Anyone who takes the trouble to consider history and the
events we are currently experiencing from a deeper
perspective, will discover that our situation today in
Eretz Yisroel is better than at any time since the
State was founded. We have a prime minister, a leading army
personality in the past, fighting a war against the
Palestinians in a clumsy and helpless way, as if he were the
"sergeant-major" of a kitchen. Arab children throw petrol
bombs at Jews, and their youths shoot at us with guns,
whereas the Israeli army withholds fire and abandons its
We have reached the situation where we have absolutely
nothing left to lean upon; everyone is filled with fear and
despair. As I see it, this situation is the best we have
found ourselves in since the Jewish people started building
up its State. Why?
Upon entering Eretz Yisroel we were commanded to "set
up a king over you." Accordingly, the people went up to
Shmuel Hanovi and said to him, "Give us a king."
"But the thing displeased Shmuel." Why?
Hashem told Shmuel, "Listen to the voice of the people, for
they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that
I should not be king over them."
The Kli Yokor asks why the request of the Jewish people to
fulfill one of the mitzvos of the Torah was interpreted by
Hashem as a rejection of Him. He says that the people had
been commanded to "set up a king over you," but their
request here was, "give us a king." There is a fundamental
difference between the command and the request.
Hashem abhors the human urge to possess, to own, because
when a person feels that he is the boss, he rejects
Hakodosh Boruch Hu. "Set up a king over you," implies
the acceptance of ol malchus Shomayim. "Give us a
king" implies my king -- "My" lawyer, "my" rebbe, "my"
party, "don't touch my son": "I am in charge!"
I am sometimes invited by some people known for their
hospitality. My host stands over all the guests, making sure
that they eat properly. Sometimes I have the feeling that I
have to eat, because if I do not, my host will be offended.
"You are `my' guest." I say, "Thank you, I am full." He
insists that I eat, otherwise he will be offended. And so I
force myself to eat, since my host has me under his control.
"You are my guest" -- "I am in charge!"
The establishment of the State of Israel was fiercely
opposed by the gedolim for two reasons:
1. Because the state was established only in order to uproot
the Torah. If the Torah would never have been given to us,
the Zionist leaders would never have dreamt of establishing
a State. (This refers to the philosophy of the left). 2. The
essence of the State is founded on a philosophy of "I am in
charge," which leaves no room for Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
(This refers to the philosophy of the left, the right, and
even to some extent the national-religious).
The Diaspora Jew of pre-State days is called galuti.
He is depicted as a man who works hard to make a living and
when he comes to the poritz to ask for his wages, the
rosho makes the Jew dance around him and kiss his
feet in front of his friends. This scene is meant to be very
demeaning for the "ghetto" Jew. The poritz throws the
Jew some coins while he makes him lick his feet. The Jew
"crawls on all fours" to the merriment of the gentile
onlookers just to get his daily bread. After this ordeal, he
goes home, opens the gemora, and finally feels a deep
sense of relief and satisfaction as he converses with His
Father via the daf until he falls asleep.
Did this "golus-Jew" feel humiliated while being forced to
dance before the poritz and his friends in order to
be able to support his family? The answer is a definite
From the time the Torah was given until the establishment of
the State of Israel, the Jew looked at the goy (or at
least at those who persecuted them like that) the same way
we look today at a dog or a cat. Nobody would feel demeaned
at having to dance in front of a dog in order not to be
bitten by him. Only a fool would fight a pack of fierce dogs
who are out for his blood.
This is what a Jew felt after having being forced to dance
for the poritz. The holy Torah was his whole life and
he paid no attention to the goy.
The founders of the State wanted to create a new type of
Jew, different from the "galuti" one: a proud Jew! A
Jew who would rather die than lick the goy's feet.
Their aim was to win the admiration and respect of the non-
Jewish world. As a result, they formulated a new philosophy
according to which there was no greater "sanctification of
the divine name" than the victory of an Israeli football or
basketball team in the World Cup, or the fact that the
Israeli army was the "strongest" one in the world.
Up until recent times, the goy was considered
insignificant, so that it did not bother the Jew to have to
lick his feet. Today the new Israeli Jews are out to impress
the goy, and force him to grant us recognition and
respect. The greatest happiness for an Israeli is to receive
some certificate of approval or sign of admiration from the
poritzim of today.
The galuti Jew feels that besides the Torah and his
siddur he has nothing. The "Zionist" Jew feels that
without his national pride, his army, and his popularity
with the goyim, he has nothing.
@Big Let Body=Holocaust Remembrance Day was fixed by the
"leaders of the State" on the 27th of Nisan, the day of the
Warsaw Ghetto uprising. This day was chosen by the Zionists
as a sign of protest against those galuti Jews who
had been killed without any resistance on their part "as
sheep going to the slaughter." A Jew, according to them, had
to be proud of the Warsaw Ghetto heroes who demonstrated
such self- sacrifice in fighting to the last man.
I do not know if anything constructive came out of the
uprising. The rebels did kill thirteen Nazis, but they did
not manage to halt the machinery of death in Europe. It is
possible that if there would have been no uprising, some
"rebels" would have survived for another few months, and
some might even have survived the whole war.
In the opinion of the leaders of the State of Israel, it is
preferable to be slaughtered by the Nazis and to die a
hero's death than to survive as a coward. The Warsaw Ghetto
uprising is looked upon as a watershed in Jewish Diaspora
history; its heroes taken as symbols of the "new" Jew, the
antithesis of the old galuti type. "I am in
@Big Let Body=The election of Menachem Begin as prime
minister was the cause of much satisfaction to many
religious voters. The Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Shach
shlita, on the other hand, spoke out against his
arrogant nationalism and his philosophy of "the might and
the power of my hand." What disturbed the Rosh Yeshiva most
was the admiration felt for him by the people who had voted
him into power, including some of the chareidim.
We should prefer to have a clumsy prime minister with a weak
army, rather than an adored one with a strong army. That way
every citizen would realize what was taken for granted by
every galuti Jew of pre-State days: we only have our
Father in Heaven to lean upon.
This idea that Tzahal watches over us guided by Hashem, with
the prime minister conducting the affairs of state with
wisdom and discernment, is nothing but a delusion!
Many years ago I heard in the name of HaRav Yechezkel
Levenstein zt"l that many bnei Torah are
infected with the kefirah of Yom Haatzmaut. The
atmosphere of "independence" affected them in that they
unknowingly developed a desire to discard the feeling of
dependence on their Father in Heaven -- an "oppressive"
feeling -- in favor of a feeling of independence. This new
atmosphere resulted in yeshiva students lacking that
deference and subordination to their rabbonim which
characterized the golus Jew. Even their singing and
dancing had acquired a different quality.
I never really understood this point until a friend told me
about his trip with his young children to the Diaspora
Museum in Tel Aviv. He related how, on the second floor,
they saw color photographs of Jewish children who were later
killed in the Holocaust Hy"d. They had sweet, radiant
faces, but there was a noticeable fear and sadness in their
eyes. However, beyond that look you were struck with the
piercing purity of their soul.
On the first floor they watched a short movie which showed
an Israeli military parade which had taken place twenty
years earlier on Yom Haatzmaut. My friend remembered how in
his youth he had watched these parades in Yerushalayim. It
was then an amazing experience for a teenager like him from
a Mizrachi home to see the pride on the faces of the Army,
"the guardian of Israel."
Now he is looking at the last parade held in Israel in 5719
(1959). The soldiers are wearing red berets, the symbol of
the paratroopers, their heads held high, marching along.
They can be heard singing native Israeli songs brimming with
confidence: "We shall build up our country, our homeland!"
How proud the onlookers are of "the guardians of Israel!"
The message of these events may be summarized as: "A new
type of Jew has come to our country! Zionism has given birth
to a new son of Avrohom Ovinu. He may be secular, but he is
`nationalistic' and `proud.'
Next you see the "national-religious" Nachal corps marching
along, their heads held as high as their secular friends. We
cannot help but ascribe to them the posuk, "He will
drink of the brook (nachal) in the way; therefore
will he lift up the head." They too sing the same patriotic
songs. Through all the hullabaloo, the message is clear:
"With the help of Hashem, we will manage -- without You,"
Rachmono litzlan. The whole Torah and all the mitzvos
are "illuminated" by the light of nationalism. The
galuti and "dark" Torah of the Yeshivos belongs to
the past. It is a leftover of a bygone era when Jews used to
lick the feet of the poritz. This is a "new
generation" with a "new Torah." It is the "aschalta
degeula!" We are here!
Would they listen to a rational demonstration of their
terribly distorted views? The arrogance of the Zionist
education makes its victims deaf and blind. They feel
superior to "Diaspora Jews" such as Abaye and Rovo. Could
they ever appreciate what it is like to live as a
galuti Jew who trusts and leans absolutely upon his
Father in Heaven? They do pay lip service to topics related
to emunoh and their "Jewish philosophy" classes are
full of it, but they are very far from a genuine feeling for
the light of the Torah and closeness to Hashem. Their
emunoh is that of a baal ga'ava who receives a
deep sense of satisfaction from the greatness of his
handiwork. Is there a chance that such people can repent? In
order to repent, you need to have some realization of having
sinned. Who can unmask the Zionist fraud? "They have not
rejected you, but they have rejected Me."
"Give us a king!"
I have another friend who received a religious Zionist
education. He tells me that since he entered the Torah
world, he has been in conflict with his uncle, who is an
important rov of the national-religious camp. My friend
never knew how to explain to his beloved uncle why bnei
Torah have such a strong opposition to Zionism in
general and to religious Zionism in particular.
One Pesach he went to visit this uncle, and found him
looking affectionately at photos of his young grandchildren.
In his room there were two photos on a shelf. One was of his
chareidi grandchildren, the other one of the Mizrachi
There was a third photo in a magazine of some sweet non-
Jewish children with beautiful faces. My friend went up to
his uncle who was looking at the photos of his grandchildren
and asked him, "What is the difference between the photo of
the children in the magazine and this one of your
grandchildren?" his finger pointing to the photo of the
His uncle replied, "These are Jewish children with intense
Jewish faces, whereas those are just some Swiss non-Jewish
My friend then pointed to the photo of his national-
religious grandchildren, and asked, "Who do these resemble
more, the children in the magazine or your chareidi
The rov thought for a moment and said nothing. He was
shocked by the question, which he seemed to find difficult
to answer. Finally, he replied, "They are something else,
they're somewhere in the middle."
My friend demurred: "I don't agree with you. I think that
they were born the same as these children," pointing to the
chareidi grandchildren, "but they tried to turn them into
the same sort of children as those in the magazine. They
didn't manage! And so something new came out of them, they
are children sui generis."
"You know what, I think you've hit the hammer on the nail!"
His eyes lit up, and after thinking for a while, he added,
"Now I understand your opposition to the national-religious
@Big Let Body=Since the day the Beis Hamikdosh was
destroyed, the gates of prayer have been sealed, but
although the gates of prayer have been sealed, the gates of
tears have not."
The language of golus is tears. Tears come to a
person when he recognizes that he is not in charge, and that
everything is in the hands of Heaven. The Zionists wanted to
do away with our tears.
The Six Day War strengthened the belief of the religious
Zionists that Hakodosh Boruch Hu was helping the
Zionist sabras. The near disaster of the Yom Kippur War made
them think again, but they still managed to come up with far-
fetched explanations (see the book, Hamaalot
Mima'amakim by Amital). The Gulf War, during which the
army's hands were tied, also did not do much to boost the
self-confidence of the aschalta degeula camp.
Today, when we see a prime minister, a former army chief of
staff, behaving like a very fragile, vulnerable ruler,
trembling from the Palestinians, and the Israeli army
beginning to look like a paper tiger, everybody is beginning
to realize the great miracle that is taking place here in
Eretz Yisroel: the fact that the Arabs are not
slaughtering all of us Rachmono litzlan, and only
little children provoke officers somewhere in Yehuda,
Shomron and Aza. Slowly but surely everybody is beginning to
realize that the "Zionist" doctrine is collapsing, and we
all have to become frightened galuti Jews once again.
A Jew who is proud of his fears, who sees the goy as
a mere dog, and not as someone that he has to impress.
@Big Let Body=In the Shiras Hayom it says that some
Egyptians "sank as lead in the mighty waters," others "went
down into the depths like a stone," and yet others were
consumed "as stubble."
Rashi comments that the best amongst the reshoim died
a quick death: they sank as lead. The ones of medium
character went down like stone, and the most wicked went
down like stubble: they were made to go up and down, and die
a slow, painful death. We usually take this to mean that
each Egyptian received a punishment commensurate with his
behavior, but this is not what Rashi is coming to tell
Hakodosh Boruch Hu is a compassionate and loving G-d.
In His great mercy, He wanted every living being, including
the Egyptians, to recognize before his death that Hashem
rules the world, thereby achieving its tikkun. The
traits of pride and arrogance prevent a person from
recognizing Hashem, but as soon as he receives a severe
punishment, such as the makko of an Egyptian drowning
in the sea, his pride disappears and it becomes easy for him
to believe in Hashem. Therefore, the least wicked amongst
the Egyptians recognized Hashem immediately, and they had
the merit of dying as soon as they had this recognition,
because they had already thereby achieved their
tikkun. Since their recognition came so quickly, they
sank as "lead."
The ones in the medium category were more stubborn, they did
not give in so easily, and needed to be thrust up and down
several times until they recognized Hashem's sovereignty.
They sank like a stone. The most obstinate amongst them, who
had decided to fight Hashem with all their strength had to
be hurled in the water like stubble, hundreds and thousands
of times, until their pride broke and they completed their
tikkun. Punishment and suffering educate and uplift
the sufferer. There is no other way.
Many times when we see a righteous person lying in bed
racked with pain, we cannot understand what the purpose of
his suffering is. After all, he is unable to learn Torah,
keep mitzvos or pray. However, we have to understand that
suffering humbles everybody, and makes it easier for the
sufferer to become submissive and closer to Hashem.
@Big Let Body=Just before the Six Day War broke out, mori
verabi, HaRav Yissochor Mayer of Netivot said that he
was sure that the Jewish nation would be saved. He recalled
the message of the Chazon Ish before the War of
Independence. He explained that the reason for the terrible
punishment meted out during the Holocaust years was our
great indifference to Hitler's y"sh threats against
the Jews. The Jewish people during that period said, "I
shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my
heart" (Devorim 29:18). When the Jewish people are
apathetic, and do not engage in introspection and become
submissive, Hashem certainly does not forgive them.
By way of contrast, before the outbreak of the War of
Independence, the Jewish population in Eretz Yisroel
was in a state of fear. Nobody relied on his own strength
and that was why we were saved.
Similarly, just before the outbreak of the Six Day War,
HaRav Yissochor Mayer said that people were petrified of the
danger from the Egyptian army, and when we are afraid, we
rely on the Creator, Who saves us. Before the outbreak of
the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli public was indifferent. The
government had promised that after the elections there would
be "civil marriages," "drafting girls into the army" and
"drafting yeshiva students." If the war had not broken out
on the day our sins are atoned for, who knows?
During the current period, the public is beginning to see
its idols for what they are: the army, the government of
Israel, aschalta degeula. Everybody feels that we are
facing the danger of destruction R"l. There is no
time that we are closer to Hashem than when we have this
feeling of idols being smashed.
Since we were expelled from our country, that was always how
Hashem dealt with us. Every two hundred years or so, when
our sins became too much, Hashem sent an enemy from "the
north," and because of His great mercy we always found
somewhere to run away to in "the south." Now, for the first
time in history, there is nowhere to run to. Antisemitism is
everywhere. And when there is nowhere to run, we run towards
There is a tradition in the name of the Chazon Ish that
before Moshiach comes, four-fifths of the Jewish
people will perish, and only a fifth will survive (based on
"the Bnei Yisroel went up armed [chamushim --
can also be read as "one fifth" -- see Rashi] out of the
land of Egypt"). Tzaddikim will have the merit of
being amongst this fifth. A tzaddik is someone who
strives to serve Hashem properly, who knows how to grow in
Torah, and understands that there is nothing as important as
Chazal have assured us that during the ikvesa
demeshicha every person who deals in Torah and
chesed will be saved. We must wake up from our
slumber! We have to learn Torah and run to do
We must appreciate the fact that in the current situation of
"the uncovering of idols," when we still have something to
eat and the enemy has not yet sharpened his sword -- how
much love the compassionate and merciful Creator bestows
upon us! Let us wake up and make the most of every moment of
life to serve Him.
The stories of suffering during our history in the Diaspora
frighten us. We have become spoiled. But now "my beloved
knocks," the great moment has arrived.
"We can't cope with it." "This is not for us."
Hashem in His compassion and love is about to bring
Moshiach. It is difficult to welcome Melech
Hamoshiach, but Hashem in His kindness will assist
whoever wants to succeed. The main thing is to have a clear
outlook of "one thing have I asked of Hashem, that I will
HaRav Boruch Medan is rosh yeshiva of Bircas
Yosef, Kiryat Herzog.