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“From the World of Rabbi Kook”
“As the ages pass, man’s faith in corporeal, and non-corporeal, beings becomes increasingly refined. When man rejects part of his belief in a corporeal being, he seems to reject pure monotheistic faith as well. Ultimately, however, it becomes clear that pure faith has not been rejected, but only refined.” (Orot, Zironim 127)
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Rabbi Dov Begon – Founder and Head of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “Those Who Love The Land Will Win”
Our sages called the Book of Bamidbar “Chumash Pekudim” [The Book of Tallies] because of the two censuses mentioned in it. The first took place at the start of Israel’s trek through the desert “on the first day of the second month [Iyar] in the second year of their exodus from Egypt” (Numbers 1:1). The second took place prior to their entering the Land “in the Plains of Moab on the Jordan River facing Jericho” (26:63). Between these two censuses were forty years of walking through a desert amidst difficult trials and crises.
Only those worthy to enter Eretz Yisrael reached the “finish line” in the Plains of Moab, as it says, “Of these [counted in the plains of Moab], there were none who had been counted by Moses and Aaron in the Sinai Wilderness. G-d had said of them, ‘They will surely die in the Wilderness,’ and not a man was left of them, except for Caleb ben Yefuneh and Joshua bin Nun” (66:64-65). Rashi comments: “none were left who were counted previously, for the men had all died because of the sin of the spies. As for the women, the decree of the spies had not been applied to them, for they loved the Land. The men had said, ‘Let us choose a leader and return to Egypt’ (14:4), but the women had said, ‘Give us a holding in the Land’ (27:4). This is why the episode of Tzelafchad’s daughters was juxtaposed to the section regarding the census. Those daughters loved the Land and they were as righteous as Joseph, who likewise loved the Land and asked to be buried there. Whoever loves the Land is righteous and worthy of praise.” (Rashi on 27:1).
In every generation, there are people who love the Land and are worthy of praise. During our 2,000 year exile, there were Jews who loved the Land and moved there with great self-sacrifice. Amongst them were great Torah giants like Rambam, Ramban, Rabbi Yosef Karo, the Ari, the Ohr HaChaim, the disciples of the Vilna Gaon, the disciples of the Ba’al Shem Tov, and many more who moved to the Land despite all difficulties and dangers.
About 150 years ago, a great change transpired. At that time, not just rabbis and great saints moved to the Land of Israel, but the Jewish masses as well, religious and irreligious, from all the communities of the Diaspora. All expressed their great love for the Land by moving there and settling it. They were the pioneers going before the camp. They established the first farming settlements and communities, both private and communal. They reaped great merit, and likewise brought great merit to all of Israel through their love and affection for Eretz Yisrael. It was through their merit that we have been privileged to establish the State of Israel in our own times.
Today, those who continue to bear the banner of love for Eretz Yisrael are the settlers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who love the Land and risk their lives for it. Prime Minister Sharon has an unrelenting ambition to establish an Arab state in the very heart of our Land and to banish the Jews from their land. Despite his efforts, the love and affection of the settlers of Gaza, Judea and Samaria is continuing and shall continue further. Great waters will not be able to extinguish that love.
In the desert, those who loved the Land survived – the women, together with Caleb and Joshua – and they were privileged to go up into Eretz Yisrael and to settle it. So too in our day, those who love Eretz Yisrael and risk their lives for their people and their land are the ones who will emerge victorious in the struggle over our exclusive right to Eretz Yisrael. They shall continue to lead the nation once the present leadership passes. Then, “those redeemed by G-d shall come back to Zion in joy, enveloped in everlasting happiness” (Isaiah 35:10). Looking forward to complete salvation,
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Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
“Peace, Justice and Psychiatry”
The great psychiatrist, Henri Baruch, who ran the most famous psychiatric hospital in France, developed a comprehensive treatment plan based on the principle of justice. From psychology and psychiatry, he moved on to sociology and analyzed the “philosophy of peace,” the heritage of our ancestors, Moses and our prophets. The following article is a brief summary of a lecture he gave before the Bnei Brith in 1969:
“The political philosophy of the nations is diametrically opposed to the Jewish outlook on justice. The nations’ politics are navigated according to the interests of the moment, taking sharp turns towards new, transient interests. Thus they abandon friends in favor of the strong, or in favor of whoever offers a higher price. This pagan worship of might and of immediate success supports whoever seems threatening. It asks of the victim to sacrifice himself in order to silence the threats. Thus, this worship of might ultimately leads to cowardice and surrender.
It thus follows that the political philosophy ascribed to the world denies the rights of nations to their land. It recognizes only the right of the conqueror. It totally rejects the Jews’ having any rights to their historic land, the land in which the Jews’ national history took place, the land in which every place is attached to the memories of the Bible. The Jews were banished from their land by the Romans, yet they remained attached to it and fought for their rights against the descendants of Ishmael and Esau, i.e., Western culture. Throughout their dramatic history, up to the present, their cry in the name of truth and justice fell on deaf ears and confronted hypocritical, misleading declarations about peace.
Christianity argues that all of a person’s sins are forgiven up front in exchange for his belief in religion. Thus, divine kindness encompasses everyone equally, saint and sinner alike, pursuer and pursued. Such thinking leads one to prefer the pursuer and to demand of the pursued to sacrifice himself. That very sacrifice of those innocent of guilt only encourages the pursuer. In such a manner, it is impossible to build a world of justice on earth, and justice is thus deferred to Heaven. This constitutes the banishing of the Divine Presence to Heaven and the separating of Heaven from Earth. There is no duty and no obligation. Islam as well, which subjugates man with absolute, blind obedience, leads him to complain and rebel. He grows accustomed to living without obligation and without giving. He becomes a person who demands more and more, and society disintegrates.
Psychoanalysis has gone in a different direction. Lust has become god and man has become beast. Any restraint shown regarding any passion, normal or abnormal, is considered a mental disorder. Man is thus rendered a very weak and permissive being. The result is a human race that is incapable of making any effort, a mankind that is both egotistical and egocentric, demanding, impotent and constantly complaining. This as well leads to the disintegration of society.
As a result, mankind remained apathetic in face of the annihilation of Jews and in face of the horrific tortures suffered by an innocent people that had contributed so much to society. Yet when the Arab states, continuing Hitler’s legacy, plotted to carry out the total genocide of the Jewish People, that same human race could not bear to see them defeated by the heroic wars of the pursued people. Mankind, warped by thousands of years of Christianity and an unjust, hypocritical pacifism labeled “leftism,” insists on trying to save the murderers and to enable them to continue their crimes by weakening the victims who are defending themselves.
The Jewish People are the only nation that constantly defends justice. After two thousand years of terrible exile and persecution, they have arisen to rebirth. Under their control they are holding territories in a manner that sets an example for all the nations regarding how to treat minorities with respect and how to show respect to a person as a person. It is enough to visit the liberated territories, as I have done many times, in order to learn the truth regarding the false, unjust accusations against our people, a people that was almost exterminated in the gas chambers, and one that became an example for all mankind.”
We have to realize the truth of Henri Baruch’s words and know what is fair and not let ourselves be confused by the brainwashing of the nations, whose mouths spout leftist falsehood. We have to know to punish the murderer and to defend the victim.
Be sure to catch Rabbi David Samson’s weekly Torah insight on “Israeli Salad” at www.israelnntv.com (produced in cooperation with Machon Meir).
Rabbi Elisha Aviner – Education Corner
Open Letter to Youth : “To Despair or Not to Despair”
Should we despair of our country and of Israeli society? This is one of the most incisive questions in our lives. Some circles within religious Jewry have never displayed great trust towards the Jewish State or Israeli society. For them, it is just a matter of time until the country becomes “a state of all its inhabitants,” without any affinity or connection to Judaism, and loses any identifiable mark of its Jewishness. This is a powerful, unidirectional process, and we are unable to change that direction
or even to stop it. At the very most, it is possible to save isolated individuals from within society and to help them to repent, thereby saving them from the general deterioration of Israeli society. Those who hold this approach argue in their defense that they are not in despair, but only being realistic. This approach also has ramifications for the nature of the struggle to nullify the Disengagement Plan. If ours is “a state of all its citizens,” then we owe it nothing and feel no sentiment for it. Therefore, every means is appropriate and every way is acceptable for bringing about the nullification of this inferior plan and for ridding ourselves of other, similar plans.
We, however, are not in despair, and neither are we going to be. This is not because everything is rosy. After all, one cannot deny the reality. Very worrisome phenomena are appearing in Israeli society. During the last decade, our country has lost much of its Jewish fabric. Why then are we not in despair? It is because we believe that the process is reversible. Not in one hour and not in one day shall we succeed in fomenting a revolution in Israeli society and in changing its course. Nonetheless, we believe that the thing is possible. Our hope has not been lost. The process is not unidirectional, but bi-directional. We believe that the Jewish spark has not entirely been extinguished amongst the Jewish masses who make up Israeli society, and that following a prolonged effort we shall succeed in arousing them. The sickness has not struck all of the nation’s life-centers. Some portions have remained well, and they can restore health to the entire national corpus.
It follows that we need not adopt too forceful a style in our approach to Israeli society. As Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook zt”l wrote: “We shall redeem the people from their dire straits by means of teachers armed with spiritual valor. They won’t need to beat them with sticks.” We require valor in order to foment a revolution in Israeli society and to advance the redemption. Through his recognizing the severity of the situation and the scope of the change that we wish to implement, Rabbi Kook concludes that without valor, nothing meaningful will occur. Yet there are two types of valor. There is “the valor of the stick,” brutal force which tries to coerce itself upon Israeli society. There is also another type of valor: spiritual valor, which tries to conquer the heart and mind, to arouse the Jewish spark, to explain and to convince.
Whoever despairs of Israeli society, will prefer the “stick approach” as a form of punishment. They will say, “There is no one to talk to, so let the stick replace talk.” Yet whoever has not despaired of them will prefer “spiritual valor,” dialogue with Israeli society, the approach of explaining things, addressing people’s intellect and heart. Malbim, regarding the verse, “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:17), distinguishes between “mussar” [rebuke] and “tochachah” [persuasion]. One who rebukes his fellow man, “coerces him whether with whips or with words.” By contrast, one who persuades [mochiach] his fellow man, succeeds through “proofs” [hochachot]. The mitzvah of tochachah cannot be fulfilled through subjugating one’s fellowman with whips or sticks, or even with harsh, insulting words. Rather, one must employ proofs that are acceptable to the heart and the mind, in other words, one must work by means of explanations and persuasion.
Thus, the major question that we face is this: Do we believe that Israeli society has a future or not? Whoever has lost his faith in Israeli society will smite it without mercy and will torment it until it surrenders. Whoever has not lost his faith in it, will continue to talk to it and shine his smile upon it, until it is convinced. Some say: We have to fight force with force. Political dialogue in Israel is coercive, the arm of the law is coercive, the country’s policies are coercive, hence in order to have an influence one must fit in to the rules of the game, and employ coerciveness.
Indeed, political dialogue in Israel is coercive and whoever employs coercion is likely to achieve admirable results. Yet it is universally agreed that social victories achieved through coercion are only partial and temporary. Such achievements quickly dissipate and disappear. Through might, one can destroy, but it is hard to build a permanent edifice. Therefore, we mustn’t be impressed by the “stick” presently running rampant in our country. Whoever has not yet despaired of the Jewish State, whoever still places his faith in Israeli society, whoever seeks to influence it in the long term, must adopt the path of “spiritual valor,” that chooses to influence society by means of a shining countenance, persuasion and explanation. The “stick” beats people and knocks them down. “Spiritual valor” raises them up. Exalting the spirit is our mission.
Write a letter of support to Jonathan Pollard, in jail for 20 years because of his love for the Jewish People and our Land! Address letters to:
Jonathan Pollard # 09185-016
FCI Butner Medium
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, NC 27509 (USA)
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