According to the Talmud, the covenant at Sinai not only bound the people Israel to God, but also to one another, so that “all Jews are responsible for [more literally, are guarantors of] one another.” Some rabbinic texts understand that a negotiation took place, whereby God agreed that He would hold the Israelites responsible for the public transgressions of their coreligionists, but not private ones. To yet other sages, this condition was removed when Joshua led the people into the Land of Israel.
Is the Land or the Torah the Basis for Jewish Peoplehood?
The Moral Decadence of a Group of Rabbinical Students’ Anti-Israel Appeal
As terrorists were launching thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians, mobs were destroying Israeli cities, and Jews were being harassed and attacked on the streets of the U.S. and Europe, a group of nearly 100 American rabbinic and cantorial students signed an “appeal to the heart of the Jewish community.” The document, which was circulated online and then published in the Forward, echoed the anti-Israel rhetoric that was then pouring forth from the halls of the academy, major newspapers and television stations, and various celebrities and activists. Alvin Rosenfeld comments: