03 February 2017

Parshas Bo

By Roy S. Neuberger

Friday night during Shabbos Parshas Shemos I had a dream in which I saw huge slabs of white stone – perhaps thirty feet long or more – lying on the ground. I said to a man near me that Hashem had told me he should start building the Bais Hamikdosh using those stones. Later, I was facing the entrance to a large tunnel, like a highway tunnel that pierces a mountain. I saw that those slabs, instead of being used for the Bais Hamikdosh, had been placed around the entrance to the tunnel. I was extremely upset because those stone slabs were meant for only one purpose: 

to build the Bais Hamikdosh.

Shortly after I had the dream, my friend Reb Yechiel Warman brought to my attention an amazingly relevant Gemora: “Rabbi Yochanan was sitting and expounding: in the future, the Holy One, Blessed is He, will bring precious stones … that are thirty by thirty amos and will cut out from them [an opening] ten by twenty [amos] high and he will install them at the gates of Yerushalayim, as it is stated (Yeshia 54:12)… ‘I will make your … gates out of hewn stones….’” (Sanhedrin 100a)

The dream seems to indicate that Hashem is ready to build the Bais Hamikdosh. The materials have been given to us, but it seems that we are using our energy for the wrong purposes, meaning that we are concentrating on building gashmius when we should be building ruchnius.

This week, Parshas Bo describes the earth-shaking moment when “Hashem took the Children of Israel out of Eretz Mitzraim in their legions.” (Shemos 12:51) This b’ezras Hashem is about to be repeated, when the Ribono shel Olam rescues us from our own terrible Golus.

Am Yisroel was given the unique mission to re-introduce Hashem’s Presence to the world and to rescue Bnai Adam from rebellion against our Creator. If we do not perform our unique mission, if we use the stones to build tunnels rather than structures of ruchnius, then we are failing our Creator, ourselves and all mankind. Although we have to make parnassah in order to eat, we cannot afford to forget that we are here for only one purpose, to bring ruchnius into the world.

We must be vigilant. There is a certain euphoria among Jews in the wake of the recent elections, as if the new president is going to bring about a yeshua which will lead to the coming of Moshiach. Mr. Trump’s attitude toward Israel so far seems extremely commendable, but we should not forget that bringing Moshiach is the unique mission of Am Yisroel and that we can facilitate his coming only through the ruchnius we bring into the world. There is no other path.

Chazal state that, in order to protect oneself during Chevlei Moshiach, one should “occupy himself with [the study of] Torah and gamillus chassadim … acts of kindness.” (Sanhedrin 98b) 

The era of Moshiach is going to be attained only through our spiritual elevation, just as our ascent to Har Sinai was attained only through our spiritual elevation. The massive stones that I saw in the dream are meant only for the Bais Hamikdosh and not to build material structures. The other nations are focused on the material world; we are, lehavdil, focused on Hashem, Who builds all worlds and transcends those worlds.

I have often mentioned the Malbim’s commentary on a certain passage in Sefer Yechezkel Hanovi. Years ago, the illustrious Amos Bunim zt”l showed this Malbim to me, and I later used it as the introduction to my book, 2020 Vision. 

The Malbim describes how, at the end of history, Bnai Yishmael and Bnai Esav will unite against us but ultimately turn against each other and destroy each other, leading to the Geulah Shelemah.

I thought it appropriate to look at the original passage (Yechezkel 32:17-32) through the eyes of Rabbi Moshe Eisemann Shlita”h, who edited Sefer Yechezkel for the Artscroll Edition. The passage apparently describes the day on which 

  • Egypt will “drink” its third and final “cup of defeat and suffering.” 
  • The first cup was in the days of Moshe Rabbeinu, as we read in this week’s parsha; 
  • the second was at the hands of Babylonia, and 
  • the third “will be the one which Egypt will drink together with her fellow nations in Messianic times.” (Rabbi Eisemann)

This passage refers to the nations who have tried to destroy us as “arailim … uncircumcised.” The word “arail” is used to describe “one whose heart is obtuse and unreceptive to ruchnius… [and] one of the promises which Hashem made to Am Yisroel about the Messianic Era is that He will circumcise our hearts (Dvarim 30:6). Ramban explains that this means a return to the state of innocence and rectitude that had been Adam’s nature before he sinned. Sin ‘closes off’ the heart, making it unreceptive to the apprehension of ruchnius. The hallmark of the Messianic era will be the openness and receptiveness of mankind’s hearts to G-d.”

According to Rabbi Eisemann, the guilt of the nations who will be punished at the end of history is based on their attempt to close off the heart of Am Yisroel to prevent us from adhering to the will of the Ribono shel Olam. On the Day of our Redemption, “Man shall return … to [the spiritual state] he was in before the sin of the first man, when he would do by nature that which is proper ….” (Ramban on Dvarim 30:6) The terror which the “arailim” imposed on us will be transformed into yiras Shomayim … fear of Heaven, and we will once more find ourselves in Gan Eden as it was before the sin.

May we use our strength for ruchnius and soon see the Day when the great stones are raised to build the Bais Hamikdosh and Am Yisroel regains our stature as “mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh … a nation of priests and a holy nation.” (Shemos 19:6)

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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger

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