Roy S. Neuberger
In today’s Parsha and in today’s world we have arrived in Golus.
As I write, it is Motzae Shabbos Parshas Vayigash and I have just learned of the petira of the Torah luminary Rabbi Moshe Shapira, zaicher tsaddik livracha. One by one, our gadolim are leaving us, those who were the leaders of the entire Nation of Israel. We read in this week’s parsha, “Yosef died and all his brothers and that entire generation.” (Shemos 1:6) This, my friends, is Golus. The face of Hashem is hidden and darkness surrounds us.
The outgoing President of the United States and his Secretary of State have let their feelings bubble to the surface and the bubbles are not pretty. The United Nations blames us – just us! – for all the troubles of the world. As Dovid Hamelech says, “I am peace, but, when I speak, they are for war!” (Tehillim 120:7)
Almost forty three years ago, my wife and I met Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis. At that time, we were totally new to Yiddishkeit. We had never been to Israel, and we didn’t want to go to Israel. We believed that the Jews had stolen the Land from the Arabs. Then we started attending the Rebbetzin’s “Hineni School.” We learned the famous Rashi on the first words in Chumash, “Beraishis bara Elokim ….” The very fact that this is the opening Rashi indicates that we should pay close attention.
Rashi asks why the Torah, which is a book of laws, begins with the account of creation. This is his answer:
“If the nations of the world will say to Israel, ‘You are bandits, for you conquered the land of the seven nations [who inhabited the land of Canaan, you] will say to them, ‘The whole earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed Is He. He created it and he gave it to the one found proper in His eyes. By His wish He gave it to them and by His wish He took it from them and gave it to us, [the Children of Israel].’”
Was Rashi a novi? He is describing the exact scenario which we are witnessing in the world today, almost a thousand years later! The United Nations, which purports to represent all the nations of the world, has just said to us, “you are bandits,” exactly as Rashi predicted!
Implicit in Rashi’s words is the answer to their accusation. Hashem made the world. He apportions it to whoever is “proper in His eyes.” He gave the Land of Israel to the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. We are those children!
“Give thanks to Hashem. Declare His Name. Make His acts known among the peoples…. Remember His covenant forever … that He made with Avraham, and His vow to Yitzchak. Then He established it for Yaakov as a statute, for Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying ‘To you I shall give the Land of Canaan, the lot of your heritage.’” (Divrai Hayamim I 16:8-18)
The entire grasp of Reality lies in whether one recognizes the Existence of the Creator of the universe. “Rabos machashavos b’lev ish … many designs are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of Hashem, only it will prevail.” (Mishlei 19:21) The conclusion here is very simple: the United Nations is of no consequence. It is reminiscent of the “world government” which the nations tried to create in the Dor Haflaga. (Beraishis 11:1ff) Hashem dispersed them “over the face of the earth,” and such is the fate of all those who rebel against the Ribono shel Olam.
We should not be surprised that the entire world has declared war on us. Did not Bilaam say, “hen am levadad yishkon … they are a nation that shall dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations.” (Bamidbar 23:9)
As for us, let us remember the words of Dovid Hamelech, who says three times in Tehillim 118, “all the nations surround me.” Midrash Tehillim explains that this passage refers to the three-stage War of Gog and Magog. (Redemption Unfolding) What is Dovid Hamelech’s prescription for survival? We should listen carefully to these words.
“B’shaim Hashem ki amilam … in the Name of G-d I cut them down.” (Tehillim 118)
A group of men sits around a table at the United Nations. They raise their hands to vote. Do you think the fate of the Holy Nation of Israel is influenced by how many hands go up? “The hands are Esav’s hands!” (Beraishis 27:22) But Hashem is listening for the voice of Yaakov. If that voice is speaking “in the Name of G-d,” then we have nothing to fear from the “hands of Esav.”
“Hashem said to Avraham … ‘I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” (Beraishis 12:1-3)
The nations of the world actually understand that we are the source of their blessings. Even anti-Semitism is explained by this. Why in fact do the nations hate us? Why is “sina” the root of the word “Sinai?” The world knows that we are close to Hashem. They hate us because they want to rebel against Hashem and live without moral restraint. Hashem does not permit this; He institutes laws to guide mankind toward sanctity. But the nations do not want this and so they attack us, because we are the representatives of G-d, against Whom they are trying to rebel.
It will not help them.
When “the wicked bloom like grass, and all doers of iniquity blossom … it is to destroy them ‘til eternity.” (Tehillim 92) Soon we will see those who curse us destroyed by their curse, and those who bless us blessed beyond measure.
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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger