BS”D Parashat Bo 5780

Rabbi Nachman Kahana


Rejecting those who come bearing gifts


Last week’s visit of many heads of European states to Yerushalayim on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp is indeed an unprecedented historical event, but more so because it resolves a seeming contradiction between two of our sources.

In parashat Vayishlach (book of Bereishiet) at the most dramatic moment of the meeting between the two brothers, Aisav (Esau) comes rushing at Yaakov (Jacob) with the intent to murder, but at the last-minute falls upon his brother with hugs and kisses. So deep down Aisav is not such a bad guy-goy.

However, the Gemara (Pesachim 118b) relates that when the Mashiach will be revealed, HaShem will determine from which of the world’s nations will the Mashiach be permitted to receive gifts.


עתידה מצרים שתביא דורון למשיח, כסבור אינו מקבל מהם, אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשיח: קבל מהם, אכסניא עשו לבניי במצרים, מיד יאתיו חשמנים מני מצרים. נשאה כוש קל וחומר בעצמה: ומה הללו שנשתעבדו בהן – כך, אני שלא נשתעבדתי בהן – לא כל שכן? אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא: קבל מהם, מיד כוש תריץ ידיו לאלהים. נשאה מלכות ]רומי[ הרשעה קל וחומר בעצמה: ומה הללו שאין אחיהן – כך, אנו שאנו אחיהן – לא כל שכן? אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לגבריאל: גער חית קנה… דכתיב יכרסמנה חזיר מיער וגו’.


The Gemara is telling us that the Mashiach will be permitted to receive homage from Egypt despite their poor track record with the Jewish nation; so too will he be permitted to receive gifts from the land of Kush (a nation bordering on Egypt). But when Rome, a euphemism for the nations of Europe descended from Aisav, will wish to pay homage, HaShem will prohibit any and all advances of Aisav to the Mashiach, even comparing Rome to a wild boar of the pig family.

From here we learn that Aisav is not such a nice guy-goy from his total rejection by HaShem from any contact with the Jewish nation, even being compared to a treif pig – a mammal of the Suidae family.

So, what is it – Aisav the sensitive loving caring brother or Aisav the treif swine? And why is Aisav compared to a wild boar.

I submit: It was apparent that the European dignitaries who gathered at Yad Vashem were moved by the overwhelming ambiance of the occasion, and several even wept. When Aisav met his brother after 20 years of hatred, he too was very moved. However, when Aisav departed for the land of Edom he reverted to being the immoral Jew hating anti-Semite he was from the time of his bar mitzva day.

The European dignitaries who shed a tear for the one and a half million Jews murdered at the Auschwitz camp returned home and when the magic of the moment passed, their antisemitic DNA honed and sharpened by the teachings of Christianity (Catholic, Protestant and eastern Christian sects) took over.

Even as the US president Donald Trump was delivering the essentials of his plan these European Union leaders were contriving to make the plan fail.

A boar and a pig have one of the two signature characteristics of a kosher animal, they have split hooves but do not chew their cud. When a pig lays down to rest, he by nature stretches out his feet as if to say “Look, I’m kosher” when he is not. A pig is the symbol of hypocrisy. Aisav and Europe as a whole cannot be trusted. They are as boars and pigs who attempt to demonstrate that they are what they are not. The tears they shed at Yad Vashem are the treif feet of a wild boar.


The plan of the century


The prophet Yeshayahu chapter 19,2 states:

וסכסכתי מצרים במצרים ונלחמו איש באחיו ואיש ברעהו עיר בעיר ממלכה בממלכה


I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian, brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.


The Midrash Shocher Tov relates that the first born of the Egyptians believed what Moshe predicted that the last plague will be their death. They appealed to their elders to free the Jews. When the elders refused the first born began a civil war and many, many Egyptians were killed. That is what the prophet was referring to when he predicted that in the future the Egyptians, and indeed all the Arabs who wish to destroy the Jewish state, will embark on a bloody civil war that will erase them from being a threat to the Jewish state.

Mr. Trump, with all his affinity to the Jewish state, has put forward a plan which includes severing a great part of land from our control and presenting it to the Arabs. Any Jew who loves the holy land will reflexively reject it. However, I do see a good side of the plan. It will by necessity produce a civil war among the Arabs who accept the plan and those who reject it.

The results of the civil war would bring all the areas west of the Jordan River under the sovereignty of the Jewish state.

In any event we all have 20-20 hindsight (especially this year) it’s the foresight which is a bit dull. But at the end of the day, HaShem as the greatest “playwright” will lead they Jewish nation on the course of our destiny in the most magnificent manner.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5780/2020 Nachman Kahana

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