Shabbat Parashat Tetzaveh| 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - The Idea Behind “Hatorah V’hamedina” - Part I - From Harabanut V’hamedina, pg. 47
[The following is from of an interview Rav Yisraeli gave to Israel Radio in 5715 about the periodical “Hatorah V’hamedina,” which he edited. During the early State years, “Hatorah V’hamedina” dealt with questions of halacha that apply to the running of a modern Jewish state.]
“Hatorah V’hamedina” is an important platform from a fundamental, philosophical perspective, as well as practical perspective.
From a philosophical perspective, it is needed to teach an important lesson. From time to time, we come across an opinion that the Torah’s role as a set, binding framework to regulate activity is only within the private realm. That is where the Shulchan Aruch charts our course. However, within the communal and, certainly, the national arena, they say, no set halacha can exist, because political and communal life is ever-changing. We could live (although not agree) with these statements if they emanated from those who are far away from a Torah lifestyle. However, we hear these claims even from those who, in their private lives, keep Torah and mitzvot. Therefore, it is crucial that we publicly enter into deep halachic deliberations on national matters, so that all can see that the Torah has immutable rules that can be applied in a manner that is appropriate for changing situations.
Let’s take, for example, the question of the outlook on an enemy nation and how one is supposed to respond to acts of terror. The great majority of the public, including the religious public, will tell you that there is no gemara on that topic, and that the matter depends totally on the views of military and political experts. At most, they will say that one should consider the matter according to the general, Jewish sense of morality. But in our last issue, we had a comprehensive article that demonstrated that there is a halachic basis for international law and national bi-lateral relations.
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