Was Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Libertarian Leaning?

Rav Moshe Feinstein on Government

This post is in reaction to Jak Black’s over at Mishmar. It is a translation of Darash Moshe Derush 10 (page 415) in the standard edition:

“Remember that which Amalek did to you etc., do not forget”. It is seemingly not understood what purpose there is in remembering the action of Amalek orally and in our hearts. What can we do about it?

However, the Passuk in Parshas Tetzaveh answers this, in that it seems difficult, that here (Parshas Tetzaveh) is not the place where Bnei Yisrael are commanded (about lighting the Menorah with pure olive oil), rather Hashem is only saying now that He will eventually command them, as Rashi explains in Parshas Emor (24:2), and, if so, what purpose does it serve now? This is not done by the other Mitzvos!

We also must understand the reason that the Torah commands that it be pure-pressed oil, that never had any sediment, since it will burn with sediment as well.

The reason is that the Torah is telling us a great thing. Every empty belief in the world, and every vapid value system in the world, declares that it illuminates the world, and portrays some nice things to mislead the eyes and to ensnare souls. But since many people are not interested in it, they force their opinions upon anyone they can with swords and spears, that they should accept their beliefs and value system, as is known in every period and era, whether in beliefs or value systems, whether in the past or present, and even more strongly so (now) such as with (Communist) Russia and Germany and the like. This is the sediment in their light, and in the end all that is left is only the evil and not the system that they portrayed, which they no longer have any use for since they have a sword and a spear. And it turns out that since there was sediment mixed into their light, which is the waste of the sword and the spear, there was room to err ansd think that the sediment provides light, until, finally, all that is left is the sword and spear alone, and the light is completely extinguished, as we saw with our own eyes with Russia and Germany on both extremes.

And we derive from this that no government, which is the authority, has the right to accept one particular belief or value system, because in the end all that will remain is force, devoid of values, and there will be destruction in the world, as we see with our own eyes.

If so, there is a difficulty, since the path of the Torah is also that the Jewish government supervises the law of the Torah as well, and this is represented by the Mikdash which is the foundation of our Nation, and if so, how can we have a claim against the Kings of the Nations that they supervise their beliefs and values?

The answer to this is that it is true that the Jews can hand over the implementation of the Torah to their government as well, because in the end He will command them to light in the Menorah only pure-pressed oil that was never with sediment, meaning that only with the light of the Torah will it be illuminated, in that it is a wise and understanding Nation, to influence the entire world, as it was in the days of David and Shlomo that all the Nations streamed to them, and many converted, out of a pure love for Hashem and the Torah, because it is forbidden for the Jews to force other Nations to convert, and we do not coerce any nation or country to do so, and on the contrary, we do not accept converts if there is even a doubt whether they want to convert because of some fear or other mundane matter, and therefore there is no need to be concerned about this – rather the righteous king will see, through the might of the wisdom of the Torah, to influence the entire world.

And even those among the Jews who are liable for the death penalty – it is so difficult to have an individual be liable for the death penalty! For only righteousness and justice is our our light, with no addition of sediment. And therefore Hashem hurried to inform us, in the middle of the commandment to erect the Mishkan, to answer that which Hashem gave over the Torah to the leadership of the monarchy, that they need to use pure olive oil, although here is not the place for that commandment.

Now, Amalek, who came to fight against the Jews, also had a value system. They wanted to show, erroneously, that there was nothing miraculous about the Jews and there is nothing to fear about them, and if so they should have initially argued with words and to show that they were right if they could, or to admit that they were wrong if they could not. But they did not do so. They came immediately to fight. They showed that the primary part is the sediment. So we must remember, orally and in our hearts, so that we know that any belief or value that uses its authority and force, and is not satisfied with its light alone, is full of vapidity and lies and they are merely fooling the public, and that is the benefit of remembering Amalek for us as well.

We conclude from all this that any kingdom from the Nations of the world is not allowed to espouse one particular belief system. It must only do its job, which is to make sure that noone wrongs his fellow by stealing or murdering, for without the fear of government each man would swallow his fellow alive, but regarding value systems and beliefs and other things everyone must be free to do as he wishes.

And if so, the government of the United States, which already 150 years ago set as a law for its government that they will not espouse one particular belief or system, rather each man can do as he pleases, and the government will only ensure that one man does not swallow his fellow, they are doing the Will of G-d, and therefore they were successful and they became great during that period. And we are obligated to pray for them that Hashem grant them success in all that they endeavor.

And soon may Yehudah and Yisrael be redeemed, Amen.

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