Does G d ask that I refrain from self defense?

Rabbi A. has been my spiritual mentor for the last twenty years. As an Orthodox-Jew, his sincere openness has allowed me, and many other non-observant Jews, to receive his exceptionally gifted Torah insights. He has opened a world which would otherwise, due to my non-observant life-style, have been inaccessible. However, for the first time in our long relationship Rabbi A. several weeks ago, shed his customary non-judgemental style.

It seems that the zealousness of my opposition to the Iran agreement has caused me to violate the Jewish “laws of speech”. Apparently by speaking ill of specific individuals I have strayed into the realm of Loshan Horah, which strictly forbids even idle gossip, either positive or negative, about any individual even if the facts are true! This is not a good place to be as we approach the holiest days of the year. Accordingly, he stressed that subject to my ideological position(s) remaining intact, that I work on finding space within my heart, where to those individuals who have been on the receiving end of what he views as my halachic indiscretions, that I express my regret and I ask these people for forgiveness. For appearing to have violated this command I am regretful.

I have thought about Rabbi A.’s plea since his visit. I point with great sorrow to the sharp lines of division that this intense debate has caused within our community. I pray that the impact of this division will be short lived.  But on the task of asking forgiveness from those whom I have personally attacked, who continue unabated to inaccurately portray the merits of the Iran deal, my heart is coming up empty.

It is important that the Jewish community understand that Israel is the intended front-line victim of Iranian aggression. Neutralizing our opposition, as Jews, has the thoughtfully crafted effect of diminishing the magnitude of the apparent catastrophic impact of the deal’s ratification. My attacks have been specifically directed at Jews in positions of leadership and authority, who are either knowingly or unknowingly assisting in the grimy task of selling the deal. I wish them no personal harm. I just want them to know that the coveted positions within the community that they hold are being leveraged, with their consent, to the ultimate detriment of the community.  Even with the suggested caveat of ideological exemption, I am unable, despite the ramification of G d’s potential displeasure, to apologize to these people for what in my mind constitutes a legitimate Torah mandated act of self-defense. I cannot feel remorse about trying to change the course of the greatest foreign policy blunder of all times, which by empowering our avowed enemy, will ultimately be putting the lives of my children and the security of our nation at risk.

I pray as the Days of Awe approach that G d’s accounting of my merits is not outweighed by my misdeeds.

About the Author
Andrew D. Lappin is a redeveloper of urban industrial properties. He is a former board member of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Embers Foundation, the Committe for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), and serves on The Illinois Policy Board which monitors corporate compliance with the state's anti-BDS statute. The opinions expressed are by Lappin personally and NOT the views of any of the organizations with which he is affiliated.