A blue thumbs up for 'us', and a red thumbs down for 'them'

It’s not so hard to judge someone’s soul to the side of ‘good’.

A little while before Rosh Hashana, Rachel from New York challenged me over in the comments section to ‘walk the walk’, and judge Avigdor Lieberman favorably.

In case you happen to live on planet Mars, Avigdor Lieberman is the Russian-born head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, who is trying to force all chareidim to leave their shtenders, and to serve in the IDF.

Lieberman is so adamant about this, he brought down the last government – and is continuing to sow chaos in Israel politically, by refusing to sit with Bibi Netanyahu in any new government, and also by refusing to sit with the ‘religious’ parties that make up the Knesset’s natural right-wing ‘bloc’.

Because of Lieberman, we’ve already had 2 elections in five months – and no government. And you read it here first, we will be going to third elections, very soon.

So, how to judge Avigdor Lieberman to the side of ‘good’?

It’s a tough challenge, but after doing a fair bit of praying on it, here’s where I’m up to.


The starting point with Rebbe Nachman’s lesson of Azamra is that while we have to clearly state when ACTIONS are bad and evil and anti-Torah and anti-God, that’s very different from saying the ESSENCE of a person is evil. Rav Ofer Erez explains this magnificently, in this video with full English subtitles:



A Jew’s essence, their soul, is only good.

But what happens? All these klipot, all these external forces of evil come along to confuse and trip us up, and then before long you have people who are committing the worst sins in the world, but who are still telling themselves that they are doing ‘the right thing’, and that this is just how it has to be.

Let’s take a look at Lieberman, to see how that’s playing out.

Lieberman lacks emuna, and he doesn’t believe that God is running the world and controlling everything and everyone.

If he had more emuna, he would know that the best defense for the land of Israel is for all of the Jews who live here to wholeheartedly return to God, and to start doing what God wants, i.e. living a Torah-observant lifestyle.

But poor guy, he doesn’t know that.

He never went to cheder, he never went to yeshiva, he grew up in the Soviet Union where religion and God were anathema, and then he moved to Israel and started moving in political circles where religion and God are still anathema.

A guy like Lieberman, he wakes up every morning, and what does he see?

He sees Hamas with rockets in Gaza. And Hezbollah with rockets in Lebanon. And Syria trying to build a nuclear reactor on the Northern border. And Iran trying to complete their nuclear reactors, so they can nuke Israel, God forbid, over in the Gulf – and he’s totally petrified by the idea that some mad mullah can flip a switch, and boom!!! No more Israel.

Because Lieberman doesn’t have God in the picture, what does he think can help to solve this awful problem, this terrible danger to the Jewish state?

In his mind, Israel can only be defended against all these threats by a strong army.

In Lieberman’s mind, if the country fills up with pacifist frummers who only want to learn Torah and don’t want to serve in the army – then Israel will be finished.


Before we continue, I challenge you, dear reader, to take a long, hard look in the mirror and to ask yourself if you also believe that the IDF is what is really protecting Israel.

Because if the answer is ‘yes’, that means you and Lieberman are essentially on the same page.


Now, people with emuna know that God is protecting Israel, and that this country gets open miracles morning, noon and night.

People with emuna know that people like Rabbi Berland, and the late Baba Elazar, z’tl, and all the other big rabbis, tzaddikim and kabbalists, are working around the clock to keep ‘sweetening’ the spiritual judgments that manifest as terrorists, rockets and nukes, God forbid.

People with emuna are aware that it’s the Jewish people’s own sins that is causing us our terrible security problems with our neighbors, and that if we would return to God and His Torah, the whole Iranian nuke issue will fizzle like a sparkler in a shower.

Lieberman doesn’t have emuna.

So, according to his incorrect paradigm of what’s going on here, unless he can find a way to ‘force’ all the peacenik yeshiva bochurs into the army, sooner or later, he believes the army will collapse and the State of Israel will be destroyed or overrun by our enemies, God forbid.

Because of that belief, he has now apparently declared an all-out war against religion, or what he calls a ‘halachic state’, where Torah law would be pre-eminent.

Is this ‘good’ or ‘right’? No, it’s totally evil.

Why is he doing it?

Because he has very little emuna, doesn’t believe in God, and believes that superior force, and targeted killings, and all the other super-evil stuff that’s being done in the name of ‘security’ here and elsewhere, is the only way to protect the Jewish state.

(Lieberman’s Wikipedia entry makes very interesting reading. In many ways, you could argue he’s consistently acted as one of Israel’s more principled politicians, including severing ties with the corrupt Mossad, back in 2011. I also found this, which certainly muddies the waters on his views of ‘organized religion’ in Israel, too:

While his party is sometimes described by the news media[55] as doctrinally secular and aiming to reduce the role of the rabbinical system in government, it actually supports the continuation of the role of Orthodox rabbinical courts, but wants more nationally minded religious people, rather than the ultra-orthodox, in charge.[56] It does not advocate introducing civil marriage within Israeli law, but rather to find a solution to some of those who cannot marry under such laws.[55] It does not advocate a separation of religion and state in Israeli society.[56]


So now, we circle back to the message of the ‘whoever finds fault‘ post, because Lieberman isn’t the only one who think that ‘chareidim’ are bad, and wrecking the economy, and need to be forced to serve in the army.

There are a whole bunch of ostensibly ‘religious’ Jews both here and abroad who also totally lack emuna, and believe the same thing, too.

Just they are less vitriolic (and probably, also less honest….) about expressing it. They think it’s fine for a few yeshiva bochurs to carry on learning, but they clearly would prefer most Moshes to put down their gemara and pick up their uzis, and to become truly productive citizens of Israel.

Honestly? It’s much, much harder for me to judge them favorably, because you’d think that surely they should know better than some Russian guy who never went to cheder and who grew up under atheist, communist rule….

But I digress.


So, let’s sum up where we’ve got to:

Lieberman’s ACTIONS of going after the Torah world, and trying to ‘secularise’ Israel are clearly wrong, bad and evil.

Lieberman’s MOTIVATIONS are confused and mixed-up, but at least conceivably could stem from a genuine concern that if Torah observant Jews don’t serve in the IDF and ‘contribute economically’ to Israel, the Jewish State will either be destroyed, conquered or collapsed.

So that’s how we can judge the ESSENCE of Lieberman to the side of merit, even though his actions are clearly evil and atrocious.


Ahead of Yom Kippur, it’s a really good idea to practice this Azamra thing as much as possible, because however we judge others, that is how God will judge us.


We’re all doing things wrong ALL THE TIME.

We hurt people, we step on them, we selfishly put ourselves first, we look down our noses at other Jews, and act holier-than-thou. We act like pigs, so very much of the time.


And the more we make an effort to see that in others, the more we’ll uncover that true goodness in ourselves, too, and rescue our souls (and everyone else’s….) from the klipot.


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13 replies
  1. Orna Nitzevet
    Orna Nitzevet says:

    This was very nice Rivka.
    I have just one question.
    Is his mother Jewish?
    If yes, all above is AZAMRA WAY.
    If not…….
    Goyim their essence is not good and is all based in the evil klipot.
    But it can become after long process of tshuva with 7 laws or HALACHIC conversion from yirat Hashem and a spark that come in them from prayer of a tzadik/a.
    Obviously he is not SHOMER MITZVOT from Gerim, so the only question is about his mother.
    I think….in case of Essau it was his own choice to refuse a B’RIT. When he was born he was too red to have one. Would be nice to know this case…if he is Jewish, i we hope he do tshuva as every other JEW.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Couldn’t we ask that about every Jew we meet?

      We have to assume, unless there are very clear grounds for saying the opposite, that all the ‘difficult’ Jews out there are actually halachically Jewish… Otherwise, why would Rabbenu have bothered to teach Azamra?

      • Orna Nitzevet
        Orna Nitzevet says:

        Yes and no.
        In time of Rabbeinu Russians where Russians and JEWS where JEWS.
        And then there was Kamenecko with the kofrim of Jaacob Frank/el.
        They got Karet and many of them became notzrim or muslims later in Turkiye.
        There are things that suppose to made clear.
        Like Sharon was not Jewish because his mother was not and they refused to do Halachic Giur. Rabbi Nachman was very bright clever. Azamra is meant for the Jews because in every Jew his essence is good. The only bad is our free choice.
        Until we leave this world, we always, well, almost always HAVE the choice of KLIPAT NOGA (what is hetzi/hetzi tov ve ra). To accept evil from goiym in the HOLY LAND, no need for that and it must be made clear. We do not need to be nice to none JEWS that want to destroy us and the Torah, same as Rabbi Nachman was not nice after Kamenckije made the decision to refuse the ORAL TORAH. He gave them KARET.

        • Orna Nitzevet
          Orna Nitzevet says:

          My question of mother being Jewish is mostly because of Transnistria and the well known KILLING FIELDS NEAR THE BLACK SEA. If someone Jewish comes from this, how can they hate so much real JEWS and the servitude to Hashem and complete devotion to HIM if the person himself is JEWISH?
          What is the logic behind?
          The mother of Sharon VERA, was from Russian Subbotnik Jewish origin. (the followers of Jacob Frankel, yes! )
          Are we not allowed to know who is the mother of this other?
          Because then we know the logic of the thinking, the choices and what it means for us AM YISRAEL, on what side he stand???
          Is he a JEW? A JEW have inside RAHAMIM, sometimes very deep but is there, somewhere…..
          By the standards of Rabbi Nachman=the real HALACHA, Ariel Sharon was not Jewish and he not suppose to be ever allowed to give any piece of OUR HOLY LAND AWAY.

          • Rivka Levy
            Rivka Levy says:

            Orna, I can only think you don’t read a lot of Tanach.

            King Ahav was a Jew and he went against Hashem and married Jezebel… his mother was certainly Jewish.
            King Menashe was a Jew and he went against Hashem, put idols in the temple, slaughtered his own grandfather, Isaiah the prophet, and his mother – Isaiah’s daughter – was certainly Jewish.

            Just crack open Kings and Chronicles, read Yirmiyahu, read Amos, read Isaiah. All this occurred millenia before Shabtai Tzvi and the Frankists.

        • Rivka Levy
          Rivka Levy says:

          But we do need to see the good in people, especially in Jews, but also as much as possible in non-Jews too, where doing that wouldn’t put us in danger.

          God made the world, Ein Od Milvado. Not every ‘bad’ person is a non-Jew.

          It’s part of having a good eye, and of seeing the good.

          No-one is pretending there isn’t bad, but Rabbenu taught us the way to deal with this bad is to look for the points of good that still exist within it – within everything in creation, because ultimately, Ein Od Milvado. And when we find that point of good, the spark of Godliness is contains is redeemed… and we have geula.

          • Orna Nitzevet
            Orna Nitzevet says:


            Rivka, Ahav acted as he did exactly because his beautiful none Jewish wife asked him to do so.
            To know if someone is Jewish is good for knowing what to do.
            To pray for him and his mother for finding his RAHAMIM, when we pray for a Jew we say his name and his mothers name. If he is not from Jewish mother he not suppose to lead AM YISRAEL, that what i wanted to point out.
            Ariel Sharon was a good goy if he in his heart did not practice the weird notzriut of his mother. When he refused the Giur was it because he did or not did practice this. Notzriut is avoda zara. He said he is better Jew then anyone else. What he mean by that?
            If Lieberman is from Jewish mother, we must pray for him to do tschuva. But if we know that his mother isn’t Jewish we must pray for him to not to have any power on AM YISRAEL in this LAND. And if he is in secret a Notzri in his heart, then Hashem knows what to do.
            Yaacov will not bow to Essau ever again!
            Anyway we need a JEWISH KING, mashiah, to lead us and not anyone of the people in the gunverment. Only he with the MERCY of Hakadosh Baruh Hu can know who is who and what to do. We know nothing. that’s why we need mashiah tzidkeinu to lead us. The times are too confusing.

          • Rivka Levy
            Rivka Levy says:

            We just need to be focusing in on working on our own bad middot. All this other stuff about who has a Jewish mother, etc, is just a distraction. If someone wants to marry my daughter, then I’ll start exploring that side of things. But in terms of what I need to focus on right now, obsessing over who is ‘really’ Jewish and who isn’t seems pointless. God knows, we don’t, and our job is to stop pointing fingers at others and just to work on ourselves. I have my hands more than full enough with my own bad middot to waste any more energy pondering about other people’s mothers.

      • Orna Nitzevet
        Orna Nitzevet says:

        Rivka, in my LIKUTEY MOHARAN
        AZAMRA is about finding NEKUDA TOVA in every JEWISH SOUL…
        did i miss something?

  2. Rachel in NY
    Rachel in NY says:

    Does Lieberman really not know that the army is already overflooded? According to what I read over on the Myrtle Rising blog, they sit around watching movies, there are so many soldiers that there aren’t enough useful jobs for them. He knows this, it’s all an excuse, just to “stick it” to anyone religious. So in order to judge him favorably, you had to buy his line and bury heads with all sense of reason in the sand. I truly believe that judging favorably is important and especially for the “average Joe” who is ignorant of what he’s supposed to be doing, judge him favorably. Lack of emunah is one thing, but being vindictive and hateful is an entirely different animal, and that should not have to be tolerated. I had given you another example. Pinchas, who was rewarded greatly for his actions, asked no questions, didn’t close his eyes and think “well, maybe they have a really really good reason for what they’re doing or just lack emunah.” We all can’t be Pinchas in this day and age, but it seems that there needs to be a red line of sorts in the sand, where, if one crosses that line, it’s just too much to tolerate or make excuses for them.


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