The Parsha and Current Events:
Coincidence is G-d's way of running the world incognito
Discernment, insight, and conscious awareness are the adhesives that bind the building blocks of Judaism.
They are the everyday qualities necessary for a Jew, but they gain prominence in two issues we face in Parashat Ki Tavo and the approaching “Days of Awe” of judgement and teshuva.
The parasha begins with the mitzva of Bikurim, where the grower of any of the seven fruits indigenous to Eretz Yisrael brings a sampling to the Bet Hamikdash, and while standing before the holy altar, consciously declares: ”... I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us... So, the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the first fruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.”
The Jew, so tied to the land and his history, acknowledges the truth of our historical past and is aware of the fact that everything good in his life is the result of Hashem’s blessings to the nation and to himself personally.
Indeed! Discernment, insight, and conscious awareness.
These same qualities are essential in the three-stage teshuva process which our rabbis have laid down for us. Acknowledgment of the sin, Regret, Resolution never to repeat the misdeeds of yesterday.
Acknowledgment is founded on one’s discernment, insight, and conscious awareness that he has sinned, for without acknowledgment of one’s failures it would not be possible to draw oneself closer to the Creator.
Regret does not mean that one lies to Hashem by saying that the prohibited experience was without pleasure. It means that the sinner states that he regrets angering and disappointing his Creator by trespassing on the mitzvot that define a Jew.
Resolution not to repeat the sins of the past, and not to fall prey to any provocations to sin in the future.
As stated, the bearer of Bikurim acknowledges his history and birthright as a member of Hashem’s chosen people; his nation’s history of exile, servitude and redemption by Hashem, and his birthright stemming from Hashem’s promise to Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov to be the sole possessors of Hashem’s holy land.
- An observant Jew living in the exile today conveniently escapes the necessity to discern, be insightful, and be consciously aware of the changes that Hashem has brought upon our nation through the advent of Medinat Yisrael. The call of the rebbe in his local shtiebel to stay put until the Mashiach sends a flying carpet for him, is more salient than all the miracles that Hashem’s performs here in Eretz Yisrael daily. Incredible!
- The tool of the Yetzer Hara (evil instinct) in the galut is to cloud a Jew’s clarity of thought by diverting his attention to the secondary fleeting aspects of the Medina, while blinding him and his spiritual leaders to the great broad strokes of redemption that are now reverberating in our lives.
1 Hashem is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of Hashem, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 Hashem is within her, she will not fall; Hashem will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the Hashem of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations He has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am Hashem; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
So far this year, over 140 million people across 37 Muslim countries are in need of humanitarian aid.
In the past few days, more than 1,200 people have been killed, and the lives of some 40 million others turned upside down, by torrential rain in northern India, southern Nepal, northern Bangladesh and southern Pakistan.
In Yemen, the site of a proxy war that began in March 2015, 10,000 people have been killed, with 7 million made homeless. Cholera has already killed 2,000 people and infected more than 540,000.
In Syria, Bashar al-Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of his own people, more than Iraq’s Saddam ever did.
North Korea conducts a hydrogen nuclear test resulting in a tremor of 6.3 magnitude, and threatens the United States.
Sinkholes, tsunamis, volcanoes, wildfires like the ones now blazing in LA which are considered to be the most devastating fires in its history. And the list continues*.
In light of the above, the flooding of Houston, Texas alongside the havoc wreaked in other parts of the world, is minor.
King David states in Tehillim 46 regarding Hashem’s chosen people in Eretz Yisrael:
“Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging...Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the Hashem of Jacob is our fortress.
One might say that what is occurring today is an interesting coincidence. However, we must understand that coincidence is Hashem’s way of controlling the world while remaining anonymous.
It appears that the time has arrived when Hashem has begun to mete out our long-awaited call for punishment for all those who perpetrated great injustices to the Jewish nation. Not only against those who methodically murdered our brothers and sisters, but also against those who could have saved Jewish lives, but refused to do so. Against those who could have bombed the camps in Europe, or at the least the rail tracks that facilitated the arrival of the Jews to the camps; but did not do so even once. And those nations that closed the doors to the holy land, and turned the escaping Jews back to the Gehennom of Europe.
Europe is rotting from within by the Moslems that metastasize into every town and neighborhood. The United States is undergoing the many socio-economic cleavage lines which will in time permanently divide the union.
I have previously stated my belief that the Shoah was not a heavenly decree against the Jewish people. It was a decree made by Hashem, and put into effect with the first world war, that the evil descendants of Aisav (Esau) should put an end to one another. Russians should kill Germans, and Germans the English, and the English should kill Austrians, etc. The second world war was a continuation of the first, after an extended cease fire. We were turned into soap because the leash on insanity was released and the Jews were caught up in it **BECAUSE WE WERE THERE! And we were there because we did not understand that when Aisav kills Aisav, it is no place for Ya’akov to be.
If indeed, Hashem has begun to punish those who have perpetrated great injustices to the Jewish nation, and immoral peoples the world over; the only safe haven for a Jew is here in Eretz Yisrael.
- Chazal state that “natural” disasters are a result of immoral behavior. That when people act in unnatural ways, nature revolts by breaking the bounds placed on it by the Creator.
The warnings are out there, and have been since the creation of the Medina. The call is clear for all who wish to hear Jewish truth. The exile is over, and the Jews who do not return home may suffer the fate of their gentile neighbors.
Rabbi Nachman Kahana is an Orthodox Rabbinic Scholar, Rav of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, and Author of the 14-volume “Mei Menuchot” series on Tosefot, “With All Your Might: The Torah of Eretz Yisrael in the Weekly Parashah”, as well as weekly parasha commentary available where he blogs at http://NachmanKahana.com
*Of course, the above includes IRMA (as one of the Heavenly Plagues: The Pouring Forth of Plagues of Submersion … (I think ‘submission’ might go well here), not mentioned above perhaps in lieu of a future article.
**Note to “Because we were there!”. To be fair, it was nearly impossible for those Torah observant Jews caught in WWII to have afforded a quick escape, even if they knew what was about to happen to them; or an evacuation to a safe haven because most of the European states/countries around the poor people were also doomed in WWII, as the author describes.
An alternative Torah opinion is expressed in A Divine Madness by Rabbi Avigdor Miller.