There are those who teach with words and there are those who teach with actions. The best teacher, however, is one who teaches with words followed by actions! This is the reason why I loved Rabbi Meir Kahane so much and why he is my guiding force – to this very day.
He taught us the importance of redeeming captives by explaining the Torah and the Talmud… and then by leading us into the streets to free 3,000,000 Jews who were imprisoned in the former Soviet Union.
He taught us about Jewish strength from Shimon and Levi to King David, and then led us in battle against vicious anti-Semites, making sure we did to them what they wanted to do to us.
He taught us the halachah – yes, the halachah – of Arabs living in the modern State of Israel and then did the best he could to make those halachos as real as keeping kosher.
Rabbi Kahane was my rebbe, and I thank Hashem for giving me the opportunity to learn from him personally. My wife knew him even before I did and was a strong and proud member of the Jewish Defense League, as well. When we made aliyah in July 1990, we went to our rebbe with our kids on the first Motza’ei Shabbos we could. We proudly told him we had followed him to Israel, and we were ready to help his dreams become a reality. Sadly, an assassin’s bullet ended those dreams just four months later.
In the last 31 years, his words have become truer than ever. His books and videos are more popular today than ever before, and people are finally understanding his warnings and predictions. How many times did he speak about the dangerous Arabs inside Israel – the ones who are citizens of the State? Most Jewish leaders and rabbanim told their followers not to listen to those “extreme words.” Yet, need I remind you of the horrific riots just a few months ago – by Israeli Arabs – in cities such as Lod, Jaffa, Ramla, Akko, and Jerusalem?
Rabbi Kahane never ran away from controversial subjects. He spoke about intermarriage in America and what must be done to stop it, yet very few listened to him. Today, intermarriage is out of control. He spoke about the weakness of Reform Jewry, the dangers of missionary cults, and the lack of Jewish identity. While 99 percent of Orthodox rabbis were teaching in ways that the youth (and most adults) could not relate to, Rabbi Kahane was teaching us with fire and brimstone! His words ignited our souls, but he wasn’t finished. “A Jewish head is not enough,” he used to say. “One needs a Jewish fist attached to a Jewish head!” He taught us that, as well!
Yes, he was controversial – but that’s exactly what the Jewish world needs. Of course, we need to study and master halachah. We need to know Tanach, halachah, Rambam, Mishnah/Talmud plus Midrash, the Biblical commentaries and more. Rabbi Kahane started his day at 4 a.m. and studied these subjects for three hours – every day of the year! The key point, however, is that Judaism is more than that. People today – especially the youth – are lost. They have no direction because their rabbanim refuse to discuss “controversial subjects.”
Question: What does the Torah say about transferring Arabs?
Answer by rabbis today: That’s not for us to discuss.
Question: Is it permitted to trade land for peace?
Answer by rabbis today: We don’t discuss politics in the yeshivah or shul. (Note: I have more respect for a rav who gives a three-hour shiur on why you can give away land – even though I vehemently oppose it – than a rav who refuses to answer the question.)
Question: I am going into the IDF. If given an order to throw Jews out of their homes, must I listen or can I disobey those orders?
Answer by rabbis today: That’s a question for the IDF rabbi, not me…
Question: I live in New York, Chicago, Toronto, etc., and anti-Semitism is growing. Can our community form a security/defense team to protect Jews and teach these haters a lesson they will never forget?
Answer by rabbis today: We don’t deal with those issues. The police will protect us.
I could go on and on with another 50 questions, but you get the point.
Rabbi Kahane gave us these answers – and most of them were not “politically correct” – but they were “Jewishly correct!” Baruch Hashem, through his prolific writing career, we have his words and guidance on exactly what to do. Thanks to YouTube and the Internet, and some wonderful and faithful students, you can watch hundreds of hours of his Torah classes, debates, and speeches. This is why, even 31 years after his tragic murder, I say that he is still my rebbe. His words, actions, and Torah guide me and my family to this very day, and I urge everyone reading this article to do the same.
May Rabbi Kahane’s memory be a blessing for his wife, his entire family, and the Nation of Israel he loved so much.