Israel Forever

For the week ending 24 February 2007 / 6 Adar I 5767

Bible Belting

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
"Let them make Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them." (Shmot 25:8)

This Divine command to build a veritable house for G-d that we will hear read in the synagogue this Shabbat sheds a critical light on a new initiative of the Israeli Ministry of Education. A few weeks ago there took place the first meeting of the 39-member Public Committee for Bible Education whose announced purpose is "to give the study of the Bible a more central focus in the educational system".

What is behind this initiative, of course, is the shocking ignorance of secular Israeli schoolchildren for whom the mandatory Bible studies from grades 1-12 provide only a sparse acquaintance with the "Book of Books" which is quickly forgotten.

But just as a Sanctuary deserves that sacred name because of G-d's presence in it, so does the Bible deserve its name only if it is studied as the Word of G-d. This can hardly be expected when the chairman of the new committee is a former Supreme Court justice who is notorious for his anti-religious bias, and the committee has as one of its members the Education Minister who proclaims that "the beauty of the Bible is reflected in the values and moral dilemmas it raises".

Only by putting G-d back into His Bible can we secure Israel forever.

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