Interview with Yoav Sorek-Part III
Of course everyone is asking about your wife, your children.
“My wife is not so enthusiastic about my newest excitement, despite that she understands and to some extent identifies with what lies behind it. She is the daughter of a rabbi (Rabbi Binyamin Herlberg, who was killed on Har Eival) and cames with an education a bit different from that of the house, but from her end I am the posek of the house in halakhic matters and if this is what seems to me to be correct, she won’t stand in my way. This is very nice, because to some extent she pays for this.”
“Regarding the children, in my eyes this is a question of education. Also without taking off a kippah. There has never been in the house a banal or automatic religiosity, which is a function of social belonging. This was always something that we were searching how to do it better, or sometimes differently. Already for a few years we have been cooking matzot on the afternoon before Passover. On one hand this is a big mitzvah, on the other usually people are afraid of this, that it might become hametz. This teacher us also not to be afraid and to invest.”
And parents? Here he has an interesting distinction.
“I estimate that my mother-in-law will receive it different than how my parents did, because she was born in Israel and they are survivors of the Shoah. They came from the Diaspora and from the Shoah, their great challenge was the establishment of the state, the participation in it was more important for them than anything, at the price of turning a blind eye to disappointments. Their thinking is very stately. In contrast, people who grew up here, within the small religious society that was to some extent persecuted during the early days of the state, their guiding ethos was the secular-religious battle, or that their religious identity was threatened, they take it hard. Rabbi Benny Elon, who I am a student of, took this as an unserious outburst, definitely not as an educational failure.”
Sorek is the assistant to Elon in advancing his political plan, The Israeli Initiative. “Everything is connected,” he says. The Zionism of Rabbi Benny is exactly the Zionism that I am speaking about. He understands that in this generation one needs to get involved in politics and needs to solve strategic problems. It surprises me how alone he is in this generation, among leaders and rabbis, who really experienced the Return to Zion in this manner. This also touches upon his connection with Evangelism: the establishment of Israel and its building is an act which has universal meaning and people here are stuck in the exilic wars and with the thought that the Christian masses are thirsty for blood that they want to convert. He who experienced the Return to Zion through the meeting with people in the world who see in it the realization of the word of God in history, becomes reasonable. You become biblical.”
The Redemption That Is In Secularization
“I really feel that my deepest religious obligation comes from the Zionism source. The revelation of our generation is Zionism, not anything else. If I had been born two hundred years ago, it is possible that it would have been difficult for me to pray ‘May we see with our eyes your return to Zion’ after hundreds of years of requesting it and nothing happened. But thank God I merited to group up in a generation that saw with its own eyes how this happened, in human ways but with wonder and miracles. This is my eyes is the starting point. We say that the Written Torah tell us to believe in the Oral Torah, and the truth is that it is the opposite: we know that the Torah is a holy book because this is what the Oral Torah tells us. In the same manner, I observe mitzvot because of Zionism, not the opposite. I observe mitzvot because the Return to Zion showed that there is God’s presence in the world. That this presence is no longer something disproved.”