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04 March 2018

A Meaningful Wink from the Almighty

Parashat Ki Tisa and Purim 5778
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
[late but meaningful]

A Meaningful Wink from the Almighty

In our parasha, Moshe pleads to comprehend the inner essence of the Almighty. His plea is answered to a degree that no other man had or would ever achieve, although far less than what Moshe intended.
We too thirst for a sign of HaShem’s presence, but too often we are disappointed. However, there were and are times when HaShem does “wink” at his people. It is usually by His awesome timing of world events.
This week we were gifted with a meaningful “wink”.

Moving the US Embassy

I have reason to believe that President Trump did not have me in mind when he announced that the US embassy will be moving to Yerushalayim on the 14th of May 2018, even though May 14 (1938) is also my birthday. But I don’t feel slighted by his oversight.
Seventy years ago, on May 14, 1948, Medinat Yisrael came into being; and the guillotine came down on the 2000-year galut of our people. For me, it was a great tenth year birthday present.
Although the relocation is scheduled to happen two and a half months from now, there is a Biblical element to President Trump’s announcement made during this week of Purim. It is one of those incidents when HaShem shows His hand to the Jewish people.
The Megillah relates that Esther appeared at the King’s antechamber. He understood that she had a request to make. “What is your wish?” he said, “I can give to you up to half of my kingdom.”
Chazal explain that Achashverosh’s intention was to deny any attempt on her part to rebuild the Bet Hamikdash and Yerushalayim, which were equal to half his monarchy.
Trump’s move to recognize Yerushalayim as our historic and religious capital, in the face of the world’s opposition, is on the level of what President Truman did in 1948 when he recognized the State of Israel. The announcement contrasts with Achashverosh’s denial of our rights to Yerushalayim and the future Bet Hamikdash.
Is President Trump a tikun for Achashverosh? Are Mr. Kushner and his wife Ivanka the modern-day Mordechai and Esther? Who can know the secrets of HaShem as he slowly, but relentlessly, guides the Jewish people’s future through the darkness of human history?

On another matter…

Harav Shmuel Auerbach passed away on Shabbat at the age of 86. The rabbi was the spiritual force behind the group called “Peleg Yerushalayim”- the Jerusalem group that vehemently opposes anything that has to do with military service, including their refusal to even register with the army as is required by law. They are responsible for the aggressive riots that have paralyzed many major cities in order for them to get their point across.
What is bizarre about their total opposition to military service is that the miracle of Purim occurred on the background of a great military victory, not to speak of the 25-year war of the Maccabees against Greece that gave rise to Chanuka. It is no secret that military victories are dependent on training and preparation. If you don’t prepare, you will die very quickly in battle against a well-armed and trained enemy. The extreme stance taken by Peleg Yerushalayim is irrational and has no roots in Torah nor in normative Jewish history. One need not be a military expert to know that the State of Israel is in the midst of a milchemet mitzva – a war for dear life – where every able-bodied young man must do his share.
It is not a comfortable place to be in when one’s opinions contrast with those of rabbis like Rabbi Auerbach. But the truth of Jewish history, human nature and the teachings of classic Torah are on our side. To learn Torah without being aware of what is transpiring around us is a luxury our generation cannot afford.
I would hope that Rav Auerbach was not the fomenter of these riots but rather his lieutenants who spoke in is name. The Rabbi’s father, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, was a man of the people. It is recorded that when one of his students wanted to pray at the gravesites of the many righteous rabbis buried in the Galil, Harav Auerbach responded: “Why waste your time going so far when there are thousands of great tzaddikim one kilometer from here on Mount Herzl’s military cemetery?”
It is very convenient to stand by and let others spill their blood for you.
When viewing the animosity of the thousands who participated in the aggressive demonstrations of the Peleg group, it brought to mind the hatred that existed between the rival groups at the end of the second Temple. We are told that this hatred was responsible for its destruction.
This degree of hatred should not be tolerated. People can have different opinions, but no one – not even the greatest rabbis – have a personal line to heaven like Moshe Rabbeinu had. The public debate has to be held on the background of our return home after 2000 years of galut. We all have to contribute to the holy structure of the Medina.
There is a simple solution for those who feel such animosity against the State. Take a trip to the former concentration camps in Germany or Poland, or to any of the thousands of camps spread out over Europe. If you are too squeamish, take a walk in Paris or London with your kippa on. You will quickly learn to kiss the ground of Eretz Yisrael that you so readily refuse to defend.
Shabbat Shalom and Purim Samaiyach,
Nachman Kahana

A personal note by me:  There are extenuating circumstances involved with Peleg. The Yeshiva and Kollel men need to sit and learn for Klal Yisrael’s spiritual safety, which is vital when we are under attack by the Nations of the World. One may lose his life (body) in battle, but should not lose his spiritual essence and connection to HKB”H. Some who enter the IDF lose their spiritual connection. There is so much to say on this.


Shimshon said...

There was alternative path.

They should have engaged in passive resistance and allowed themselves to be arrested. Military prison is not like civilian prison. The prisoners spend much of the day in a common area with other similarly-aged and like-minded prisoners (the vast majority of the many thousands of military prisoners are in for the same reasons, draft evasion or AWOL). That's a beis midrash. They could have sat an learned unimpeded just as well there as anyplace. Isn't that what they claimed they want?

That would have been the proper response, and a massive kiruv opportunity and Kiddush Hashem. That they chose violence and hatred proves this was entirely about themselves and settling grudges. It was all about themselves and their selfish egos, from Rav Auerbach (his father would be ashamed) on down.

The arrests would have stopped after a few hundred at most and all their demands would have eventually been met. The secular government would never stand for the success they would have met in the prison beis midrash.

Reuven said...

I wanted to react to Nachman's last paragraphs.

I totally agree that this kind of hatred should not be allowed to happen. But at the same time, I don't see anything holy in the structure of the Medina. The simple fact the it is populated and managed by Jews is not enough to call it holy. The few holy things were mainly what was agreed in the status quo (what the gedolei israel requested from Ben Gurion if he wanted them to live together in a same state). It did not prevent the State from coercing hundreds of thousands of sephardi and mizrahi Jews into secular culture.

Gemara Makkot (page 10 or 11 if I remember correctly) states that the walls of Jerusalem stand against our enemies by the merits of torah learning. The 70 years of the State of Israel are already long enough to see that this country is a miracle and it's definitely not by the merit of the gaavah of our IDF generals. We benefited from miracles during our wars.

I am not a supporter of Peleg. I personally do not agree with the way they behaved these last months. However, I think the best contribution a ben torah can give to the state is through torah learning as the Gemara states. Also, the army is not a place for a someone who tries to be holy. I know it from friends who are Baalei Teshuva and were in the army.

Last but not least, the main purpose of the IDF nowadays, with the new Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense, has become social engineering. Even major Religious Zionist Rabbis are now saying that, if the trend continues this way, they will discourage their talmidim to enlist.

In my opinion, the best way to solve this issue would be to abolish the draft, like Moshe Feiglin proposes.
- First of all, we do not need it any more. We are a country with 6 million Jews, not 600000 like at its foundation. Also, there are plenty of people of are motivated to become soldiers.
- Nowhere is it writen that the Israeli army needs to be a people's army instead of a professional army.
- By having a volunteer army, nobody will be able to accuse anybody of not being a soldiers.

The problem is that the Secular establishment does not want that because they now that if they did not coerce their secular nihilist brethen to join the army, the Religious zionists would take over the army as they are the most motivated and would probably be even more so if they would feel that there is a need to enlist to make up for the missing leftists.

There is also another solution to the one mentioned in the last paragraph: to change the state to something more Jewish. Jews who behave like Jews should not be obliged to leave this so-called Jewish State. This country does not belong to the secular only. Although I would prefer secular people to stay in a more Jewish Israel, anyone who is not happy with that can find dozens of states with Gentile cultures. But there is only one Jewish State.

Neshama said...

Reuven and Shimshon, thank you for your thoughtful comments.

As I see it, only when Mashiach is running things will the ‘govt’ (if there will be one) be holy.

The rebirth of Eretz Yisrael and that’s its filled with babies, children, adults, and seniors is a miracle, indeed. So says the Torah.

If one considers the creeping invasion of the Frum citizens of Israel, and all the laws they try to enact to slowly erode their numbers, through the zionistic apparatus, one needs to fight it vigorously. I’m not against Peleg, I believe an in-your-face demonstration to cause the enemy to slow down in their attempts is warranted. That’s my opinion.

Yes, that is the enemy, social engineering. It is not just happening here in Eretz Yisrael, but in fact all over the world. The enemy wants to curb dissent, and independent thinking, however they can.

I don’t think they’ll abolish the draft; it is their way of trying to break down the religious element. They think time is on their side. The ‘seculars’ (erev rav from mitzrayim reincarnated in this generation) are not going to give up. They need to disappear.

However, we have Hashem on our side!

Anonymous said...

I especially appreciate your last paragraph in the above post, Neshama. Also, Reuven's comment is very good, but your last comment here is exactly how I feel. Kudos!

Speaking of the worldwide social engineering going on, this is all part of an agenda, which should be apparent to everyone and those behind it are not even hiding their goals. As you say, we have Hashem, Who is in total control and only H's Torah Laws will reign supreme (Utzu eitzah v'sufar, dabru davar, etc. comes to mind).