BS”D Parashat Ki Tavo 5771
And when it will come to pass that you will enter the land the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it; Take of the first fruits of all that you produce from the soil (the seven species) of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket, then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name
The Midrash ‘Pesikta Zutrata’ on this weeks parasha states:
The word ‘haya’ (or ve’haya) introduce a joyful experience
And Midrash Raba (Beraisheet chapter 42,3) states:
The word ‘vayehie’ introduces a painful experience, but the word ‘vehaya’ introduces a joyful experience
Our parasha begins with the joyous experience of Eretz Yisrael, as it states:
However, the Gamara (Brachot 5a) has a seemingly contradictory view:
Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai says: HaShem presented three good gifts to the Jewish people, and each was given only through great difficulties (suffering): Torah study, Eretz Yisrael and the world-to-come.
But, in fact, there is no contradiction here. Indeed, the joy of living in HaShem’s chosen land is acquired through immense physical, mental, spiritual and material efforts of the Jews who are fortunate to have been brought back home. But great suffering can share space with great joy in one’s universe of emotions.
Imagine, the “love of your life” agrees to marry you on condition that you swim the very cold and very threatening English Channel. With every heavy and difficult stroke you sense a feeling of joy because the goal is one stroke closer and the efforts will be rewarded. So too, the immense efforts that go into keeping our holy Medina alive day after day are the source of our great joy and feelings of satisfaction.
On this background, and with Rosh HaShana quickly approaching, I would like to suggest several “predictions” for the coming year or two.
1- There will be much “sabre-rattling” in the direction of Medinat Yisrael, with the decibels of dissonance in proportion to the enemy’s frustration caused by our secret weapon “AB”. AB is not necessarily our Atomic Bomb, but the AB of Ain B’raira (no alternative). We have no alternative but to succeed, because it is the will of HaShem that we return home.
Erdogan the Turk and Achmanadijad the Iranian are vying for hegemony over the Arab Midde East. They will rant, scream and threaten because they, as all the other anti-Semites in every generation, are urged on by the guiding principle of the evil Roman general Titus who destroyed the Bet Hamkidash and killed untold numbers of Jews, as cited in the Gemara (Gitin 56b).
The Roman patrician, Onkelus son of Kalanimus and nephew of Titus was considering the possibility of converting to Judaism. He made contact with people who had died: His uncle Titus, Bil’am and apostate Jews to hear their opinion of the Jewish people.
On the question of who is significant in the world to come? Bil’am replied “the Jews”. On the matter of conversion, Bil’am advised Onkelos not to do so, but to do everything in his power to the detriment of the Jews.
The Jewish apostates said that the Jews are the most important in the world-to-come and advised Onkelos to convert.
Uncle Titus agreed that the Jews are the chosen of HaShem and the masters in the world-to-come, but nevertheless advised Onkelos not only to refrain from joining the Jewish nation, but if he wished to become an admired personality in this world, he should lead in hating the Jews, because “All who hurt the Jewish people will rise to importance in this world”.
It seems that the world’s anti-Semites intuitively feel what the Gemara teaches us, that if you want headlines, honor and laurels the well paved road to go is to lead in Judenhass.
I am waiting to hear a news bulletin that an earthquake of unprecedented force has swallowed up half of Turkey, and nuclear explosions have made a hole in the planet where Iran used to be.
So, despite the name calling and threats from many fronts, we are confidant and believe what was said by the prophets Joel (3:5) and Ovadia (1:17) that there will be “refuge in Zion”.
2- The Israeli economy will surge from today’s Standard and Poor’s rating of A+ to AAA, while passing much larger nations on their way down. Our economy will be the modern version of Manna falling from heaven.
3- The ratio of Torah observant people will increase dramatically. The gap between the mainstream charaidie and religious Zionists will grow smaller, as the realities of life will force the charaidie population to recognize the hand of Hashem as it directs the Medina. Many more chareidim will serve in the holy army of Israel; the percentage of religious Zionists in the senior ranks of the army will continue in their rise, and the general population will continue to overcome many of their preconceptions of what life under the rule of the Torah would be like.
There will be a distancing in the relations between the Arabs and Jews in the Medina, as the Arabs will increasingly identify with the Arabs across the borders. This situation will award the State of Israel opportunities not available at the present time.
Jews in the galut:
1- In the near future we shall see the return of the United States Selective Service Law (draft), to fill the ranks of the military and of the internal security services which are now being set into place. So instead of young Jewish boys coming to study in Yeshivat with names like: Hakotel, Netiv Aryeh, Kerem Be’Yavne, etc., and young Jewish girls coming to the seminaries of Har Nof – or being accompanied by their parents under the chuppa, the dedicated Yeddishe mamas and tates will be accompanying their children to the Port Authority Bus Terminal for their childrens’ trip to camps with names like: Pendleton, Quantico, Lejeune or Parris Island.
2- Having been born and bred in Brooklyn, I am fully aware of the competitive spirit that makes sports so much a part of American life. Everyone want to be a winner, the losers are unimportant. The adrenaline rush when your team wins and the sense of dire disappointment when they lose is so much a part of the American personality.
America as a world power needs to be on the winning side. At some time, when Israel becomes evermore isolated from the international scene, the US administration – be it Republican or Democrat – will untie the bonds which our two nations have created.
That will be the point of no-return for American Jewry: Where do your sentiments lie: With the US, and Yehonatan Pollard as a weather-vane of how dual loyalty is viewed there, or to your brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael who are paving the uphill journey towards the Mashiach?
1- The next world war will break out not for religious or ideological reasons, but for a much more practical one – paper money.
The Torah states the reason for the deluge in the time of Noach:
And the land was engulfed with thievery
I believe that the verse is not referring to petty stealing, but to money manipulation on a scale that made the rich richer and left the poor to die.
We are living today in a fool’s paradise, where you believe that the piece of paper with the number 100 on it is worth more than the piece of paper with the number 50.
The major powers on the world will attack and destroy any nation that would dare to suggest that international currency should be gold or silver not pieces of paper supposedly backed by gold and silver.
One day the truth will come out that the European powers bombed Colonel Qaddaffi because of his stated intention to leave the central bank paper monetary system and re-introduce coins of silver and gold.
If China or India goes that way, it will destroy today’s super powers who do not own great amounts of these precious metals, and the economies of the Western world will revert to levels of the 19th century.
2- Mother Nature. The general future of human affairs was decided upon by HaShem when he designed the geography and topography of the planet. HaShem blessed Hagar that her son Yishmael and his descendants will be involved with the entire world . HaShem did this by planting in their area oil. The Straits of Hormuz, where more than 50% of the world’s oil is navigated can be closed very easily. That Israel is at the crossroads of three continents was planned, so that all human activity would have to consider our presence here.
Add to all the above the unforeseen involvement of HaShem in human affairs. Variability is the most unremitting and constant factor in the equation that guides our relationship with HaShem. Because the world and all that is in it rises and falls according to the spiritual level of the Jewish people – as we go, so goes the world.
On Rosh HaShana, HaShem judges the Jewish nation – its rabbis, scholars, lay leaders and all of the nation – according to the degree that we adhere to the Torah. If we are found to be meritorious, the nation will find security and tranquility. If we are found to be lacking, then Hashem releases the pit-bulls of the world in the form of Erdogan the Turk, Achmanadijad the Iranian, Hamas and Hizbala and their Islamic confederates to awaken us to our faults and hasten our return to HaShem and the Torah.
May we be wise enough to return to our essence without the “assistance” of these evil men, And may our rabbis rise to the task of bringing home to Eretz Yisrael the exiled of our nation. When this happens, the evil doers of the world will destroy each other, as predicted by our prophets and Am Yisrael will enter into the Massiach era that HaShem and we so long for.
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova,
Copyright © 5771/2011 Nachman Kahana