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25.8.16

 Mark Twain has an essay that is very favorable towards the Jewish people and his ideas are accurate  as per his time. But things nowadays seem different. As the world has changed so the situation with Jewish people.  My own impression about this kind of thing is what Reb Shmuel Berenbaum, used to say:"Learn Torah." 

That is to say there are issues that sometimes I have some idea about. and other times I don't. Lots of issues have arisen in my life in which clarity was lacking. I have found the best advice is to learn Torah. The issues facing the Jewish people today seem very different from the ones that people were asking Mark Twain about. 

On modern day issues, I have some clarity. He mentioned about Dr Herzel in his characteristic ironic way. I am basically impressed with Zionism and the State of Israel.  Today when Ultra-Religious people disparage the State of Israel, I feel they are simply anti-Semites.
 Mark Twain's ideas also relate to Jewish pride. I have encountered that a lot, and it is hard to say much about it. Some people think that being Jewish makes them morally superior or mentally superior. Maybe in Mark Twain’s days, but nowadays that seems false.

But on the subject of Jewish nationalism—the idea of nationalism is gaining nowadays momentum. That means even people that are for a kind of renewal of American nationalism see the kind of Jewish nationalism the State of Israel was built on is a good thing.
I do not have strong feelings about this. I feel what is important to a Jew is the Oral and Written Law of God. Not Jewish identity.

Still the idea (of nationalism) is not bad. Anti Zionism is a mistake that the entire Religious community shares, but is mainly embodied in the writings of the Rav of Satmer. I think he was a great man, but made a very serious error. And that error has become  a part of the Ultra Religious world—to be anti Zionist, or at least cold about the State of Israel.

 My parents supported the State of Israel.


Nationalism itself has support from Howard Bloom and Hegel. The group—the super organism is certainly important to people.  But in what way I am not sure. In the Torah itself, keeping God’s laws are what is important,-- not what group one belongs to.