From the Ludicrous to the Absurd

The story of the “Women of the Wall” gets more preposterous by the minute.

From the start, the premise that a tiny group of women seeking to redefine Judaism should be allowed to impose their off-the-wall thinking on the entire Jewish world was absurd.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Kosel, the remnant of our holy Beis Hamikdash, may it be rebuilt speedily in our days, is a sacred place, where people come to pour out their hearts in tefillah. It’s not a circus, or a laboratory for social experiments. And it’s most certainly not a place for provocations.

How ironic that when the Women of the Wall showed up at a recent meeting of the Knesset Interior Committee, and their leader, Anat Hoffman, draped herself in a colorful tallis, she was chastised by the committee’s chairwoman, MK Miri Regev, for violating the norms of the Knesset. Regev ordered Hoffman to remove the tallis, saying such provocations wouldn’t be tolerated.

Which prompted MK Rabbi Menachem Moses to wonder: The Knesset’s norms are important enough to defend, while the Kosel’s are not?

But Sunday saw the situation deteriorate from the ludicrous to the absurd. It wasn’t enough that this provocative group was given access to the ezras nashim of the Kosel, but thousands of Jews were denied their right to daven there on Rosh Chodesh!

The stunning, unprecedented incident should sound an alarm throughout the Jewish world. It reflects the ultimate goal of the Women of the Wall, which is to take control of the Kosel, turn it into a Reform synagogue and thereby make it impossible for the frum to come and daven there. What happened Sunday morning was what they hope will be a taste of things to come, R”l.

It’s time for Jews in Israel and around the world to stop being naïve. This isn’t about pluralism and freedom to worship as one pleases. It’s about respecting Judaism’s holiest site and preventing a negligible minority from imposing its will.

And it’s about preserving the unity of the Jewish people, something that the Women of the Wall could not care less about. Hoffman has the chutzpah to warn Israeli politicians that if they dare act to stop her group from reading the Torah at the Kosel, “there will be an earthquake in the Jewish world.”

However, unlike regular earthquakes, which are “acts of nature,” this one would be engineered by Hoffman and the Reform movement who are willing to go to any lengths to achieve their goals.

The fact is that the Reform movement has spent millions of dollars trying to get a foothold in Israel, and failed miserably. It isn’t that the Jews of Israel are all mitzvah-observant — not yet, anyway — but that they’re not willing to buy attempts to portray non-observance of Torah as a legitimate “stream” of Judaism. If, unfortunately, they choose not to keep mitzvos, they’re okay with calling themselves secular; and when they decide to connect with religion, they’ll take the real thing, thank you.

After failing to gain a foothold in Israel in a legitimate way, by winning over the people, the Reform movement is trying to achieve recognition via this bizarre group which, not surprisingly, has succeeded in winning over the media and the courts.

They are using the tools of democracy to subvert democracy — just as they have tried to subvert Judaism.

It boggles the mind to think of how much media attention has been showered on this minuscule group, at a time when there are so many critical issues facing Israel and the Jewish people. It is incomprehensible that the police would commit hundreds of its men to make it possible for women to come to Judaism’s holiest site and commit a provocation.

This can’t be allowed to continue. Police cannot make the Kosel off-limits to thousands of Jews every Rosh Chodesh. The Kosel, a symbol of Jewish unity, cannot be turned into a source of division to meet the needs of a handful of misguided women and their backers.

We have to raise our voices and make it clear that the sanctity of the Kosel must be preserved.

Finally, we must heed the words of the Nefesh Hachaim, who says that the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash had nothing to do with Nevuchadnetzar and Titus. They were mere pawns.

“It is only because of our sin that, as it were, the power of Hashem was weakened, and … Nevuchadnetzar and Titus were able to destroy the Mikdash. …”

When something as precious to us as the Kosel is under spiritual attack, it is a sign that we need to do a cheshbon hanefesh, to correct what needs correcting, so that the threat will abate.