By Elliot Resnick, Jewish Press Staff Reporter
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky used to be a lawyer. Today he heads the largest synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey. A graduate of Columbia University and Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, Rabbi Pruzansky assumed the pulpit of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in 1994. He previously served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills for nine years.
A strong supporter of Israel, Rabbi Pruzansky does not hide his strong right-wing views on Israeli politics. These views have earned him both admirers and detractors (Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman quit Bnai Yeshurun over them).
A noted author and lecturer, Rabbi Pruzansky just completed his second book, Judges For Our Time: Contemporary Lessons from the Book of Shoftim (Gefen). The Jewish Press recently spoke with him.
The Jewish Press: In the book, you write at some length about Samson’s unconventional military tactics and their possible current application. Can you elaborate?
Rabbi Pruzansky: I think the basic idea of Shimshon’s battles was an attempt to provide the people of Israel with plausible deniability. In other words, he conducted himself as a lone wolf, distancing himself from his native population, even committing acts that would manifest a severance between him and the Jewish people (intermarriage for example) in order to inflict damage on the enemy that could not be traced back to the Jewish people. And in that he was very successful.
From that I deduce a methodology for fighting an asymmetrical war between a state and, say, a terror group. Today the western world is trying to combat an enemy that basically is faceless and nameless, and does not necessarily have a political address, and yet can inflict grievous harm to civilian populations. How do you fight such an enemy? Continue reading