From the World of Rabbi Avraham Kook
“Our entire nation believes that following the redemption which is gradually starting up before us, there will be no more exile. Their deep faith in this itself constitutes the secret of their survival. It is G-d’s secret, being revealed through a historic process. Ancient tradition attests to the light of Israel’s soul that knows itself and knows all the chain of events leading up to the end of time, to that generation that anticipates imminent salvation.” (Orot HaTechiyah 77)
Rabbi Dov Begon – Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir
Message for Today:
Rebirth in Hebron
Abraham’s acquisition of Ma’arat HaMachpela from Ephron was not a conventional purchase. It says, “Ephron’s field in Makhpelah adjoining Mamre thus became [Abraham’s] uncontested property. [This included] the field, its cave, and every tree within its circumference” (Genesis 23:17). Rashi comments, “‘It became his property’ [vayakam] The land underwent a rebirth [tekuma], for it left the property of non-royalty and became the property of a king.”
Seemingly it was the same field and the same cave. Truthfully, however, the virtue and worth of these places had changed 180 degrees. It ceased to be the field of a subject and became the field of a king, a royal field.
Indeed, many years later, David’s kingdom first appeared at Hebron. As is well known, David’s kingdom was not just a political regime. Rather, it is by way of the kingdom of Israel that the kingdom of G-d appears and is revealed. As we say in our prayers on Rosh Hashana, “Hashem, the G-d of Israel is King, and His sovereignty is over all.” And when shall His kingdom be revealed? When the kingdom of the righteous Messiah is established, as it says, “G-d shall be King over the whole earth. On that day shall Hashem be one and His name one” (Zechariah 14:9).
Today, after many hundreds of years during Jews lacked the privilege of praying inside the Tomb of the Patriarchs, we have finally merited that the children’s children of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, buried there, are once more returning to Ma’arat HaMachpelah in Hebron. Our reconnection to Hebron constitutes rebirth for these holy places, through which was begun the revelation of David’s kingdom.
Today as well, Hebron is in a process of being rebuilt, and its wonderful residents who hold on to it by their fingertips despite all the difficulties and pressures from within and without are the first strike force going ahead of the camp, before the entire Jewish People, to restore the kingdom of the house of David. With their self-sacrifice, they broadcast great faith and great love of Eretz Yisrael. Theirs are a love and faith that are nourished by Abraham, of whom it said, “Go forth… to the Land…. and I will make you a great nation, and you shall be for a blessing. Through you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12).
How fortunate we are that we are meriting to return to the land of our life’s blood, to Hebron, where our Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried. The day is not far off when we will likewise merit that the nations will know and recognize our role here…
Ultimately a time will come when, “All of mankind will call upon G-d’s name, and all the wicked of the earth will be turned to G-d… All will undertake the yoke of Your kingdom, and may You reign over them forever and ever.” (Aleinu)
Looking forward to complete salvation,
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Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
A Christian Enemy is an Eternal Enemy
If we think that there is no need to take stock regarding the danger posed by Christianity, then we are making a grave error. It means that we are forgetting that the theological demon of Christianity is their goal — philosophically and practically — of wiping out the Jewish people.
After all, Father Augustine, one of the highest authorities of the Church, declared that since the Jews rejected the god-man-son, and brought about his death, they themselves were rejected by god the father. The Christians were selected in their place, and since then, forever, they are the real Israel (verus Israel). Moreover Judaism’s existence in a state of humiliation is eternal testimony that Christianity is right. John Crisostom, the early church father, stressed that the murder of G-d demands infinite revenge.
The demonization of Judaism and the collective blame for the murder of G-d begat a history soaked in blood, as well as responsibility for anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.*
During the years 1962-1965, the famous Vatican II Council wrought dramatic changes. It began with the exciting words of Pope John XXIII: “The mark of Cain is stamped upon our foreheads. Across the centuries, our brother Abel has lain in blood which we drew, or shed tears we caused.” Yet even that council could not entirely clear the Jewish people of accusations that they had killed G-d. It is true that the proclamation of nostra actata cleared us of collective guilt, but that guilt was only transferred to the Jewish leadership – the Sanhedrin, i.e., the Pharisees, which as is well known, is for Christians a pejorative term unequaled by any other. Had the Vatican gone one step further, it would have been committing suicide.
Yet behind this gesture are concealed a pro-Arab Catholic policy in the guise of neutrality; support for terror organizations camouflaged as justice and humanitarianism, and a score of other twisted ways they try to undermine the stability of the State of Israel.
As for the Protestants, they too have changed their strategy and become our friends, “Christian friends of Israel”, “Friends of Judea and Samaria”, friends of everything Israeli – a bear hug swallowing up its prey.
The veiled and even open goal of their declarations is the destruction of the Jewish people by means of general anesthesia, i.e., apostasy, which is even more dangerous than bloodshed. Making someone sin is worse than killing him.
Their missionary bloodsucking occurs with the help of about 8000 full-time missionaries, and tens of thousand more missionaries working part time, spread throughout Israel, under the guise of assistance for anyone in need: the poor, the sick, residents of Judea and Samaria, or expellees from Gush Katif.
They likewise operate via the channel of art, which can make any pig look kosher. For example, on July 1, in the guesthouse of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel there was a missionary conference that included exciting personal stories, shared experiences, as well as group singing and music from the best missionary musicians.
Likewise, on Succoth (rehabilitated as a Christian holiday for these purposes), there was a week of events that included revival meetings, drama, singing and dancing, with the climax being a gigantic production at Jerusalem’s National Convention Center, in which prominent missionary lecturers and musicians took part. The invitees were Christians as well as Jews, with the Christians having been instructed on how to mingle with the Jews and reach out to them. Likewise, missionary materials were distributed at information tables.
Artistic programs in this format are familiar to us from previous years, and they serve as an innocent cover for entrapping Jews. Use is also made of Jewish symbols such as the shofar, the four species, the tallit and Torah scrolls.
The umbrella organization is the well-known missionary organization, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, under whose aegis are numerous organizations, especially “Messianic Jews”, which by authoritative estimate has 15,000 members in Israel, some of whom have become Christians.
We thought we’d gotten rid of them. We thought they were our friends. We were wrong. The Jews are our friends, not the messianic Jews, but the kosher, innocent Jews.
* Obviously we must avoid generalizations. We are well aware of numerous righteous gentiles who assisted the Jews during the Holocaust, risking their lives for them. We, however, are talking about the religion in the aggregate.
Rabbi Yoram Eliyahu– Lecturer at Machon Meir
The Land is Our’s
Our sages taught us:
“Regarding three places the nations of the world cannot torment Israel by saying ‘You stole them,’ and they are: the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the Temple and Joseph’s tomb. Of the Tomb of the Patriarchs it says, (in our parasha), ‘Abraham understood what Ephron meant. He weighed out for Ephron the silver’ (Genesis 23:16). Of the Temple it says, ‘So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight’ (I Chronicles 21:24). Of Joseph’s tomb it says, ‘He bought the piece of open land’ (Genesis 33:19).” (Bereshit Rabbah 79)
And what about all the other parts of the land of Israel? Rashi therefore taught us in his commentary on the first verse of the Torah:
“R. Yitzchok said: The Torah should have begun with [the verse] ‘This month shall be your first month’ (Exodus 12:2), it being the first precept that the Israelites were commanded. Then why does it begin with ‘In the beginning’? This is because [of the concept contained in the verse,] ‘He declared the power of His works to His people in order to give to them the inheritance of nations.’ (Psalm 111:6). Thus, should the nations of the world say to Israel, ‘You are robbers, for you have taken by force the lands of the Seven Nations,’ they [Israel] will respond: ‘All the earth belongs to G-d. He created it and gave it to whomever He saw fit. It was His will to give it to them and it was His will to take it from them and give it to us.”
It turns out that the entire book of Genesis, the creation story and all the stories of the Patriarchs and their children were only written to inform us of this major principle, that the land is ours, and we are not living on stolen property.
Yet the nations of the world do not relent. Our sages tell us that in the days of Alexander Macedon the sons of Ishmael came forth to demand the Land in the name of the birthright. Canaanites and Egyptians came with them, and the Sages of Israel were fearful of the outcome. Then Gevia ben Pesisa came forth and said that he would represent Israel in judgment.
Alexander of Macedon asked: “Who is suing whom?” Ishmael’s sons replied, “We are suing Israel from the standpoint of their own Torah. After all, the Torah states that a man must recognize the firstborn son of a wife he hates and give him a double portion. Ishmael was the firstborn, and by rights he should take the double portion.” Then Gevia ben Pesisa turned to the king and said, “As long as the father is alive, is he allowed to do with his property whatever he wishes?” “Yes”, answered the king. Gevia then continued: “Surely it says in the Torah that Abraham gave the entire land to Isaac, as it says ‘Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac’ (Genesis 25:5). And what about the rest of his sons? It says there, ‘To the sons of the concubines that he had taken, Abraham also gave gifts. Then, while he was still alive, he sent them to the country of the East, away from his son Isaac’ (Genesis 25:6).
Thus, Abraham during his lifetime banished Ishmael’s sons from the Land. Therefore they have no justification for demanding the Land. Indeed, our sages say there that Ishmael’s sons had nothing to answer, and they left in humiliation. (Yalkut Shimoni on Chayei Sarah).
Today as well, the sons of Ishmael come, making that same claim. Their religious figures indeed come forth by dint of their being the sons of Ishmael, or the descendents of the Philistines, etc.
Yet we need to need to understand that no security argument of one sort or another can protect us when we set out to hold on to our ancestral inheritance. Israel’s leaders knew this when they set out to establish a Jewish state in Land of Israel and they said, “Our mandate of Eretz Yisrael is the Bible”.
Our master Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook expressed the same idea in the flyer that he publicized in 1930:
“Let all mankind be aware that it was no kingdom of the nations that gave us a monument and a memorial on the holy soil, but only the hand of the Holy One of Israel, the G-d of the whole world, whose word is steadfast and enduring forever. It was He who gave us the holy soil for an everlasting inheritance so that we can be a light unto the nations on it, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Ma’amarei HaRe’iyah 358).
Let us all find strength in this great truth. Let us proclaim it openly and loudly, just as Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook always used to say, “The truth is not embarrassed or afraid.” And may we thereby be privileged to hold on to our ancestral inheritance forever and ever.
Translation: R. Blumberg