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PARASHAT EKEV

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“From the World of Rabbi Kook”
“G-d’s word endures forever. The holiness of the Land of Israel, and G-d’s love for it, has not changed neither will it change…all its desolation and destruction could not overcome this…It is the merciful love for an unfortunate mother, coupled with the glorious, majestic love for a royal queen.” (Ma’amarei HaRe’iyah, p. 324)


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Rabbi Dov BegonFounder and Head of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “Self-Sacrifice and Love are Never Lost”


The self-sacrifice of the people of Gush Katif is not wasted, G-d forbid. Their success cannot be measured by whether they succeeded in preventing the expulsion, but by their success in generating such enormous love and self-sacrifice for our People, Land and Torah. How devoted they are, how unshakable their faith that Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jewish People!

For two thousand years, the Jewish People never stopped believing in our right to the Land of Israel; we remembered her daily in our prayers and deeds. We continued to believe even when forcibly expelled from the Land by the Babylonians with the First Temple’s destruction, and by the Romans with the Second Temple’s destruction, and even today when Sharon has expelled us from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria. In every generation, there are always Jews who express love and self-sacrifice for our People, Land and Torah, and bring merit to the entire Jewish People.

I have a message for the heroes of Gush Katif and the tens of thousands who rushed to assist them with such marvelous readiness: self-sacrifice and love do not go to waste! Your deeds shall protect you and your families and offspring and the entire Jewish People down through the generations. You have carried on the great spirit of our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of Joshua and Calev, whose faith never weakened even when they were the tiniest minority. You have held high the tradition of King David, who bravely faced Goliath and the enemies of Israel. You are heroes, continuing the valor and spirit of Matityahu and his sons, who never gave in to the Greeks. You resemble those Jews who risked their lives for the sake of their faith, in the Spanish expulsion and the Ghetto revolts during the terrible Holocaust. You have raised the banner of the first pioneers who struggled and sacrificed for the sake of settling the Land of Israel. You bring merit to the Jewish People; you make us proud; you have redeemed the honor of Israel!

In the merit of the self-sacrifice of the settlers of Gush Katif and Samaria, and of those faithful to Eretz Yisrael, may G-d’s promise to Abraham at the Binding of Isaac be fulfilled for us: “I swear by My own essence, that because you performed this act, and did not hold back you only son, I will bless you greatly, and increase your offspring like the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring shall inherit their enemies’ gate. All the nations of the world shall be blessed through your descendants – because you obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).

Be strong and courageous, and G-d will do what is good in His eyes. Looking forward to complete redemption, Shabbat Shalom!


Rabbi Shlomo AvinerChief Rabbi of Beit El
“The Destruction”


For these do I weep. My eyes, my eyes run down with water. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, our brethren, the heroes of Gush Katif, how can they be treated as earthenware jugs? We have been through so many destructions, yet this is so evil and bitter for us, for it comes from our own brothers, smiting brothers, mother and child. Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our house to aliens. Our hearts are faint over the mournful roads leading to Gush Katif. Our hearts belong to the precious families thrown out into the unknown, fathers, mothers, boys and girls, without homes, without work, without community, without schools.

Those heroes who raised up a paradise out of the desolation, who suffered thousands of bombs, who established a society of love and brotherhood, who fulfilled “You shall eat the labor of your hands. Happy shall you be!” (Psalm 128:2), were betrayed by their comrades – they became their enemies. Oh that our eyes were a fountain of tears to weep for our heroic brethren. We are with you in your destruction and your woe, the woe of the Divine Presence, the woe of the nation, of the Land.

We raise up the banner of all those fighters so devoted to the cause, those who are with us today and those not with us because they were arrested on the way; the prisoners of Zion in the prisons, the wise, brave and responsible leaders of the Yesha Council. We raise up the banner of all the rabbis throughout the country who are living fulfillment of the Shunamite’s words, “I dwell amongst my people” (II Kings 4:13), foremost among them the great rabbis of Gush Katif. And above them all, our marvelous youth, made from a special mold, gentle, devoted, nonviolent, idealistic, who enlisted in this cause without thinking about the consequences. This youth shall be the leaders in the generation to come, and will bring a blessing to the nation.

I beg of us: let us not cast blame! Let us not say, “My way is the only one,” for there are many paths in serving G-d, and it would be a miserable thing if, G-d forbid, there were only one path. I beg of us: we mustn’t blame ourselves if we were not victorious in this battle, for we don’t always win when we are in a struggle against such powerful forces of evil.

We protest the insane wickedness of our prime minister. We shall never forgive or forget his cruelty. As for that band of betrayers in the Knesset and cabinet who can be purchased with money and honor, “I called for my lovers but they deceived me” (Lamentations 1:19). Never will they be able to atone for their trespass. We further protest those apathetic people who did not join the nation in assisting the heroes. We protest against the media who accustomed themselves to speaking falsehood, and who coarsely libeled innocent, pure people. We protest against those policemen and judges who committed injustices.

We shall not forgive any of these, nor will they be able to atone. G-d will seek out the cause of the victim. He will have mercy on all of them. Yet redemption is a remarkable thing. It is not ruined by fools. The army and the police are marvelous things. Fools cannot ruin them either. We shall continue to enlist in the army for the sake of the Jewish State, for redemption is marvelous. Even if there seems to be darkness, nothing has changed. Our task has just been rendered harder. We shall continue to build our land, and to be rebuilt through it, and through the wonders of the L-rd, G-d of Israel, our Omniscient Redeemer.

Our hearts are torn. Yet we will tear our clothing and recite the words “Blessed is the Judge of Truth.” If I forget you, O Gush Katif, let my right hand lose its cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not raise Gush Katif above my chief joy. Have mercy upon Zion as You said, and be gracious to it as You spoke. Speed salvation and hasten redemption, and return to Gush Katif with great mercy. To our great sorrow, we have left Gush Katif, but our vision has not diminished. The vision remains and shall ultimately be victorious.


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)



Rabbi Zeev KarovTeacher in Yeshivat Karnei Shomron
“Disengagement – What Next?”


1. Disconnection: “There will be a spiritual rebellion in Eretz Yisrael and amongst the Jewish People at the time the nation is starting to arouse itself. The material welfare that will obtain for some of the nation, that imagine they already achieved their entire goal, will diminish their spirituality, and a time will come when they have no spiritual thirst. The longing for lofty, holy ideals will cease, and the spirit will sink and wane…” (Rabbi A. Y. Kook, Orot, p. 84).

Our disengagement from parts of Eretz Yisrael is one symptom of the overall disengagement from Jewish values amongst some of the nation. Some believe the fact that we have a strong army, state institutions, roads and edifices in parts of Eretz Yisrael suffices and proves that the goal of the return to Zion has been achieved. The present Disengagement is really just more of the same. For decades now education within some homes and schools has been almost totally bereft of anything Jewish. In this part of the nation, we see the fulfillment of, “Where there is no vision, the people go astray” (Proverbs 29:18), but we are all the descendents of one man, members of one people, and the results are felt by us all.

2. Belief in the Jewish State: Until today, the faith-based population has been a “fifth wheel” in Israel. That is how the nation’s leadership related to it and that is how they related to themselves. This population sought to establish appropriate communities and educational frameworks for themselves, and they strove in a relatively minimal way to have an influence on the state and country at large. They feared “angering” the country’s leaders; they wished always to talk in the style of the larger population, and never, G-d forbid, to let them hear words of faith for they were “not up to hearing such things.” These and other factors were what directed the practical leadership, and some of the spiritual leadership, of the faith-based population. Lack of self-confidence and lack of faith in the Jewish People at large brought about a situation in which at least publicly we concealed the message of a “chosen people.” Yet Rabbi Kook warned, “It is a fundamental error to avoid mentioning or recognizing our chosenness… If we recognize our greatness, then we know ourselves, and if we forget our greatness then we forget ourselves. A people that forgets itself is surely insignificant and lowly” (Orot page 55).

Many feel that the Disengagement, as it is occurring today, could never have occurred with any other nation, and there is a measure of truth in these words. When the Jewish People forgets its greatness and tries to imitate other nations, it becomes “insignificant and lowly.” We have to strive for the faith-based ideology to lead the country. As we see, it helps little to have a prime minister “from the right wing.” We can see that we’ve got a prime minister from the Likud, yet he is operating with a far-left wing ideology.

3. The Challenge of Overall Responsibility: In recent weeks the enormous power of the faith-based population has been revealed. Tens of thousands missed out on work, vacations, studies and conveniences. These are tens of thousands who understand how to balance between urgency and responsibility. They also understand how to balance enormous faith in the Creator and faith in the State of Israel. In these difficult times, the possibility has also been revealed of uniting all the different types of rabbis and of uniting the rabbis with the men of practical action.

The time has come for this population to become part of the State, with all that this implies. The time has come for this population to lead the State of Israel – to lead it with an ideology of integrity, family and values education, an ideology of human dignity and national self-respect. All of this exists and can be revealed only through faith and humility. We need faith in the Creator who gave us a Torah of truth and divine ethics, and humble acceptance of the fact that only the desire to “perfect the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty” should lead us, and not personal interests or motives of another sort.

4. Despair and Hope: Anyone who believes can suffer no despair, and in our own day, this is all the more so. How can one despair when for the past fifty years we have been in a process of the return to Zion? It is true, sometimes this process is more concealed and sometimes more revealed, sometimes there is ascent and sometimes descent. Yet all in all, the country is being rebuilt, the faith-based population in Eretz Yisrael is growing and in not too many years it will make up the majority of Jews in Eretz Yisrael. Right now, having discovered hundreds of thousands who are willing to enlist on behalf of the people and the Land, right now, when we are seeing the death throes of “secular” ideology – is now the time to despair?

True, we’ve lost the battle. Yet who looks only at the here and now? So many times in recent months we have heard the words, “The eternal nation does not fear the long road.” These words mustn’t remain a mere slogan. They are the absolute truth, especially in our own day. Rabbi Akiva once saw a fox emerge from the site of the Holy of Holies and he laughed. That was at the very beginning of Israel’s setting out on 2,000 years of exile. Rabbi Akiva laughed because he saw the process.

Now we are in a period that is the opposite of Rabbi Akiva’s. We are at the start of a process of Israel returning to their land. The Jewish People have been returning, and they still are. They are establishing a state. Amidst this process, we see a fox emerging from the site of the Holy of Holies. With all the pain, it is easier now to laugh than before. We have to strengthen faith in the special process in which we find ourselves. We have to strengthen faith in the greatness of this nation. We have to strengthen faith in the might of the faith-based population to lead the spirit of the country and not to remain an auxiliary “fifth wheel.”


Be sure to catch Rabbi David Samson’s weekly Torah insight on “Israeli Salad” at www.israelnntv.com (produced in cooperation with Machon Meir).

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