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Parashat Tazria

“From The World of Rav Kook”

“Israel’s freedom is the lofty spirit by which each Jew and the Nation as a whole are exalted, making them loyal to their inner being: the inherent trait of the image of G-d within them. By such means, each Jew can feel his life has a purpose worth living.”
(Ma’amarei HaRe’iyah, 157)

Rabbi Dov BegonFounder and Head of Machon Meir
Message for Today: The “Nation for the World” Movement will surely arise.
The Talmud teaches, “In the footsteps of the Messiah, impudence will increase” (Sotah 49b). Rashi comments that this source is talking about the end of the exile before the Messiah’s arrival, on the eve of the appearance of a new light over Zion. Precisely then there will be complicated, difficult situations, spiritual struggles in face of the increased darkness before the dawn.
“Honor will dwindle. The vine will yield its fruit but wine will be expensive [because so many will be busy drinking it]. The government will turn to heresy, and there will be no rebuke [they will all be corrupt]… The dwellers of the frontier will go around begging but none will take pity on them [see the people of Gush Katif and Northern Samaria]; the wisdom of scribes will degenerate [pornographic literature]. Fearers of sin will be despised, and the truth will disappear [the confusion will be great in ours, the “world of falsehood”]. Youths will insult their elders. Elders will rise before children [children won’t show respect to elders and sages]. A son will revile his father. A daughter will rise against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his household [the destruction of the family unit]; the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog [some interpret this to mean, “The face of the leaders of the generation will be like the face of a dog]. A son will not feel ashamed before his father. So whom will we be able to rely upon? Upon our Father in Heaven.” (Sotah 49b)
In our times, we need to believe that G-d has not abandoned the world. Suffering purges us of sin – both physical and spiritual suffering – in the sense of clarifying matters of faith. Through such suffering we are purged in the sense of being rendered more pure and clean. Precisely through the darkness, the light is revealed. For the sake of this clarification process, we need great Torah scholars who can examine such matters from a lofty, profound perspective. (Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, “HaTorah HaGo’elet”, 4:68). We have to see with our own eyes the love of our Father in Heaven, despite the complications and hardships; the light emerging from the darkness.
Recently we have witnessed the painful, disgraceful decision by the Knesset to disengage from Eretz Yisrael; the Supreme Court decision to disengage from Judaism and to accept non-Jews as Jews in our land; the disengagement of the Education System from our Jewish roots. We have seen the call to establish a state of all its citizens, that will blot out Israel’s Jewish fabric; the attempt by various movements and political parties to separate religion and state, which is like separating the body from the soul.
All these constitute terrible suffering which torture the soul of the nation, but they also purge us. That is, they cleanse and purify us of those views. Quite the contrary, through this suffering, we will learn what Eretz Yisrael truly is, for us and for all mankind. We will learn that the Jewish People are linked to it by a living bond. We will learn to recognize and to understand the meaning of the Jewish People, “chosen by G-d from all the nations” so that they can do good for the whole world. We will learn the meaning of, “He separates between the holy and the profane, between Israel and the nations.”
We will learn to educate our children to know their people’s identity, uniqueness and mission in Eretz Yisrael. As a nation for the world, setting out to bring light to the world from amidst the darkness, a great educational and spiritual movement will arise and will teach and educate and explain that we are not like all the nations. Rather, we are a nation for the world, a unique creation in the world, continuing the work of Abraham, who called in the name of Hashem, G-d of the universe. By such means there will be fulfilled through us the verse, “I will make you a great nation. You shall be for a blessing. Through you, all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12).
Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Shlomo AvinerChief Rabbi of Beit El
“Don’t shatter the vessels”

Question: You say that we mustn’t cause the army’s disintegration, and I think precisely the opposite. With a corrupt army such as this, it is a mitzvah to shatter and smash it – and together with it, this whole immoral country which banishes Jews and frees terrorists. This is not the country or the army that we prayed for. I’ve had enough of both of them.
Answer: And this country and army are precisely what I did pray for. And we’re both right. You prayed for the celestial, theoretical, ultimate country and army, and I prayed for a mundane country and army set down on this earth.
Let me tell you a secret. G-d’s original intent was to create the world according to the yardstick of Strict Justice, yet He saw that it wouldn’t survive, so He introduced mercy as well. And why didn’t He introduce mercy to begin with? Because the Heavenly ideal is Strict Justice, and that is the ideal of the future. Yet when Strict Justice was in charge, the world collapsed. It lacked the ability to contain so much light, so it collapsed. The light was great and infinite, and the world was small, finite and imperfect. Chaos appeared, but gradually, with the help of Mercy, the world of chaos is becoming the world of perfection.
Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto writes that Mercy does not nullify Strict Justice. Rather, it increases patience (Mesilat Yesharim, end of Chapter 4). In the celestial spheres, the vessels were shattered, and in the wake of that, they were shattered here on earth as well, and a person is forbidden to try to shatter the vessels. We have many vessels that are far from perfect, and they certainly are incapable of containing all the light: the State, the army, the Religious Zionist Movement, the Chief Rabbinate, the Education Ministry. Yet they are precious vessels that were built gradually with great toil.
Sometimes G-d shatters vessels, but He also rebuilds. As for you, I am not sure that you would know how to rebuild. We don’t knock down an old synagogue until we build the new one, lest we fail to build the new one and we are left with nothing (Bava Batra 3b). Also, don’t break apart a marriage even if it is problematic. Great is peace! Reticence regarding the truth, for the sake of maintaining peace, is not falsehood. Rather, there are different levels of truth. Our Forefather Jacob personifies truth, and he is the ladder firmly implanted on the ground but reaching into the heavens. Truth has many levels. We therefore tell a groom who has married a blind or a lame woman that his bride is both righteous and attractive (Ketuvot 17a), and that is not falsehood but the truth of the present moment (Maharal, Netivot Olam, Netiv HaEmet).
G-d found no vessel to contain blessing better than peace. Even a dirty, cracked vessel can hold something. Yet without any vessel, all the treasures of the spirit will fly away and disappear as though they never were.
Don’t be an anarchist who fights for the destruction of the existing order, in the hope that from the smoking embers of the present rotten world will blossom forth the enchanted flowers of the future. It is true that an anarchist as well is a lofty, idealistic soul, a soul from the world of chaos, a person of absolute principles. Yet he destroys and does not build.
Strict Justice will always remain Strict Justice, truth will always remain truth, but we need patience. Patience is not a concession – so said Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. One mustn’t view reality from a solely halachic perspective, but also from a faith-based perspective. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook wrote:
“Sometimes we observe the world and judge it exclusively in terms of Torah law, without the influence of the Torah of kindness that stems from the source of hidden divine wisdom. Yet when we do that, Strict Justice waxes great, hatred of people and all-encompassing despair. It is unfair to judge a generation overridden by sin by the exclusive yardstick of one’s own holiness. Rather, one must combine the precision emerging from the revealed Torah, together with the kindness and light of the hidden Torah. Then, kindness and valor blend together and achieve sweetness.” (Orot HaTorah 10:15)
Don’t shatter the State and the army. Rather, increase their light. The State’s symbol is the menorah, or more precisely, the menorah without the light of Parashat Terumah. You are in charge of the menorah of Parashat Tetzaveh, to keep it constantly burning, eternally striving, from evening until morning, and during days of darkness.
Let me just add one point: Friend, you are exaggerating! Don’t view everything with a jaundiced eye, seeing none of the good and only the bad. You have to repent! You have to read the book Mesilat Yesharim, Chapter 8, again and again, and to learn to say thank you to G-d, thanks to the State, thanks to the army! You have to join us, our ancient, heroic nation, who love our country and army!
Open your eyes and see: ours is a wonderful country, full of wonderful people from one end to the other, religious and irreligious, Charedim and Zionists, right wing and left. How is it our country’s fault that we’ve got amongst us confused, weak and twisted people as well?
Someone once said, “If things go on this way, I’m leaving the country!” Yet we’ve got to respond, “Our land is holy. It is the land of G-d, the land of our delight, the land of life. How is it the Land’s fault that it includes sinners within its borders?
In its time the “Bilu” Movement arose, short for “House of Jacob, let us go forth” (Isaiah 2:5). The Lubuvitcher Rebbe of that time, Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Schneersohn, said, “Had they used the entire verse, ‘House of Jacob, let us go forth BY THE LIGHT OF G-D,’ I would have joined myself.” Rabbi Kook said, “We will make sure that it happens ‘by the light of G-d.”
True, there are numerous problems in the army and in the country, hence Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook said, “We are happy over what there is, but we are not resigned to what there is.” How fortunate you are that you are not resigned to the status quo! At the same time, we must continue together along the path, in accordance with the words of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook: “The people of eternity does not fear the long path.”

Rabbi Elisha Aviner – Education Corner
“A Child’s Dreams”

The following story was published in the edition of “Dirshu” that came out in honor of the Daf Yomi being completed. It was part of an interview with Rabbi Chizkiya Mishkovsky.
Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin, founder of the Daf Yomi [the daily page of Talmud studied in unison world over], was born in the city of Schatz. Already in his childhood he excelled in his genius and was considered a prodigy. Hence no appropriate melamed [Torah teacher] could be found for him. His father approached the town rabbi, Rabbi Sholem Moskovitz, the Schatzer Rebbe, and asked his help in finding a melamed for his son Meir. The Rebbe responded that he himself was teaching his two older sons, and he would be happy to add Meir to the group, despite the age gap. The boy Meir quickly blended in to the Rebbe’s lessons due to his sharpness, and simultaneously befriended the Rebbe’s younger children, who were his age, and he would tell them his dreams.
Meir told them that he had dreamt that a day would come when he would arrange that the entire Jewish People would learn the same daily page of Talmud, such that there would be a common language to all the Jews through the Jewish Diaspora. The Rebbe’s children responded disparagingly to Meir’s words. “Dreams are meaningless,” they said. “How do you hope to succeed with something that no else has so far succeeded in doing?” Thus, every so often Meir would be excited once more about his dream, and the children would belittle him and quash his excitement.
The years passed. Rabbi Meir Shapira became a great Torah scholar and spiritual leader, and the idea of the Daf Yomi conquered the Torah world. One day, at the train station, a rabbi approached him and told him that he was married to the daughter of the Schatzer Rebbe, and that she blessed him for his great success in spreading Torah. Rabbi Meir asked where he could meet her, since he had something to deliver to her.
The meeting took place, and Rabbi Meir asked the Rebbe’s daughter, “Do you remember when we were small children and I spoke with you and with your brothers about my dream of a ‘Daf Yomi’, and you would all customarily disparage the idea and blunt my enthusiasm? I am not angry at you for that since at the time we were just small children. Yet I have one request of you: You are a teacher, responsible for the Torah education of Jewish children. Please remember: you must never scorn a child’s dreams!! If I were made of the same stuff as other people, such that when they are mocked they break down, do you realize what the Jewish People would have lost? Can you imagine the Jewish People without the Daf Yomi? I therefore ask you from the bottom of my heart: Never make fun of a child’s dream. A Jewish child can go very far with his dreams…” (If the reader doubts this story’s veracity, it was confirmed by that woman’s son, HaGaon Rav Moshe Halberstam).
A child’s dreams! Children dream. Time after time they soar on the wings of a dream. Many childhood dreams sound unrealistic, removed from reality. This characterizes the world of children, as opposed to the world of adults. Adults are practical, realistic people. The challenges of real life demand of them a realistic appraisal of life as it appears now. Dreams about the future they leave for poets and fantasizers.
The problem arises when adults disparage the dreams of children, with the educational goal of attaching those children to reality, linking them to the real world. That is an educational mistake, for precisely dreams are the special gift of children. Children are not captive to the narrow conceptions of the world of adults, in which the present fashions their worldview. In the eyes of children, reality can change, and it is permissible to dream of improving, perfecting, softening it or making it flower. If we do not shatter the dreams and ambitions of children, there is some chance that their dreams will be transformed to a long-term program that will pave their path in life. Perhaps their dream will come true!
A similar idea appears in our sages’ words:
“Rabbi Yochanan said: Starting the day that the Temple was destroyed, prophecy was removed from prophets and handed over to children and to fools” (Bava Batra 12b).
This source is puzzling. What connection could there be between lofty prophecy and children and fools? The solution lies in the centrality of the imagination in prophecy (Rambam, Guide to the Perplexed). The prophet absorbs his prophecy by means of his imagination. The imagination breaches the bounds of banal thought and soars to the heavens. It is a trait of children, hence they are closer to prophecy. Maharal explains as follows (Chidushei Aggadot, Ibid.):
“The small child does not exercise reason, hence his imagination absorbs messages about the future from Above. With the adult, however, because he does exercise reason, his imagination is not free to absorb messages about the future…”
The advantage of children is their imagination and their dreams. “Dreams are one sixtieth prophecy” (Berachot 57b). A dream takes a look at the future, without bowing to the dictates of the present. The advantage possessed by children is their innocence. They do not recognize the limits of reality, which adults think are permanently fixed. Children have the advantage of ambitions that do not take into account recognized limitations.
Children dream. It is forbidden to mock them or disparage them. Adult society is crowded with shrewd realists. It is top-heavy in cynicism. The dream of children is the bridge to a better future. It is the sheen of prophecy unbridled by restraints.

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