Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

23 Kislev 5761 - December 20, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Different Types of Golus

We have suffered a very long golus and it is certainly not over yet. We know that there were and are four major aspects to the golus throughout the years, based on the vision in Doniel (7).

Chanukah, when we experienced such great wonders and miracles, was within the third golus, that of Yovon. It was difficult. The Greeks launched an all-out assault on Klal Yisroel, "and did not let them pursue Torah and mitzvos. And they grabbed their money and their daughters and entered the Sanctuary and made breaches there and defiled all the pure things. And they oppressed Yisroel and put them under tremendous pressure until the G-d of our fathers had mercy on them and helped them and saved them" (Rambam, Hilchos Chanukah, 3:1).

The oppression of the Greeks was very difficult, but it is understandable. The Greeks had their ideology (an ideology that has the enthusiastic endorsement of the yetzer hora) and they wanted it to be dominant. They realized that the Torah was not compatible with their ideology and moreover was a great threat to it, so they tried to stop the Torah. They made it illegal to study Torah and to practice it. They also were interested in Jewish money and daughters for the same reasons that so many people are interested in these elements -- again with the enthusiastic backing of the yetzer hora.

The fourth golus, identified with Eisov, is quite different. It is "different from all the others" and "fearsome, frightening and tremendously powerful" (Doniel 7:7).

This fourth golus is identified with Eisov, and HaRav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch describes the feeling of Yaakov as he has to face Eisov (Bereishis 32:8). Our lives and our fortunes are dependent on the whims of another, who cares nothing about our happiness and our benefit. For us, we are given over to a tyrant whose motives and behavior is inscrutable. Yaakov can do no more than offer a gift, pray to Hashem and humble himself before Eisov, hoping that in the end Eisov will kiss him rather than bite him or worse. He does not in fact know until the meeting itself what Eisov will do, and even Eisov himself probably does not know in advance what he will do.

There are no laws, and no reason. Eisov does not have specific grievances that Yaakov can redress and thereby win his pardon. It is blind, heartless, hateful opposition. If Eisov kisses Yaakov at one meeting, it does not mean that the next meeting will turn out as well.

It is in this condition that we find ourselves, "for hundreds of years facing the nations of Eisov. This is the condition that is called in the Tochochoh: Chamas Keri (Vayikro 26:28) -- wanton chance." (HaRav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch on Bereishis 32:8)

In our time of Ikvesa deMeshicha, increasingly over the past century and especially since the end of the Second World War, the Jewish People have been in regimes in which this traditional Eisov approach has been abandoned. Especially in America, but spreading throughout the world, societies have followed laws that apply equally to all citizens and people, the actions of states follow rules and are the obvious results of rational decision making.

Now, suddenly, since Erev Rosh Hashana, we have faced Chamas Keri again -- albeit propagated by Yishmoel and not Eisov. The current Arab intifadah has no clear goals and there is nothing that we can do to end it. (Israeli leaders would certainly have done it, if they knew that something could stop the violence.) Although most Jewish residents of Eretz Yisroel are not directly involved in the terrible events, yet all feel the threat and the connection.

May we too be worthy of being saved as our forefathers were. "Reveal Your holy arm and bring the final salvation near . . . "

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