The Controversy Over the Trump Wall in Biblical Light

  • No one has the right to demand from America completely open borders.
  • It is not beautiful to see these walls as you travel through Israel but they are necessary all the time that there is no peace between Israel and Palestine.
  • President Trump is not saying that the wall will be forever but it is an investment for now. Perhaps the situation will change in the future.

President Trump has shut down the Federal Government over the controversy about building the Wall on the border between America and Mexico.  There is no question that illegal immigration endangers Americans.  The question is if he is doing it in the right way by taking severe action before negotiating the issues.  President Trump justifies the building of the wall and compares it to the right of wealthy Americans building a wall around their homes with a buzzer to identify visitors before letting them to enter their homes.  America is a wealthy country and the poor and needy want to enter America.  However amongst these poor immigrants are criminals trafficking drugs, and seeking to abuse the rights of Americans.  When the wealthy Americans close their doors to the poor, America becomes Sodom and Gemorrah.  America will not punish a wealthy American whose doors are closed to the poor when and if a poor person will die at his doorstep from hunger.

Pope Francis has shown concern for the lives of the poor and needy that need the help of America.  However even the Pope and Jesus have no right to demand from America completely open borders.  The Law of God did not allow people to trespass on the rights of men, to kill, to steal, and to commit adultery. The tenth commandment of the Ten Commandments states, “Thou shall not covet thy neighbors house.”  The laws of God are borders which are necessary for helping mankind have a good life.

When Moses gave to the Jewish people the Torah he gave them the instructions, be careful in judgment, make many students, and make a fence for additional protection for law and order. Jewish people believe in the importance of making a fence around their community to protect their children from outside influences of their neighbors. Jewish people have always lived in strictly religious Jewish communities.  In America there are several strictly Jewish communities in upstate New York but generally Jews live together with gentiles but slowly become the majorities in several communities like in Boro Park, Crown Heights, Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Throughout America and Europe there are religious Jewish communities living in foreign nations.  Jews pray three times a day to return to their land to live in a sovereign religious nation like it was in Biblical times.  Jews returning to an exclusively Jewish Religious State is not practical. Not all Jews are religious.  The fence which was built around the Jewish State in Biblical times called the Succah – booth of King David has fallen.  To demand of Jews to return to an exclusively religious Jewish Nation demands to return to a dictatorship.  A dictator builds a fence around his nation through force.  The prophets have advised not to use force.  A religious Jewish State will deny the rights of Christians to live or worship in their country.  Religious Jews cannot live together peacefully with Muslims.  The law denies that Mohammed was a true prophet.  There is no other choice than for Jews than to make a secular state which has freedom of religion.  They have freedom to build fences around their ultra-orthodox communities in Israel but the nation can never be controlled by the ultra- religious. The wall around Jerusalem was breached and the temple destroyed.  The future Israel at the times of the Messiah is a nation without a wall a free state.

I remember when our family moved to Jerusalem in the middle of the Intifada in 1989.  One day I was waiting for a bus in the center of Jerusalem.  The bus was delayed.  Then we received news that a terrorist blew himself up on the bus coming from the Wailing Wall killing and injuring many Jews the majority were religious Jews. It was not uncommon for a terrorist living in the territories of Samaria and Judah carrying an explosive belt would infiltrate the road blocks enter buses or public places and blow themselves up. Finally the government decided to invest in building a wall between the territories and Israel which reduced almost completely indiscriminate entrance of terrorists into Israel. It is not beautiful to see these walls as you travel through Israel but they are necessary all the time that there is no peace between Israel and Palestine. There are peaceful Palestinians and there are militants. Israel built a fence around Gaza which helps to prevent terrorists from entering but still is not effective to stop Hamas from shooting missiles.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov a contemporary Chassidic master said that the world is a narrow bridge to cross over.  He said the main thing is not to fear to make the journey and cross the bridge.  There is an eternal conflict between nationalism and globalization. One without the other doesn’t work and eventually breaks down.  The nation of Israel which was completely National Religious lasted over four hundred years but was destroyed by the Babylonians. Globalization became more important than nationalism which means human rights became an issue. The narrow bridge says not to build a fence, but sometimes it is necessary like President Trump insists about his plan to build the fence between Mexico and USA.

Trump has every right according to the law of God to build the wall.  As a concession to the poor and needy the good people who want to immigrate, he has to make the laws of legal immigration easier for foreigners to enter America and expand quotas.  America has to think of the poor and needy who are waiting at the border for approval to enter by supplying them food and shelter.  A rich American can build a fence around his house to keep out strangers but the wealthy should make a place in their lives to help the poor.  The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 and was taken down in 1989.  It is always better to exist without walls.  Walls were built in Jerusalem to protect the nation from its enemies.  Jerusalem is a walled city.  However, it is prophesized that when Jerusalem is rebuilt it will no longer be necessary to build walls around the city. It will be in a new age, an age of peace. 

President Trump is not saying that the wall will be forever but it is an investment for now.  Perhaps the situation will change in the future.  We pray for a world without walls, where no person will be forced to live against his will under a dictator.  Everyone will someday want life and peace without war.  Nationalism needs to accept globalism in religion and in politics.  Protect your nation but join the movement for world peace. Don’t give up hope on your brothers and respect their human rights. Make walls to protect your family and friends but leave a place open to receive strangers.

Having to build the wall of President Trump is a sadness but it may help Americans live a better life. To close the government for an extended time also closes his ears to the other side which may have for America good suggestions.  He should be willing to compromise on other issues and make concessions. In a democracy there is no such thing as one way one side. Intifada was a new danger in Israel and Israel was forced to build the wall.  The problem of illegal immigration to America has existed for many years and Trump can wait a bit longer to negotiate rather than to take drastic steps to close the government. In Jewish law in almost all cases first you give a warning before taking action.

David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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