Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Seeing the problems of Judaism with all my four eyes fixed and focused, I am not disheartened. Neither will I throw away the proverbial baby with the cliché bath water.

I know there is a God. My faith is in Humanity. That faith remains unshakeable.

The religion requires revision (in the sense of seeing it with new eyes), rehabilitation, restoration return to the Source, rekindling and rededication. That does not mean it should be trashed.

I wish I could discuss more examples with a general readership, but they pre-require intimate knowledge of the intricacies of Jewish Law.

This example is clear to all:

TRACTATE AVOT (PIRKEI AVOT, ETHICS OF THE FATHERS), Chapter V, Quotation 10 can be translated thus:

"There are four character types among people: S/He who says: "What is mine is yours and what is yours is mine", is an ignoramus; [s/he who says] "What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours" – this is the median characteristic; and some say that this is the characteristic of the people of Sodom; [s/he who says] "What is mine is yours and what is yours is yours" is a pious and benevolent person; [s/he who says] "What is yours is mine and what is mine is mine" is a wicked person."

Let's consider two points in the above paragraph. First, is it true that one who says" "What is mine is yours and what is yours is mine" is an ignoramus? Usually when one fluffs someone off as "an ignoramus", one knows that the person who holds the position has something important to say and doesn't want you to hear it. We may always suspect the motives of someone who calls another and "ignoramus" and presents another's position in their stead.

Second, let's consider how the quote defines a pious and benevolent person. S/He is someone who says "what is mine is yours and what is yours is yours". If the process of give and take stops with one person, then the possibility of private property might continue to exist. All proprietary entitlement transfers to the receiver, the pious and benevolent person having abnegated his or hers.

However, if the pious and benevolent person gives to someone who is likewise pious and benevolent, that person will say: "No! What is mine is yours and what is yours is yours!" In such a situation BOTH (or in the case of more than two people, all) have abnegated their rights to their property mutually, and in so doing have negated the concept of private property entirely.

The laws of commercial interaction called for in Judaism then, if we wish to be what our ideals hope for, leave us no recourse but the abolition of private property.

Anarcho-Communism, then, is the conclusion of Jewish Law taken to its logical last step.

I am NOT speaking of Marxist Communism, which is nothing other than State-owned property, as those of you who know my position are aware.

I am speaking, rather, in terms of Kropotkinian Anarcho-Communism – the utter abolition of property and currency. This is the only system of Anarchism that will allow for us to keep the Laws of Torah as they are written and as they are intended.

The intermediate forms of Anarchy, generally known as "Mutualism" and "Collectivism" will not fulfill the needs of the Jewish people, for they still retain either some degree private ownership of property or collective ownership of capital.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

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