Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Teves 5761 - January 3, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Ani Hu -- I am He

By HaRav Aharon Yeshaya Roter

Part II

In the first part, HaRav Roter explained that the reason for many punishments is our failure to observe Shabbos. This includes Shabbos Bereishis, the Shabbos that we observe every seventh day, and what he calls Shabbos Ho'oretz, which we observe every seventh year. If we are being punished, it is because of these and supporting evidence of this is that the current violence began just at a Shabbos Bereishis and the beginning of the Shabbos Ho'oretz.

HaRav Roter concluded the first part with the observation that throughout the many years of exile, our ancestors lived with the constant awareness that the main thing was their repentance, and observance of Torah and mitzvos. This awareness was so strong that there were many high and important Jewish officials who preserved the traditions for they knew that it is not worthwhile to give up eternity for any blandishments of this world.

However about a hundred and fifty years ago, a group of writers calling themselves "maskilim" started to pour derisive venom on anything associated with kedushoh. With their sharp style, they were successful in attracting large numbers of followers and destroying their Yiddishkeit.

Their descendants and successors founded two separate movements: socialism, which stood for equality between employer and employee, and Zionism, which advocated removing the fetters of golus and being responsible for our own fate. The followers of the latter movement went a stage further and decided to found a new secular nation, modeled after the other nations of the world.

Socialists gave up their lives for socialism, but in the end the idols they worshiped turned against them, killing and torturing them, and eventually the whole movement collapsed on its own leaving no trace. Consider what the posuk says (Devorim 32:37): "Where are their gods, the rock in whom they trusted; who ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offering? Let him rise up and help you, let him be your protection. See now that I, even I, am He."

The Zionist movement is still around. Its followers felt that life in golus was going on for too long, and they tried to preempt the redemption by taking their fate into their own hands. After many wars they managed to set up the State of Israel, which was meant to serve as a haven for the Jewish people, where every Jew could live with a feeling of security, unlike in the Diaspora.

In practice, during the fifty years of this State's existence, in no other country in the world has the Jew felt such a lack of security, and Jews all over the world feel the same because they are associated with the State. It could be that Doniel was prophesying about this State when he said (11:14), "The children of the wicked amongst your people shall lift themselves up to establish a vision; but they shall stumble."

The Rambam writes at the end of his Iggeres Teiman, "Shlomo Hamelech, with his ruach hakodesh, knew that this nation, because of the ongoing golus, would want to bring about the redemption before its appointed time and they would perish and suffer hardships because of this. He therefore warned them not to do this, and made the nation take an oath, using an allegory: `I adjure you, O daughters of Yerushalayim!' "

Now, after a hundred years of conflict with the Arabs, the Zionist movement decided to change direction, away from war and towards peace, returning parts of our holy country and making many other concessions for the sake of "peace."

The Arabs, for their part, far from responding with a smile, have responded by declaring their desire to annihilate the whole Jewish population chas vesholom, leaving the left- wing amongst us open-mouthed and lost for words.

We, however, have not been surprised by these developments. They have forgotten the main point: there is a Creator whose name is "Sholom," and because they (the Left) are the enemies of Sholom, they are not able to make peace, as Yeshaya Hanovi said (48:22), "The wicked have no peace, says Hashem." They are busy talking about peace all the time, but "He that sits in heaven laughs, Hashem has them in derision." Of such people Yirmiyohu Hanovi says (8:11), "And they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people lightly, saying: `Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."

Our situation today may be compared to the one described in Devorim (32:25), "Outside shall the sword bereave, and in the rooms terror." Many settlements are being targeted by gunfire and even inside our homes we fear for our lives. All the Arabs, both inside and outside, have revolted, and the Jewish majority led by the prime minister watches events unfold with utter helplessness.

The View that it Just Needs More Force

A large movement has arisen claiming, "The army's hands are being tied by the political wing, let Zahal win!" In other words, if the army were given the opportunity of re- conquering towns, we would have peace and quiet in this country, because the Arabs only understand the language of force. There are some chareidim who secretly agree with this view.

What has happened to us? Do we not realize that this outlook is fundamentally flawed and shows a complete lack of faith? The Arabs are only used by Hakodosh Boruch Hu as a stick to rebuke us.

Hashem actually uses two sticks to beat us: traffic accidents and our Arab enemies. Although we suffer more in numerical terms from the former, the Arab stick hurts us more, as Yeshaya Hanovi laments (10:5), "O Ashur, the rod of My anger!" Instead of calling out to Hashem who is holding the stick, we pounce upon the stick and bite it: "Yet the people do not turn unto Him that smites them!" (ibid. 9:12).

Was the previous prime minister a bigger hero than this one? Who can forget how, over four years ago, he reacted to the riots when the Kosel tunnels were opened? At the time he was on a visit to the United States, but he came back immediately in a big panic. Reporters who were with him on the airplane remember a very tense, panic-stricken man, sweating profusely and trying all the time to contact Arafat by telephone. It must be remembered that from the day of his election he had refused to exchange even one word with him!

Then, over two days the army suffered 16 casualties at the hands of the regular Palestinian security forces. Unlike Barak, he did not bomb targets in Gaza, or cut off the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority. Instead, in return for the cessation of rioting, he rewarded Arafat with the opening of Shuada Street in Chevron and the deployment of international forces in the town. Immediately following these events he signed the Wye agreement, according to which an additional thirteen percent of territory in areas "B" and "C" were transferred to the status of area "A," which is under the control of the Authority.

Who can forget the image of the terrible accident of the helicopters [Note: When 73 were killed at once] during his premiership? Can we still have any doubts that there are many different types of sticks and ways Hashem uses to recover our debts?

I can agree that the policies of the current prime minister are wrong, and we may be sure that the following posuk from Yechezkel (34:2) applies to them: "Woe unto the shepherds of the Jewish people that have fed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep?" The leaders are feeding only themselves: they are only concerned with their own honor, and not with the good of the nation. However, we have to believe that when Hashem is upset with His people chas vesholom, he puts a blind shepherd in charge of them, and when he falls to the ground, his whole flock falls with him chas vesholom.

When we see how left-wing politicians have descended to the lowest level, having more pity for our enemies' barren vineyards than for the mutilated legs of our children, we must understand that this attitude stems from the fact that they were educated with a lack of faith. About such people Shlomo Hamelech said, "The mercy of the wicked is cruelty," and if, instead of strengthening our own emunoh, we secretly ascribe to their views, this will delay the coming of the Geuloh, chas vesholom.

The Shach, in his commentary on the Torah on the posuk (Shemos 12:39), "And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt," says that it was the erev rav that baked these cakes because they were the ones who had brought the dough out of the country. Bnei Yisroel were busy asking the Egyptians for jewelry and clothes (this is also implied by the posuk before, which says that "the people took their dough before it was leavened," and whenever it says "people," this refers to the erev rav). They baked the matzo dough, because they had been expelled, otherwise they would have leavened their dough not having been commanded not to leaven their dough. Bnei Yisroel, on the other hand, had been commanded not to leaven for seven days (because they thought that Pesach Mitzrayim was also for seven days), and there was enough dough for them and the whole nation to last until the 16th of Iyar.

"You see from here," concludes the Shach, "that if Bnei Yisroel had not eaten together with the erev rav from the same dough (which was totally kosher!), they would have had the mon descend without any complaints. This eating together created a feeling of togetherness between them and the Bnei Yisroel, resulting in several misfortunes during their time in the desert. Therefore Chazal forbade us to eat their bread."

Here we see the dire results of associating with the erev rav, how much more so must we be careful not to associate with those people who believe in "the power and the might of my hands" -- such an association would be bound to delay the coming of the Geuloh, chas vesholom.

The Netziv (in his responsa, Meshiv Dovor, Kuntrus Hashmittoh), writes, "We must realize and internalize this principle: `Just like the existence of the Jewish nation is a supernatural one, not governed by normal human criteria, so too is Eretz Yisroel different from all other countries: its existence is not based on natural criteria, but only on Hashem's Providence in accordance with the observance of his commandments, namely the separation of terumos and ma'asros, as well as the mitzva of shevi'is and others."

Let us not forget that the whole world is against us (the antisemitic agitation in the world's media may be seen as a mido keneged mido measure to pay them back for the secular agitation here against the chareidim). Eisov and his father-in-law Yishmoel have made a pact to destroy us chas vesholom, and without the support of the United States we could not survive even for two weeks.

Our relationship to the world's superpower may be compared to that of a child and his mother. The child builds pyramids with his Lego, and then his mother comes and tells him that he has played enough because it is time to go to sleep. His fancy buildings are actually flimsy, powerless structures. How then, can we shout, "Give Zahal a chance to win?"

Hashem has surrounded His people with enemies. In the plague of frogs Hashem commanded them to go into the ovens and be burnt. Similarly, a large movement has arisen amongst the Arabs of people wanting to commit suicide. These people want to sweep us out of this country chas vesholom. Does the army have any answers to these maniacs? The deterrent capabilities of the State of Israel are as nothing compared to the threat of madmen willing to die for the sake of their foolish beliefs.

Zionism, which always stood for "taking our fate into our own hands," is collapsing. After the bomb explosion in Chadera, when everybody was running around shouting at each other, someone courageous should have gotten up and declared, "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill and I make alive; I have wounded and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand" )Devorim 32:30(.

No Alternative to Which Peace?

When Barak declares pathetically that "there is no alternative to peace," my reply is that it is true that peace is the only alternative, but not the "peace" that he is pursuing, running away from everywhere towards his "secular revolution." Chazal have told us that flight is the beginning of a fall. We have to run in the direction of Hakodosh Boruch Hu Whose name is peace. Only then will He make peace for us and the whole Jewish people.

We must constantly remind ourselves of the words of the prophet Hoshea: "Ashur will not save us; we will not ride upon horses, neither will we call any more the work of our hands our gods; for in You the fatherless finds mercy." We, in our situation today really are orphans, and only Hashem will have pity on us.

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