Tearing kriah for uprooting settlements
Honorable Rabbi Yuval Sherlo,
The Tur (OC 561) writes, "He who sees cities of Israel in ruins says on the first one he sees, 'Your holy cities have become a desert' and tears [his clothing]." ....
In light of this, I would like to ask the Rabbi what the law is today, as settlements are being uprooted...? Does the uprooting of settlements justify tearing kriah, on the basis of "He who sees cities of Israel in ruins"? ...
Thank you very much,
Aviad Y. Hollander
Peace and Blessings!
I will divide my response into two parts.
From the halachic aspect, I think that one who sees this halacha as connected to the difficult situation we are in is making a decision of great significance. This halacha, which was written about the destruction of cities of Israel by the gentiles, is not at all connected to a situation in which the Jewish entity is carrying out a change in the borders of the state as a result of its own (mistaken and terrible) decision. Paradoxically, we must bless and thank the Lord of the Universe that we even have the ability to make any such decision, and we must certainly not see the expulsion plan as anything similar to that.
In general, some of us make the mistake of using exaggerated language to describe that which is being done to us. Not only is it incorrect, but it creates a situation from which we cannot escape, since if one sees this halacha as the basis for his view he is deciding that the State of Israel is issuing decrees and that we the expelled are like Jews facing a gentile tyrant, and thus he uproots our entire conception regarding Klal Yisrael, the "first flowering of our redemption", and other related matters. It is a serious mistake not only on the pure halachic plane, but on a far broader plane.
From the emotional standpoint, I do not understand how one cannot tear kriah. This tear is an expression of deep mourning for the destruction we are performing with our own hands to Gush Katif and the northern Shomron - places where it is possible only to constantly praise the people who built them.... and all this is going to collapse. It doesn't matter what the reason for this is and what ideology stands behind this decision.... A man cannot remain indifferent to this situation, and there is nothing like tearing the clothes to express the tearing of the heart.
All the best, and may we be spared.
Rabbi Yuval Sherlo