The massive tumble of the great financial Wall Street on the week of Sukkot was such a clear clarion call and such a glaring object of warning, that only the people of whom the Prophet (Isaiah 42:19) said, “Who is blind but My servant, or deaf my messenger,” could neither hear, nor see, nor understand it. As the Wall Street came tumbling down, sending all the investors – including the newly rich in Flatbush, Staten Island, Monsey and Teaneck – fleeing from the tax shelter; and as three Texas banks collapsed in one week, and as the dollar continued its spectacular plunge; and as the United States trade deficit continued its stupendous gallop; and as more and more U.S. jobs were permanently lost to the Third and Fourth and twelfth Worlds; and as personal debt in the U.S. climbed over the five trillion mark and tens of millions sand deeper into a quicksand of debt that they can never escape – the Jew saw nothing.
He neither saw nor understood; he did not wish to see or understand that the American Exile he so confidently claimed “different” and the American fleshpot (Chinese? Glatt?) he knew would never lose its succulence and the new Jerusalem which he had made into a gigantic “Mikdash ma’at” was collapsing. As it must. As the All Mighty decrees. The same All Mighty who too many of His dutiful worshipers really take to be a jolly sort of relic to whom one prays three times daily as to keep Him satisfied so that He gives us a good Galut. A solid Wall Street.
The Exile can never be anything but a punishment and a curse for us, and for those who “despised the beloved land” (Psalms 106:24), the wall will come tumbling down, taking all the Jewish humpty dumpties with it.
And that is the ironic truth. The Exile of America that is so symbolized by a Wall Street is, indeed looked upon as a wall of permanent strength and tranquility by the Jew – including, G-d help us, the practitioner of Jewish ritual, that irreligious Jew who goes under the title “Orthodox.” And Israel, on the other hand, is seen as the Sukkah it really is: In Judah is G-d known . . . in Shalem [Jerusalem] is set His Sukkah, and His dwelling place is in Zion” (Psalms 76:2-3). But it is seen as a Sukkah in the worst sense - a weak, temporary, shaky structure, threatened by evil winds that can topple it. And so they choose the Wall – the gentilized wall of Galut. Foolish Jews. Faithless Jews. No wall of Exile can ever survive for the Jew. For him there are, in the end, only ghetto walls, walls of Warsaws. The Galut was made as a punishment, not a place of comfort and stocks and bonds and shares and futures. There are no Jewish futures in the Exile.
It is walls of Galut that come tumbling down. It is the Sukkah of Zion that can never be destroyed. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape” (Joel 3:5). Jew, come home. That is the ultimate lesion of the Wall Street.
“Beyond Words” is a seven volume collection of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s writings that originally appeared in The Jewish Press, other serial publications, and his privately-published works.