BEGINNING OF REDEMPTION

"The sole purpose of all the blows that we have received is to arouse us to return to our Holy Land." HaRav Yisachar Shlomo Teiichtal 

Beginning of Redemption

[The following is Chapter Nine of the book “Rise from the Dust” by Rabbi Tzvi Glatt, may Hashem avenge his murder. The book is a scholarly treatise explaining the role of Eretz Yisrael in the Redemption of Israel, in Halachah and Hashkafah. The book was translated by Rabbi Moshe D. Lichtman, an expert on the subject of Israel’s Redemption whose writings can be found at https://toratzion.com/] His translations include:

   

   “Rise from the Dust”

Chapter Nine

            Who performed and did [this]?  He Who declared the generations from the beginning; I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last [ones] I am He (Yeshayah 41:4).

Amidst all of these troubles and terrible afflictions – amidst the most horrific “blood, fire, and pillars of smoke” that we have experienced since becoming a nation – amidst all that, the Jewish people rose up and came back to life!

Over three hundred years ago, the holy author of Or HaChayim[1] described how Israel’s redemption would unfold:

The redemption will occur when [the righteous] will stir people’s hearts and say to them, “Is it good for you to dwell outside, exiled from your Father’s table?”… until [the people] improve their ways.  Then HaShem will redeem that which He sold [i.e. the Temple].  All the masters of the land, the great religious leaders of Israel, will eventually suffer the consequences for this [for not arousing the people to redemption].  HaShem will avenge the insult to the wretched Temple.

What will happen if Israel does not arouse itself to redemption?  The Or HaChayim answers:

When no one takes [this matter] to heart, when there is no one to guide, no one to hold the Jewish nation by the hand and bring it back to its Father… afflictions and [harsh] exile act as the nation’s rectification, to make it fitting [for redemption]…  HaShem’s attribute of strength strikes the nation in its bitter exile, thus achieving [sufficient merit] to be able to redeem the Temple…  And if the Master sees that the people do not have enough strength to tolerate any more blows, but their debt [of sin] has piled up very high… Then his sale shall remain until the Jubilee year (VaYikra 25:28).  This refers to the predetermined time of the “in its time” redemption.[2]  Then, it shall go out in the Jubilee Year and return to his possession (ibid.), for the exile will [eventually] end, even if the Jewish people are completely wicked, God forbid.[3]

Rav Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal concurs:

The sole purpose of all the blows that we have received is to arouse us to return to our Holy Land.  I heard a beautiful idea on this concept in the name of the brilliant and holy man of God, our mentor R. Bunim of Peshischa.  He explains… as follows:

When acquiring an animal, there are two types of meshichah [a means of acquisition by way of pulling].[4]  The first is when the purchaser calls the animal and it follows him.  The second is when he strikes it with a stick and it runs before him…

We are in the same position before the Holy One Blessed be He regarding the call to return to Eretz Yisrael.  If we heed God’s voice that calls us to return to our Land, then we will personify the aspect of meshichah by way of calling.  We will not suffer any pain or afflictions.  Rather, we will go eagerly without any external coercion.  HaShem will lead us and we will follow.  If, however, we do not strive to return to our Land willingly, and we wait until the staff comes and strikes us, the meshichah will be in the form of hitting…  We will suffer the agony and pain of the staff of our enemies until they force us to run before HaShem to Eretz Yisrael[5]

The bones are coming together.  The Jewish nation has come back to life in the State of Israel.  The Land, which remained loyal to us after we left it desolate and lonely,[6] is welcoming us cheerfully, giving forth its fruit in abundance.[7]  When the State was established, 600,000 Jews lived in Israel (as required).[8]  Today, we have grown and expanded, both physically and spiritually.  Eretz Yisrael has become the center of the Jewish nation in all areas.  The status of Torah in the Land is a faithful testimony to the realization of the prophet’s words: Behold, days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine in the Land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).  Waves upon waves of Torah Jews, as well as those seeking to repent, have become a regular part of our existence.

The trouble is that in the middle of all this, we forgot about all “our Jewish brethren, who are in distress and captivity.”[9]  We forgot that the redemption of Am Yisrael depends on the return of our brethren to our Land.[10]

We are taking care of the Torah of Israel and its study; we are looking after the Land of Israel and its settlement (of course, these also need strengthening); but we are neglecting the People of Israel – our brethren who are living exiled from their Father’s table.  Most of our people in the Diaspora are actually assimilating.  Can we say unrepentantly and confidently, Our hands did not spill this blood?

The dreadful exile continues.  How can we stop it?

We the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael, especially the Torah Jews of the Land, have a mission, as R. Alcalay writes:

If the sages of Eretz Yisrael do not resolve to turn the children’s hearts back to their fathers, to bring satisfaction to our holy Patriarchs who [rest] in Me’arat HaMachpeilah,[11] they will pine away in their iniquity.  For due to them, Israel will remain one of a city and two of a family, a poor and destitute people.”[12]

We must remember, “There is justice and there is a Judge.”  And if this time, as well – after we have already begun to open the door, as behooves us – we slack off and neglect our obligation, we will have to account for our deeds before the Master of the Universe, Judge of all the earth.  He will take retribution on us for the sake of “the wretched Temple.”[13]

Let us engrave on the tablets of our hearts and put into practice the words of our great mentor, rabbi of all of Israel, our master, Rav Kook zt”l:

By strengthening the Yishuv and increasing the number of Jews in the Holy Land, the redemption will come sooner.  For it is clear that the redemption depends on increasing the amount of our fellow Jews, the holy people, in the Holy Land…  The more the redeemed ones return, the more supernal blessing we will receive to hasten the redemption.[14]

Amen.

[1] Rabbeinu Chayim ben Atar, who lived in Jerusalem at the time.

[2] According to our Sages z”l (Sanhedrin 98a), redemption can come in one of two ways: 1) “I will hasten it” (Yeshayah 60:22) – if we all return to God wholeheartedly, He will redeem us immediately.  2) “In its time” (ibid.) – if we are unworthy of redemption, because of our misdeeds, HaShem will nonetheless redeem us at a predetermined time.

[3] Or HaChayim, VaYikra 25:25-28.  See the entire piece inside.  See also the Vilna Gaon’s comment, quoted above, p. 34.

[4] See Kiddushin 22b.

[5] Eim HaBanim Semeichah, pp. 121-22.

[6] See above, p. 32, note 1.

[7] See R. Abba’s statement in Sanhedrin 98a (with Rashi).

[8] See Kol HaTor 1:15.  Rav Kook writes in Olat Re’iyah (vol. 1, p. 388): “When the population in Eretz Yisrael will be the proper amount – 600,000 – there will be a flourishing of the pride of Ya’akov.  See also Rabbeinu Bachya on BeReishit 46:27.

[9] From a prayer recited after the Torah reading on Mondays and Thursdays.

[10] See below, note 14.

[11] Based on Tikkunei Zohar, tikkun 13, (p. 15b).

[12] Shema Yisrael, R. Yehudah Alcalay’s Ketavim, p. 566.

[13] See above, p. 95-96, with note 3.

[14] Mishpat Kohen, sec. 63, p. 129.  See also Rav Kook’s introduction to Shabbat HaAretz, p. 64; Iggrot HaRe’iyah, vol. 1, letter 212, vol. 2, letter 555; Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook’s LiNetivot Yisrael, vol. 2, p. 161.

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