Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Adar 5761 - March 21, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Bid Yerushalayim take Heart

by L. J.

Three months ago a huge demonstration took place outside the walls of the old city under the banner of "I pledge allegiance to Jerusalem." When it comes to the topic of Yerushalayim, anti-religious politicians suddenly become favorably disposed towards tradition and religion. However, for them it is not so much a matter of holy Jerusalem as Jerusalem of Gold!

Rav Mordechai Dov Edelberg zt"l was a very talented speaker in Russian communities before the Second World War. People thronged to hear this gaon and tzaddik speak. He used his platform and large audiences to convey his response to the inroads that were being made into Yiddishkeit. Some of his droshos have been published in Chazon Lamoed. In one of them, we see him dealing with this issue of political parties exploiting the names "Zion" and "Jerusalem" for purposes very far removed from everything Yerushalayim stands for. We reproduce his words, because of their relevance to our day:

"In addition to the terrible deterioration in religious standards which has been so painful to witness, we have made Eretz Yisroel into a political issue. We have stripped our holy country of all its holiness and nobility and use it for all sorts of secular purposes. It has become a ball in our hands.

"Let me illustrate our situation by citing an incident I heard about a father and his two sons in America. The two sons took their father to a rov for a din Torah. They were the plaintiffs and the father the defendant. Their complaint was a source of amazement to anyone who heard it. They claimed that they had brought their father over to America at the age of sixty and supported him honorably. One morning the father had got up and shaved off his beard. How, they complained, could a man in the last third of his life shave off his beard?

"The father kept quiet for a long time, but eventually responded to their accusations: `I admit that I did it. I shaved off my beard with scissors in my old age, but I must divulge the reason for my action to the rov: these sons of mine are butchers. As far as their customers are concerned, they sell kosher meat. But they did not bring me here to work for them so that I might be supported honorably in my old age. I was only brought over for public relations purposes. Since I have a beard, and look like a G-d-fearing Jew on the exterior, I attract customers and give them confidence in the products.

"`However, in the course of my stay here, I was devastated to discover that they had started dealing in non-kosher meat and were selling it as kosher meat. I was unable to raise a protest because they pay no attention whatsoever to my heartfelt pleas, nor are they afraid that I would give their fraud away to the rabbinical authorities. I realized that I was becoming a big stumbling block because everybody passing the shop saw amongst the sellers a Jew of the old type with a big beard and had no idea that they were being sold neveilos vetreifos. I therefore saw no other way out of this terrible situation than to shave off my beard with a pair of scissors rather then chas vesholom cause people to sin in this shop!'

"A large part of our generation is to be compared to those sons. They desecrate Shabbos in public and eat treifos under the cloak of Eretz Yisroel. They think that the slogan Eretz Yisroel gives them a license to trample arrogantly and contemptuously on everything that is holy and dear us. Eretz Yisroel serves the same purpose for them as the father in that din Torah did for the corrupted sons. It inflames the fires of machlokes between the various parties, all for material purposes. What has happened to the kedushoh and nobility of our holy city?

"Look at the current situation, at all the destruction wrought by the Arabs in our holy country. We can see how all the politics led to nothing, and all the efforts were in vain. The key to the "natural redemption" (as their false world view calls it) has been handed from party to party, each one accusing the other of betrayal of their cause. The lesson to be derived from this, is that these events must have happened in order to spur us into handing the keys over to Hakodosh Boruch Hu and saying, `Since we have not been faithful trustees, let these keys be only in Your control!'

"As Chazal tell us in maseches Taanis: `When the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed, there was a gathering of many sects of young kohanim holding the keys to the heichal. They went up to the roof of the heichal and said to Him, `Ribono Shel Olom, since we have not been faithful trustees, let these keys be handed to You,' and they threw them heavenward. Something resembling the palm of a hand emerged and took the keys.' Everyone said that only through his party would Yehuda and Yerushalayim be saved. When they realized that the situation was hopeless, `many sects' of groups and parties assembled, and admitted in front of the whole world that they had no natural means of salvation and that they were totally dependant on the Creator. They therefore decided to hand the keys to Him and accept His Will humbly. When this happened, the palm of a hand came out and received the keys from them."

We also hope that everyone will get together to pray for the rebuilding of Yerushalayim and the establishment of the Kingdom of Beis Dovid. That will be the true salvation of Yerushalayim. May it be soon.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.