you, in my time, in the most Christian part of the world, in Europe, and with the acquiescence of their High Priest in Rome.
Akiva: You are no doubt right and you have the right to see things from this point of view. It would be impossible to lead and safeguard this nation in times of peril without recognizing the evil of this world. Living in ha'Olam ha'Ze [Heb: This World], you must recognize the things that your opponents recognize.
But never forget that there are other ways of seeing the world which are just as true. He who observes the battle from the plain sees things differently from a commander who observes it from a mountaintop or even from an observer on a flying chariot. Still more can be seen from the higher mountaintop, and still more from the vantage point of the Heavenly Jerusalem. There, evil has no hold, and from there one can see how war can turn into peace. As we have been taught - the Holy One, Blessed is He, observes and judges everything at once. He sees the wars of Bar -Kokhva with yours, together with all the wars of Israel and in the whole world. He sees the struggle of mankind to pass from war to peace, from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge of the Holy. God sees all, even through our own eyes and the very stirring of our hearts; and He sees all at once; all human generations, unconnected with our human ideas of time and our momentary notions.
Begin: You started talking about human choice and the Divine Plan, and suddenly are telling of two different kinds of observation. I'm losing the thread of your argument.
Akiva: God's Plan reveals itself to man by its different aspects through historical development. The plan teaches people to develop their powers of observation, and the observance of God's will.
The Romans of my time were not so ignorant, they observed many things and studied their philosophers, but of all the powers in heaven and earth which they could conceive, only physical power really gained their admiration. They came to admire many gods whom they unwittingly conceived, in fact created, in their own manner of thought. Their god of kindness could not be severe, just as they could not see themselves as kind and severe at once, so for kindness and severity they needed two separate gods.
As against them, when David, King of Israel, blessed God before the people he chose to remind them: "Blessed be Thou, O Lord, God of Israel, our Father, from This World and onto the Next. Yours, O Lord, is the Gedulah [Greatness] and the Gevurah [Might] and the Tif'eret [Glory] and the Netzah [Eternity, also Victory] and the Hod [Splendor]".
David thus reminded all the people that they all are indeed the Sons of God, and that it is God Who oversees our passage from This World [haOlam haZeh] to the World to Come [haOlam haBa]. This passage is determined by the actions of the people in this world, which in turn depend on the different qualities which their hearts are capable of appreciating. These are sensed in This World as the emotions such as Charity, Might and Splendor. But God also has the qualities which are intangible in this world, which are the qualities of the World to Come, the qualities which the Heavenly Jerusalem stands for. These include Binah [Understanding] and Hokhmah [Wisdom], whose reflections in this world are Tvunah [Intelligence] and Yisrael Sava [Israel of Ancient Traditions].
Begin: Yisrael Sava? Surely they are also manifested by Tsava Yisrael, the army of Israel; I am sure it is God who helped us in our wars.
Akiva: That was my hope in Bar-Kokhva - that the nations of the world, who are first impressed by Might [Gevurah], would come through the victories of Israel to ponder the absolute Gedulah [Greatness] and Hokhmah [Wisdom] of God. With the eyes of Rome once upon us, the army of Israel should have shown Gedulah [Greatness] and Tvunah [Intelligence], which are together Lovingkindness. But Bar-Kokhva failed; drunk with power, he refused to be the vehicle for the manifestation of God's Ways.
Your observation about the army of Israel being a manifestation of the Will of God is thus very important. Especially for you yourself. You have been granted the chance to be the Messiah son of Joseph, who by his victories prepares the way for the Messiah son of David. If you succeed - you will be remembered in the history of Israel and of humankind as a redeemer; if you fail - you will be judged by the coming generations as a disaster or worse: an impostor.
Begin: You frighten me. Please tell me, by what criteria will I be judged?
Akiva: As I said, the role of the Messiah son of Joseph is to prepare the way for the Messiah son of David. Without the former, who forcefully opens the heavy gates of statehood, the latter cannot enter this world. If you want to become the Messiah son of Joseph, you must use all your power to pave the ways of Greatness and of Wisdom - the path of Love.
You have said that the nations already accepted the God of Israel, even if they have strange notions about Him. They are therefore watching Israel, and will continue to watch it. They have already seen your Might; now they must see the Tvunah and Gedulah [Greatness, also Love] which are its ends.
Begin: But what can I do in the present situation? If I depart from our usual show of strength, our enemies will simply think that we have become weak and would be tempted to attack us.
Akiva: I do not know the realities you face. I can only reflect upon options which you bring me, and this Mr. Herzl's proposal might help. It is indeed a display of Intelligence and of Greatness. You need courage to accept your enemies into your own respected assembly. If Herzl had had the power to enforce such a policy in his own day, he might have become the Messiah son of Joseph himself.
Begin: I am reminded of something similar. I think Rabbi Kook, your associate in the HEJERA, had such a notion of Herzl.
Akiva: But if the proposal comes from you, who certainly has the power, it can only bring forth respect for Israel - and for the Ways of the God of Israel. And if we do succeed in persuading the Philistines, the Palestinians, our enemies, to emulate the ways He has taught us, how much more willing the other nations will be to join us on the path to holiness as well! Our readings of God's Torah will be accepted everywhere, as was prophesied.
If you had my own beloved students with you, as they were with Bar-Kokhva, then they could find out and tell ways. Tell me please, are there with you, in the army of Israel, people who are my pupils? People who know my teachings and who might regard me as their teacher and their father?
Begin: Oh yes, there are. There are the youth who call themselves "Bnei Akiva" [the sons of Akiva], whom I regard as among the best youth we have. They do great things both in the army and in the settlement of Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel].
Akiva: And how many of them there are? As I might have told you, I had over twenty-four thousand of my students in Bar-Kokhva's army, but they all died in vain.
Begin: I assume there are now at least this number of Bnei-Akiva living among us.
Akiva: God be blessed - I have not died in vain! I trust God that with His help, and also with the help of these students of mine, you may well find that which is right.
Begin: Do you wish me to seek instruction from them?
Akiva: On the contrary, it is for you to instruct them, as the elected leader of the state, and the commander of the army. Their role should be to actualize their study and to behave during their service in your army according to the teaching: "Who is a hero? He who turns his enemy into his friend".
So let my students and sons go forth and meet the Palestinians as fellow humans, as their equals; in the spirit of Greatness and Compassion. Let them see the Palestinians as my teachers had regarded me - as the Am haAretz, the People of Land, who deserve to be helped. Let them look with love into the eyes of their brothers in Abraham, for this is how one sees the other's soul. Let them seek those who wish to return to Israel, and those who wish to study the Teaching of Zion.
I myself have spoken too much. I beg your permission to leave you now.
Begin: So long, Rabbi.
Akiva: Shma [listen] Menahem, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One!
(Begin had already touched the control which causes the apparition to fade, and just as he heard the word "One" the Rabbi completely disappeared. Once again Begin stood alone in the totally dark room.)
(C) The Hayut Foundation, P.O.B. 8115, Jerusalem 91080, Israel.
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