Tee Watt Kaa: But is it worth killing for? Fighting for something doesn’t necessarily mean you have to destroy everything in your path. Only when you lay your arms down and pursue a course of nonviolence can you make this claim to me that the Jedi are peacekeepers.
From Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 1 Episode 13: ‘Jedi Crash’
The Jedi joined the Clone Wars believing that they represented the source of all peace that would come to the galaxy. As this conversation between JK Aayla Secura and Lurmen elder Tee Watt Kaa shows, the way to teach peace isn’t necessarily through shows of force and mastery of the Force.
Aayla Secura believed that the Jedi represented the counter-culture: one of enlightenment and peace. They only attacked to defend their lives or the lives of others. Their training was noble: it was in the service of the greater good and the preservation of the Republic. The Jedi rebelled against the dark side and those who sought to bring injustice to the galaxy.
The ideology with which the Jedi actually struggle is their sense of hubris in “knowing the right thing to do” as revealed to them by their connection with the Force. In many ways, the prequels and clone wars series show us how the Jedi become tools of the Republic, ultimately believe themselves beyond the dominion of the Republic, and as such are held in reproach as traitors to the Republic by Palpatine.
Truth Rebellion: Torah vs. Pagan World
In many ways, the Jewish people suffered for upholding their beliefs in the face of the State. I want to point out something interesting from the writings of Dio Cassius, Roman historian from the second and third century CE. He writes:
I do not know the origin of this name (Jews), but it is applied to all men, even foreigners, that follow their customs. This race is found among Romans. It has been frequently persecuted but prospers nonetheless… Above all, they worship no other gods but reserve honor for only one god…everything concerning this god, his nature, the origin of his cult, and the fear he inspires in them has been discussed by many authors.History vol. 37 9-11
This was written in the aftermath of two very serious rebellions by Judea against the Roman State. The neutrality and almost a sense of admiration for their perseverance is evident in his words. Here was a people that, for every logical reason, should have submitted; but they didn’t. They have something different than our Roman culture, and it continues to grow. Here they are, he writes to his countrymen, the rebels that were the ire of the Roman Republic, and they continue to stand in defiance today.
הָעוֹבֵד מֵאַהֲבָה עוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה וּבַמִּצְוֹת וְהוֹלֵךְ בִּנְתִיבוֹת הַחָכְמָה לֹא מִפְּנֵי דָּבָר בָּעוֹלָם וְלֹא מִפְּנֵי יִרְאַת הָרָעָה וְלֹא כְּדֵי לִירַשׁ הַטּוֹבָה אֶלָּא עוֹשֶׂה הָאֱמֶת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא אֱמֶת וְסוֹף הַטּוֹבָה לָבוֹא בִּגְלָלָהּ.
The servant [of The Eternal] because of love, engages himself in the study of the Torah and the observance of precepts and follows the paths of wisdom on no account in the world; neither for fear of evil nor in order to inherit the good; but he does the true thing because it is true, and in the end the good comes because thereof.Maimonides, Laws of Repentance ch 10 #2
Maimonides culminates his work on repentance by stating that the ultimate value is the appreciation of truth: doing what is right, giving yourself purpose and fulfillment, and ultimately connecting you with the greatest source of all good things that come. Maimonides explains many of the Torah’s laws as rebellion against the common pagan culture (see Guide for the Perplexed), and adherence to the Torah would resolve the conflict in belief you may experience.
How Is It That the Jedi Order Could Fall?
Not strong enough I was. Failed them I have, failed them allGrand Master Yoda Clone Wars season 6 ep. 12 ‘Destiny’
In this episode of the Clone Wars, the Jedi Grand Master sees visions of the downfall of the Jedi and of the galaxy being shrouded in darkness. He believes that he has all of the answers, and also believes that he personally had the strength to have ended the Clone Wars and saved the galaxy, if only he were strong enough. This hubris of mastery of the Force is what brought down their order: believing that the truth could be defined by those that used the Force. Yoda, and Aayla, and all the way through the Order, there was a belief that the Jedi can give us the peace that we want.
Achieving peace, however, is not through might or strength, even as Yoda might have thought. It comes from inner peace, inner reflection, and acceptance of the either the will of the Force in Star Wars, or the Will of Force who Controls All Forces in our world. The tragic carnage was a lashing out of the Force to return balance, to retain control over its influence over the galaxy, and the Jedi have no right to claim that will as their own. Instead, the Force Priestesses teach the Grand Master that he must let go in order to bring ultimate serenity in the long run. Beating worlds down with armies and lightsabers does not represent the will of the Force. Accepting the reality and preparing for the future return of the light is Yoda’s final mission.
Rebels begin by taking the steps to return
This is ultimately the lesson not learned by Jedi like Aayla Secura, but only revealed to GM Yoda: you can rebel against the dark by being a spark of light. Hope is a major theme of Star Wars, and Rebels are meant to bring hope to the galaxy. Sure, not everyone understood that message in the rebellion, but this was the theme. Most notably, it’s the young boy in the last scene of “The Last Jedi”, who summons a broom to his hand using the Force and looks at the signal of the rebellion. It’s the belief that order will be restored and our freedom will be returned.
Rebel against the Darkness by Seeing The Light
Rebellion as an improvement of the self and preparing for a brighter future instead of a show of strength is brought to light in the prophecy of Jeremiah, whom had seen the destruction of his home, his kingdom, and everything taken away. Nonetheless, Jeremiah was commanded by Hashem to prepare for the future, and this troubled Jeremiah greatly. This was the prophecy Hashem presented to him as the Babylonians closed in:
הִנֵּ֣ה הַסֹּלְל֗וֹת בָּ֣אוּ הָעִיר֮ לְלָכְדָהּ֒ וְהָעִ֣יר נִתְּנָ֗ה בְּיַ֤ד הַכַּשְׂדִּים֙ הַנִּלְחָמִ֣ים עָלֶ֔יהָ מִפְּנֵ֛י הַחֶ֥רֶב וְהָרָעָ֖ב וְהַדָּ֑בֶר וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּ֛רְתָּ הָיָ֖ה וְהִנְּךָ֥ רֹאֶֽה׃
Here are the siegemounds, raised against the city to storm it; and the city, because of sword and famine and pestilence, is at the mercy of the Chaldeans who are attacking it. What You threatened has come to pass—as You see.
וְאַתָּ֞ה אָמַ֤רְתָּ אֵלַי֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֔ה קְנֵֽה־לְךָ֧ הַשָּׂדֶ֛ה בַּכֶּ֖סֶף וְהָעֵ֣ד עֵדִ֑ים וְהָעִ֥יר נִתְּנָ֖ה בְּיַ֥ד הַכַּשְׂדִּֽים׃
Yet You, Lord GOD, said to me: Buy the land for money and call in witnesses—when the city is at the mercy of the Chaldeans!”
וַיְהִי֙ דְּבַר־יְהוָ֔ה אֶֽל־יִרְמְיָ֖הוּ לֵאמֹֽר׃
Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
הִנֵּה֙ אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֔ה אֱלֹהֵ֖י כָּל־בָּשָׂ֑ר הֲֽמִמֶּ֔נִּי יִפָּלֵ֖א כָּל־דָּבָֽר׃
“Behold I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too wondrous for Me?
וְעַתָּ֕ה לָכֵ֛ן כֹּֽה־אָמַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֶל־הָעִ֨יר הַזֹּ֜את אֲשֶׁ֣ר ׀ אַתֶּ֣ם אֹמְרִ֗ים נִתְּנָה֙ בְּיַ֣ד מֶֽלֶךְ־בָּבֶ֔ל בַּחֶ֖רֶב וּבָרָעָ֥ב וּבַדָּֽבֶר׃adapted from Jeremiah ch. 32
But now, assuredly, thus said the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, “It is being delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon through the sword, through famine, and through pestilence”:
הִנְנִ֤י מְקַבְּצָם֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣אֲרָצ֔וֹת אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִדַּחְתִּ֥ים שָׁ֛ם בְּאַפִּ֥י וּבַחֲמָתִ֖י וּבְקֶ֣צֶף גָּד֑וֹל וַהֲשִֽׁבֹתִים֙ אֶל־הַמָּק֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה וְהֹשַׁבְתִּ֖ים לָבֶֽטַח׃
See, I will gather them from all the lands to which I have banished them in My anger and wrath, and in great rage; and I will bring them back to this place and let them dwell secure.
וְהָ֥יוּ לִ֖י לְעָ֑ם וַאֲנִ֕י אֶהְיֶ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם לֵאלֹהִֽים׃
They shall be My people, and I will be their God.
וְנָתַתִּ֨י לָהֶ֜ם לֵ֤ב אֶחָד֙ וְדֶ֣רֶךְ אֶחָ֔ד לְיִרְאָ֥ה אוֹתִ֖י כָּל־הַיָּמִ֑ים לְט֣וֹב לָהֶ֔ם וְלִבְנֵיהֶ֖ם אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם׃
I will give them a single heart and a single nature to revere Me for all time, and it shall be well with them and their children after them.
וְכָרַתִּ֤י לָהֶם֙ בְּרִ֣ית עוֹלָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־אָשׁוּב֙ מֵאַ֣חֲרֵיהֶ֔ם לְהֵיטִיבִ֖י אוֹתָ֑ם וְאֶת־יִרְאָתִי֙ אֶתֵּ֣ן בִּלְבָבָ֔ם לְבִלְתִּ֖י ס֥וּר מֵעָלָֽי׃
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them and that I will treat them graciously; and I will put into their hearts reverence for Me, so that they do not turn away from Me.
To be a true rebel means to personally disregard the tyranny around you, spark the fire that can burn brighter and be seen for miles, and inspire others through your actions. Finding meaning in the service itself, in the belief that doing the right thing brings light to the world (or the galaxy, if you’re really aiming high) is the ultimate sign of rebellion, and a true test of the strength of the individual. The success of the Jewish nation and its people is in uniting under the service of the Master of the Universe, improving their community, and holding fast against tyranny. Ultimately, to be a spark of rebellion means separating the difference between being right and doing what is right.