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Study and Theory/
Tisha B'Av

Arnon Lapid

The Place of Religion in the Kibbutz

Givat Brenner Ichud, 1983

The kibbutz has now become the refuge of secularism, a safe haven for those who have had enough of the messianic spirit that is carrying many, and perhaps good people, with it, under the wings of religion; for those refusing to see in the rabbinical Judaism and the orthodox movement as the possessors of the Jewish religion, refusing to surrender to anachronism, to fanaticism, to arrogance and hatred of the other which it would seem necessarily accompany the act of “the return to the sources” or “the return to religion”.

I cannot remain disinterested also vis-à-vis the diminution, non-dangerous, seemingly, invasions of religion into us, Who will hold up his hand that the desires of the minority (and I am daring to guess – a tiny minority) wish to revere here Tisha B’Av, which has never been holy here in the past, shall not prevail in the future, and will bring to a deepening of the invasion of the religious ritual in our back yard?

This, and mainly this: I am not denying the right of the members within us to choose for themselves as they see fit a valid commandment or a prohibited commandment, elements of one kind or another of the ritual, symbols, ceremonies and so forth, which award them , it would seem, in a way that is not clear to me, feelings that I do not understand for a reason that is beyond my grasp. However I do deny their right, and I will go against their attempts to enforce their wishes on me which are not my wishes with all my might. If the day of the destruction of the Temple is holy for them and in any event that same sadness and pain, please sit if you will in your good homes, abstain from watching the television and eating and drinking, and for those who are the most observant I am prepared to help in supply of ash to put on your heads and obtain the budget required to purchase rubber sandals for you to walk in.

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