24 December 2015

Selection of Sayings of the Vilna Gaon

# RE Dov bar Leib's blog:  "on Nachal Yavok where Ya'akov wrestled with an angel, on the other side of the Yavok, after dividing his wives, children, and servants into "two camps" to prepare to go to war with Esav " below is a saying of the Vilna Gaon on the #"dividing of the wives":

On The Erev Rav

"Eisav and Yishmael are entwined in Avraham and Yitzhak, but the `erev rav are entwined in Yaakov; they are more problematic to Israel and to the shekhina, for they are the leaven in the dough - for all the misers and those who do not support the Torah are from them" - Tikkunei Zohar, p. 35.

...And see the profundity of their statements made about the blight, and yet there is a fourth kind: `and they have mingled (in Hebrew, Vayitarvu, related to the term Erev Rav) with the nations and learned from their deeds' - these are themselves Jews who adhered to the `erev rav and became like them...and this fourth kind is the most difficult of them all, and they are our brothers who have soured" - his commentary to B'rakhot 54:

And in the book of Tikkunim of Zohar Hadash (p. 54) we find written: "As for Yaakov, because he foresaw the pressure of the last exile in the end of days, the Torah says And Yaakov was very much afraid and felt troubled, and he divided up the holy nation in exile into three divisions, and he placed the maidservants and their children first, and Leah and her children behind them, and Rachel and Yosef last "

And the Gaon wrote there:

# The three divisions are as follows: the `erev rav, the good simple people amongst them, and the scholars. The maidservants and their children first - these are the `erev rav made by Lilit, the bad maidservant, of whom it is said: And if a maidservant should inherit her lady, and also her sons, who are the leaders of the holy nation in the last exile, as it is said: Her foes became her leaders, as it was said in "Raaya Mehemna" (Zohar 3/125).

Leah and her children behind them - they are the good simple people.

Rachel and Yosef last of all - they are the scholars of whom Rachel is the chief of the house... They are last because they are downtrodden and debased, as it is said: Those who fear sin will be despised, and the wisdom of the scribes [alt. translated as counters] will be rotten, as he went on in R.M. (ibid., and see Sanhedrin 98.). See: Leshem, Shevo V'Ahlama, Introduction and Contents, p. 46, explanation.

The main force of the `erev rav is at the gates of Jerusalem by the entrance of the city (The Great Period, 503-504).

This seems to be a shift and a change in the definition of `erev rav from what we have seen in the other quotations (full of desire, argumentative, honor-seeking, hurrying to give instruction though they are unqualified to do so, etc.). It would seem that this point mentioned by "Kol HaTor" of the resistance to the realization of the redemption of the Jews was not expressed in the other utterances by the Gaon regarding the `erev rav.

This, however, is what R. Hillel of Shklov explains to us: the nation of Israel has suffered so many tribulations during its horrible exile (see MahaRal, Netzah Yisrael, the beginning of chapter 49), and our heart boils over with distress at the memory of our terrible debasement, both in spirituality and in materiality. How, now, can there arise out of our nation Sanballats to destroy and disrupt the restoration of the nation of Israel in its land? The only explanation possible is that they really are full of desire, argumentative, proud etc. - lacking true links with the Jewish people or with the Torah of Israel.

We must not take into consideration that some of them do actually have some superficial knowledge of Torah (see Adderet Eliyahu to Deut. 32:20) for My people is foolish, they do not know Me... they are wise in causing evil, but know not how to do good (Jeremiah 4:22). That is, if they are not G-d-fearing - they do not know Me - they will turn the words of the living G-d into lies and deceit. The proof that their hearts are impure is that they are not distressed at the disaster of Yosef (Amos 6:6). They do not feel sorrow at the disaster of the entire Jewish people, though they chatter Torah-like platitudes of love of Israel. 

"And they heal the disaster of My nation too easily, saying `Peace, peace!' - but there is no peace!" (Jeremiah 6:14). Further proof, instead of quarreling with the nations of the world who cause us distress, they choose to argue and quarrel with the faithful of Israel - all by virtue of those very same characteristics defined by the Zohar (I/25).

Source:  http://www.vilnagaon.org/gaon/Erev_Rav.html


"Whoever is not engaged in actively fighting the Erev Rav becomes an automatic partner to the husk of the Erev Rav, and whoever this may be it would be better for him had he not been created."

"You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow's blood. I am the Lord" Vayikra - Leviticus - Chapter 19:16

"the revelation of the Divine Presence is sometimes compared to a special light" that some are privy to.


Anonymous said...

Exactly as we see the situation today. We have the real Erev Rav (reincarnations of those Mitzrim that tagged along with the Bnai Yisrael) and who caused the sin of the Golden Calf, and who are now in power (one of the signs of them is that they are usually in positions of power and wealth), not only in Israel, but everywhere. Then we have those in chareidi garb who also get into the power structure, same as above, and do not feel the pain of their brothers, the Jewish people. Here we are at the end of days and we see so much of the GR'A's words coming to fruition.

DS said...

Good post, thanks.