Karl Marx famously said, “Religion is the opium of the people.” Following Marx’s lead, Socialism tries to replace God with a socialist Government. It destroys principles inherent to Jewish and American traditions, such as limited government, individual responsibility, and traditional morals. It even tries to destroy the meaning of Passover, which is constantly repeated throughout the Torah-individual freedom “Once we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Eternal God took us out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” While we observe the holiday with friends and family, it is a holiday about individual freedom, “In every generation, one is obligated to see oneself as one who personally went out from Egypt … “In every generation, one is obligated to see oneself as one who personally went out from Egypt.
Let’s start at the beginning, or in the beginning; the creation narrative in Genesis explains that man is created in God’s image. But we are also taught that our maker has no bodily form, so how can that be? The Bible is not telling us that we are all dead ringers for the “big guy upstairs.” If that were the case, the picture on everyone’s driver’s licenses would be the same, no one would be able to get a check cashed, and all of those TV shows about using DNA to solve crimes would be very boring.
“Created in God’s image” is supposed to teach us that just as God acts as a free being, without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so can man. God does good deeds as a matter of his own free choice, and because we are created in his image, so can man. Only through free choice can man indeed be in the image of God. It is further understood that for mankind to have absolutely free choice, it must have inner free will and an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. God thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely; this is what the Rabbis mean when they said, “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b). God controls all our options, but it is up to man to choose between correct or incorrect choices.
When it comes right down to it, free will is the divine version of limited government. God picks the correct direction and even gives us the Torah as a guidebook to follow, but he does not pick winners and losers—it is up to us to choose the direction we want to proceed.
Because we all are created in God’s image, Jews believe that “All men are created equal.” This means we all have the same ability to be infinitely good or wicked or to forge a relationship with God regardless of intellectual capability, social background, physical strength, etc. It does not mean, as Socialism ascribes to when it comes to talents, predilections, or natural abilities, we are all equal. If that were the case, we would all be Scholars at the level of Einstein, or when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt, anyone who wants to can be a Kohan (Temple Priest). Nor does it mean we all should have the same big-screen TV, wireless internet, or savings account balance.
Just as Jefferson meant when he wrote those words, we all have the same right to be as good as we can be with the cards we have been dealt. As opposed to Socialism, which teaches that everyone has an equal amount of “stuff.”
In Socialism, everybody gets the same reward no matter their work, which is also against Jewish teachings.
The great Zionist Philosopher Ze’ev Jabotinsky opposed Socialism. He felt it dealt with a problem that already existed. Instead, Jabotinsky’s idea was to prevent the problem from happening.
Have you ever noticed that in Genesis, after five of the seven days, God “saw that it was good”? The two exceptions are Mondays and Tuesdays. Monday (day #2) doesn’t have an “it was good.” Tuesdays get called good twice. At first thought, one might think that God hates Mondays (like much of mankind), but that doesn’t seem right. Besides, it doesn’t explain why Tuesday gets to double-dip. The difference is that God is teaching us that we get rewarded based on what we accomplish.
Per the text, only part of creating oceans is accomplished on Monday. Beresheet (Genesis) 1:6 says water is separated on Monday, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water, and let it be a separation between water and water.” But the next day, God does something else with the water, “Let the water that is beneath the heavens gather into one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering waters He called seas.” Beresheet (Genesis)1:9-10.
On Tuesday, God finished the water job. So, Tuesday got rewarded, and Monday got bupkis.” This contradicts Socialism, which teaches that everyone gets what the government thinks they need, not what they earned.
The Tanach (the Jewish Bible) respects economic success so long as it is obtained honestly and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it. Social responsibility is an individual duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong for the federal government to provide a safety net, but the primary responsibility is the individual and the local community.
That’s why the Hebrew word for charity, “tzedaka,” has in its root the word “tzedek.” Tzedek means righteous because we are taught that personally giving charity is one of the keys to being righteous. Leviticus (25:23) says, “If your brother becomes impoverished and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him proselyte or resident so that he can live with you.”
Notice it says live with you. It does not say “live in a government facility.” That’s because the obligation is on the individual. On rare times, the community was called on to pick up the slack, but it was never the community government; the local rabbi would lead the effort.
In biblical times farmers were directed to leave the corners of their fields unharvested for the poor to feed on.
Some ancient rabbis suggested that sparks of God’s holiness were spread across the earth when the universe was created. Whenever a person chooses to perform a righteous act (such as giving charity), one of those sparks is purified and sent back to heaven. Therefore, through that process, we become closer to HaShem.
But Socialism takes away that free choice given to us by God. They believe that, left to their own devices, mankind will do the wrong thing (or at least what socialists think is the wrong thing).
So socialist governments take over the role of God. Ignoring the meaning of being created in the image of God, they step in to control our decisions. Socialism takes away our personal choice and gives it to the government –thus retarding our spiritual development and, most importantly, the opportunity to “pick up those sparks” and get closer to our maker.
The Torah also teaches us that we cannot always rely on God to bail us out. The responsibility to act falls upon each and every one of us.
A Midrash involving Moses splitting the Reed Sea teaches this lesson. In Exodus chapters 14-15, Moses sees the Pharaoh’s troops bearing down on the Israelite nation, trapped against the sea (reed sea is not a typo). Moses starts praying to God, but God says, stop praying and do something!
“And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.” That is holy talk for “Hey Mo, stop praying and do something!” But the water did not part when Moses lifted his staff over the sea.
The Egyptians were closing in, and the sea wasn’t moving. Moses and the Israelites stood on the banks of the sea, frozen in fear, until a man named Nachshon took the responsibility upon himself to act; Nachshon just walked into the water. He waded up to his ankles…his knees…his waist… his shoulders, and just as the water was about to reach is nostrils and possibly drown him, the sea parted.
This Midrash teaches us that it’s good to have faith and believe God may eventually help us, but we cannot get that help until we take personal responsibility and act on our own. This, too, is antithetical to socialist philosophy, which teaches that government is the first place to look for help rather than looking at one’s self, family, and community.
The “enemy” of socialists was the bourgeoisie, they believed the bourgeoisie was the capitalist class that owned most of society’s wealth and means of production.
Zionist leader Jabotinsky saw himself as a bourgeoisie, but he described them differently than the socialists; they were the protectors of freedom. “I am a bourgeoisie, the son of a bourgeoisie, my father is a bourgeoisie, by the grace of God I am a bourgeoisie.” He continued, “We are the bourgeoisie, the enemies of the police state, the harbingers of individualism” ( Jabotinsky, 1927 ).
In his opinion, in an average period, a person can believe in several ideals and promote each time one of them. The period of breakthrough is not normal. In this period, the person must dedicate all his energy to the Zionist ideal. It is necessary to build the Jewish State. “Most of the members of Beitar, who will immigrate to Israel, will serve as hired laborers. The pioneer can be a stonecutter, a teacher, an engineer, or a policeman, but first of all, he is a pioneer”.
Jabotinsky believed that “every individual is a king” ( Bilsky Ben Hur, 1988 ) and that the State’s intervention in the individual’s life must not be exaggerated. He believed it was essential to first strive to establish the Jewish State. Thus he emphasized ‘monism,’ singular focus, or in other words, the main effort for political action of broad scope for the purpose of the establishment of the Jewish State and only afterward the engagement in the areas of society and welfare ( Shavit, 1978 ). Jabotinsky noted that the State, when established, would need to allow the person living in it to have minimum conditions so he could live with dignity.
Jabotinsky (…) “displayed a high degree of social sensitivity, but he completely rejected the Marxist solution of “workers of the world unite” and the proletariat revolution, since he strived first for a Renaissance, for national revival, through Zionism. ”
Therefore, he searched for some of the social ideas according to the social ideas found in the Bible. In his opinion, the Biblical remedy for social problems is the jubilee year, according to Leviticus 25. “The fundamental difference between it and socialism is the difference between a method that comes to remedy the ills and a method that comes to promote the ills.” The Bible preserves economic freedom, and thus Jabotinsky proposed according to it the remedies for economic distress: the jubilee year, the field corner commandment, the tithing commandment, and keeping the Sabbath.
The idea of the jubilee year enables the person who has become poor to recover his property, “The enslaved will become free, again equilibrium is restored, the game is begun anew, until a new revolution.
On the other hand, Socialism teaches citizens that the government will always bear the responsibility of protecting them; there is no individual responsibility, just the collective bailout. Instead of what the Torah teaches, we assume personal responsibility and use our good deeds to gain closeness to God. Per our rabbinical sages, following the 613 commandments is the Jewish version of what Thomas Jefferson called “the pursuit of happiness.”
God instilled in us an understanding of personal responsibility and also provided mankind with the choice of whether or not to accept that responsibility. There is no room in our faith for a government that forces its interpretation of the right thing down our throats. That is the difference between the freedom of the Exodus celebrated on Passover. when the newly freed Jewish nation was allowed to make their own decisions about how to lead their lives, and the slavery of socialism, where the government makes the decisions and forces the people to abide by them.
Socialism’s objective is for the government to supplant the role of God and mankind’s conscience. That is entirely antithetical to Jewish teaching and why Jews who believe in God must keep the socialists and candidates pushing socialist policies out of office.
If the above isn’t a good enough reason, just remember how Jews fared in the socialist countries of the past century: the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) and the Soviet Union.
To help fight hatred toward the Jewish nation and our eternal homeland, I joined the Zionist Herut Movement, dedicated to protecting Israel and the Jewish people worldwide. Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education. It is dedicated to the ideals of pre-World War II Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Jeff Dunetz (The Lid) is an active member and serves on the organization’s board. More about Herut can be found at www.HerutNA.org. Please click on this link and join me in this important movement.