Pada BeShalom

Freeing Rav Ginsberg From Israeli Jail

By Aliza Bas Menachem
Dozens of Chassidim were pre¬sent in the Israeli Supreme Court. Spontaneously they began to quietly chant Pa’da Ve ‘shalom Nafshei.

The electrifying effect that the fig-gun had on the courtroom unnerved the policeman who was holding Harav Yitzchok Ginsburg. The policeman ordered Ginsburg to put a stop to the singing! The policeman claimed that singing was not honorable to the court. In his quiet, soothing, yet uncompromis¬ing way, Harav Ginsburg explained to his guard that the singing was indeed bringing a very holy and beautiful spirit into the courtroom. The policeman said no more. The niggun continued from beginning to end, over and over.

When the judge entered the court-room, all spectators were expelled from the room. The singing ended and the secret proceedings against Harav Ginsburg could begin.
NOTE: This article is based on the audio tape record-ed at the seudos hodoah of Rabbi Ginsburg, held in New York op Motzei Bais lyar. It has not been authorized by the participants of that event. It is the understanding and interpretation of the writer.

Administrative detention is a legal relic that remains in Israeli law since the days of the British Mandate. It has been used primarily against terrorists, when revealing evidence would be a breach of security. Recently, this type of arrest has been used against Rabbis. Harav Ginsburg was under Administrative Detention. When he was first given a chance to defend himself, he did not know what the charges were against him. He was defending himself against, what the prosecution kept referring to as, secret material and secret information.

Interestingly enough, when HaRav Ginsburg was released, just a few days before Pesach, an article about this event was prepared for the Israeli press. The writer of the article looked into the Rebbe’s letters for a brocha for the article. He opened the volume at a letter which began: Thank you for sending me your newspaper article. The bulk of the letter was stressing, in very forceful terms, the importance of educating the world in the secrets of Torah. The trial of Harav Ginsburg brought the “secrets” of the Torah into the high court of Israel, and it was they who labeled it “secret” material and “secret” information.

In the course of the trials it was made known to HaRav Ginsburg that the secret material was a sicha of the Rebbe which Rabbi Ginsburg had taught recently and the secret information was some of his own teachings. HaRav Ginsburg is extremely familiar with the letters of the Aleph Bais and Gematria. When he glanced at the Hebrew words of secret information, he noticed that the gematna was equal to Menachem Mendel. The gematria for secret information added up to Yitzchok, his own name.

When the nature of the secret material was revealed to him, he realized that he was on trial because of what he had said at the Purim Seuda. What he had said was a sicha of the Rebbe. He told the court: It is not me who is on trial, it is the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I am sure he will be able to handle the court.

In his address at the seudos hodoah in New York, Harav Ginsburg stressed repeatedly that it was not himself who was on trial. It was Torah, Chassidus and especially the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Teachings of the Rebbe were the incriminating evidence and teachings of the Rebbe are what convinced the judge of innocence. HaRav Ginsburg felt very close to the Rebbe throughout the experience. On the day of his arrest, Rabbi Ginsburg’s son opened a volume of the Rebbe’s letters to a letter that was dated that day and that ended with the assurance that you will merit to celebrate the holiday of Pesach in true freedom together with all your family. This was communicated to HaRav Ginsburg in a note tucked into his tefillin, the only thing he was allowed to receive at the time.


The personal redemption of HaRav Ginsburg was brought about on many levels. The court proceedings were phenomena in and of themselves. The prosecutors had to learn Chassidus and present it in the court in order to argue the case. HaRav Ginsburg was then given a chance to explain the ideas further. The Supreme Court judge, who is known to be brilliant, is also known for not letting anyone finish a sentence. She knows the end of the sentence upon hearing the first few words. This judge listened attentively to HaRav Ginsburg for forty-five minutes on two separate occasions as he explained concepts in Chassidus. The war against Midian was one of the topics which the Israeli government considered a risk to security. Rabbi Ginsburg had to clarify for the judge that learning this Sicha was not a call to arms, as well as other Chassidic viewpoints related to vio¬lence. The Rebbe’s teachings reached the souls of all those present in the courtroom.

They brought about the acquittal of the accused. The court ruled that HaRav Ginsburg’s teachings were accurate and true and in no way a risk to the State of Israel. This ruling overrode the Administrative Detention. This is the first such ruling in the history of the State of Israel, where a court did not uphold an Administrative Detention.

Meanwhile the defense minister had signed an order to release HaRav Ginsburg, but that was to take effect four days after his actual release. Rabbi Ginsburg was released because of his unqualified innocence, not political pressure.

On another level the political pres¬sure was what released HaRav Ginsburg. The pressure was applied in an act of unity that goes beyond words. It was unity, true unity; HaRav Ginsburg opened his address at the seuda by saying that it was clear that the “arousal from below,” the coming together for a common cause, “brought about the arousal from above,” which produced the result in the Supreme Court. HaRav Ginsburg stressed that his personal redemption was the result of unity and that the general and Final Redemption will come from unity. Before Rabbi Ginsburg spoke at the seuda, Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie told the fascinating story of the world - wide unified effort to free HaRav Ginsburg. No matter what we think or feel we are the children of one father. This became revealed in the weeks of HaRav Ginsburg’s detention.


In The Eye Of The Hurricane - Rabbi Eliezrie to the rescue!
They have been friends for more than a quarter of a century, since before the time when each of them became a prominent Rabbi. So when, via e.-mail, Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie received notice of Rabbi Yitzchok Ginsburg’s arrest, just one hour after it happened, he took action.
Immediately discussions ensued in America and Israel, a web site was set up on internet and plans were laid to activate a world wide campaign to accomplish one thing. A man could not be held without charges and without a trial. At least not a man who is part of the family of Lubavitch. Rabbi Eliezrie contacted all the shluchim in cities that have Israeli government presence, telling them to call the Israeli offices and protest. Rabbi Eliezrie was able to reach shluchim the world over, everywhere except Zaire. He lost track of the time of day as he was speaking to Paraguay one minute and Bangkok the next, Budapest, Moscow, Melbourne, everywhere. He did not only use the large centers, he contacted even small countries. The Israeli government had to hear from all corners of the world; in the major cities, LA, N.Y. and Washington the calls were so many that the consulates could no longer pick up their phones. As many as 500 calls came into the L.A. consulate on the first day of the campaign. The Israeli Foreign Minister was furious, the Defense Minister/Prime Minister was ready to release Ginsburg, but the secret service, Shin Bet, wanted him locked up. The tumult was tremendous; the gov¬ernment was facing a public relations disaster. The message was clear: We are Chassidim and we are linked together.

You arrested Lubavitch; you are making a war against Chassidus.

We are brothers we wi1l not rest for one moment until our brother is released.
Within forty-eight hours Rabbi Eliezrie was informed that Rabbi Ginsburg would be released, but that the government needed an easy way out to save face. This was not good enough. Into the second and third week, the campaign continued with momentum until the actual moment of release. The campaign included ads and~editoria1s in newspapers and a letter from lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

Many Jewish organizations, including O-U and the Young Israel, joined the fight. The arousal from below (the unity of Jews) stirred an arousal from Above and Rabbi Ginsberg was released. Lubavitch worldwide learned a lesson. They saw the potential that they have in the merit of being unified. When Lubavitch stands together- Nothing can tread on them.

As Rabbi Eliezrie said:
The merit of unity (Achdus in Hebrew) that brought about the personal redemption of Rabbi Ginsberg, should serve as a catalyst that can bring about the complete and final redemption.

There are many of our people who live today in Chevron surrounded by Arabs in order to inhabit the Land of Israel- The entire land of Israel. They do so under very terrible conditions. Many of the men sit and learn in Rabbi Ginsberg’s Kollels in Chevron and Shechem.

If you would like to help these brave people in their, no – OUR plight, please send your generous donation to: Gal Einai Gal Einai Institute
383 Kingston Ave. Suite 353
Brooklyn, NY 11213

To donate on line: Click Here
To read the original article: Click Here

N’SHEl CHABAD NEWSLETTER • JUNE 1996 Page 19

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