BS”D Parashat Ki Tisa – Purim 5775
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Suspended Between Heaven & Earth
The first Rashi in the Torah quotes the question posed by the midrash Tanchuma. Since the Torah is the book of mitzvot of the Jewish nation, should it not begin with the first mitzva which HaShem commanded us – the calculation and declaration of new months and years that appear in the book of Shemot – rather than the story of creation?
The midrash explains that HaShem began the Torah with the story of creation in order to refute the future claim of the nations that the Jewish people illegally seized Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, the nations shall know that since HaShem is the Creator of all that exists, He has the right to give Eretz Yisrael to the Jewish nation at the expense of all others.
This midrash leaves us suspended between heaven and earth. We are informed that the nations will accuse us of imperialistic motives associated with evil regimes, and we will answer them with pesukim and Torah-based principles; but we are not told how it will end. Will the nations be convinced by our presentations, or will they cast our claims aside and mete out their idea of justice through war or other sanctions against us?
The Yalkut Shimoni Midrash at the end of sefer Yeshayahu (#499), quotes a tana who states that, in the future, Paras (Persia-Iran) will be the fear of the entire world.
World leaders will “go back and forth” frustrated in their attempts to save what they can, but to no avail. And Am Yisrael will also be petrified by the pending disaster.
And at that time, HaShem will say to us, “Why are you afraid? All of this I have done in order to bring you the long-awaited redemption. And this redemption will not be like the redemption from Egypt, which was followed by suffering. This redemption will usher in a world of peace.”
It is intriguing to note that the rabbi whom Rashi quotes in the beginning of the Torah and leaves us suspended – not knowing how the final scenario of the world will develop – is Rabbi Yitzchak. He is the same Rabbi Yitzchak of the Yalkut Shimoni who spells it out: Yisrael, Paras-Iran, the nations of the world. It is all there.
As quoted above, HaShem will say to the Jewish people, “Why are you afraid? All of this I have done in order to bring you the long-awaited redemption.”
How will HaShem convey this message that everything is under control? Will a voice penetrate from the heavens for all to hear? Will HaShem appear to some great rabbi in a dream and deliver the message?
I submit that the message will be found in HaShem’s timing.
Tuesday, when it was 11:00 A.M. in Washington, it was 6:00 P.M. on the 13th of Adar in Eretz Yisrael – the beginning of the Fast of Esther.
We are witnessing a repeat of the Purim episode of 2500 years ago.
Persia is once again threatening to destroy every man, woman and child in Eretz Yisrael, in one day with nuclear weapons.
A powerful leader sits in Washington with deep sentiments – if not loyalty – towards Islam and is unruffled by the threat. It is even possible that, in his heart, he is amenable to the idea, as exhibited by his patience and tolerance to this and to other Islamic regimes.
In this scenario, our Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stood before the US Congress to deliver to the world two warnings – one explicit and the other implied. He explicitly explained what Iran is planning to do once they have the bomb and the ICBMs to deliver death to every part of civilization. And the implied, very subtle warning that the free world is being led by an accomplice to the plans of the ayatollahs of Teheran.
Where do we find HaShem’s message to Am Yisrael? It is in one sentence that HaShem “smuggled” into our PM’s speech, “If we will have to stand alone – we will stand!”
Here was the call to all Jews to know that no matter the enemy or how dark the horizon, Am Yisrael will forever stand.
(וגם נצח ישראל לא ישקר (שמואל א טו,כט
And the Eternal One of Israel will not renege
Goal Oriented Deity
Nothing in the created world can stay perfectly still even momentarily, for absolute stillness would result in the collapse of its physical structure into nothingness.
On the molecular level, a massive steel girder is a beehive of activity, with its clouds of electrons whizzing around the revolving nucleus of protons, neutrons, quarks, strings, Higgs Boson, ad infinitum.
The only entity which is unchanging and at total rest is the Creator Himself. This adds one more dimension of obscurity to the already impossible task of understanding the essence of the Creator.
Although He is never changing, neither in word nor in deed, wasn’t the moment of His decision to create a world a change in itself?!
Be that as it may, HaShem as a Goal Oriented Deity, created the universe with a specific goal or goals in mind. And although we have no inkling why HaShem created the world, the dilemma applies only to HaShem’s long-range goals. However, in Kaballistic terms, His short-range goals are perfectly clear.
In addition to HaShem’s presence in the myriad spiritual worlds, He brought to this material world the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov to establish a Torah society in Eretz Yisrael, in order to provide HaShem with the appropriate sanctity for His presence here.
However, HaShem decreed that the achievement of this goal by the Jewish people was to be a long uphill challenge – one on the individual level because of the yetzer hara (one’s evil inclination stemming from egotism), and the other on the national level through the presence of external forces represented and executed by Amalek.
At the time of the Exodus, Amalek’s goal was to prevent the Jews from reaching Eretz Yisrael. Later in history, Amalek’s task was to again prevent our return from the lands of our exile, and to destroy the Jews who would succeed in reaching these hallowed shores.
The episode of Mordechai and Esther in Persia was not an isolated chapter in our history, but a microcosm of the Yisrael-Amalek clash. It was a conflict till death between kodesh and chol, between tahara and tuma, between kiddush HaShem and chillul HaShem, between justification of creation and the insignificance of the material world.
Amalek raises his ugly face at the repeated anti-Israel votes in the UN Human Rights Committee and in all the other committees of that corrupt organization. Amalek is placed on a tall pedestal in Teheran and in every mosque in the world. Amalek is present on the campuses of the USA and in the devotees of BDS.
Amalek is present wherever there is an attempt to distance the Jewish people from Eretz Yisrael or to weaken the ties that bind us to the Land and to the Torah.
Purim Samai’ach and Shabbat Shalom
Copyright © 5775/2015 Nachman Kahana