BS”D Parashat Masai 5779
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Meeting the Mashiach Face-to-Face
(א) אלה מסעי בני ישראל אשר יצאו מארץ מצרים לצבאתם ביד משה ואהרן:
(ב) ויכתב משה את מוצאיהם למסעיהם על פי ה’ ואלה מסעיהם למוצאיהם:
1These are the journeys of the Children of Israel when they departed from Egypt united under the leadership of Moshe and Aharon. 2 At HaShem’s command, Moshe recorded their departures and journeys; and these are their journeys and departures.
Question: In the initial part of verse 2 Moshe writes “departures and journeys”, in the latter part of the verse the order is reversed “journeys and departures”. Why?
The answer to this question encapsulates the entire desert experience, and why it took four decades.
When first leaving Egypt, the newly emancipated Jews nostalgically identified with the land they were departing, even threatening Moshe several times to return to Egypt; with the concerns of what awaits them in their upcoming journeys contributing much to their feelings of uncertainty regarding their destiny in the ominous desert.
However, under Moshe Rabbeinu’s tutelage during the 40-year desert experience as HaShem’s chosen people, the emphasis in their lives changed dramatically, with the nation anxiously anticipating completing the journey to Eretz Yisrael, while growing less nostalgic over the galut place they had departed from.
It was Moshe’s task to reverse the national consciousness from that of downtrodden slaves, scrounging for a potato peel in the lands of their departure, to a nation chosen by HaShem over all other peoples, to serve as His emissaries in this world, to become effective with the nation’s liberation of Eretz Yisrael at journey’s end.
Where can you meet the Mashiach face-to-face?
The demonic head of Jew-hating is again appearing unchecked in Western Europe, infecting ever wider swabs of degenerates there. It is a good thing, yet also a bad one. It’s good because the idea of aliya is being brought out from the closet to be considered by many Jews in Madrid, Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam, Antwerp, etc., but not so good because a Jew should return home not for fear of the goy, but for love of HaShem who declared in His Torah that a Jew must reside in the holy land.
The contagious lethal virus of anti-Semitism is taking hold also in the United States. The statistics of anti-Semitic attacks show an uncomfortable increase in acts of hate against individual Jews and Jewish institutions. There is fertile ground for anti-Semitism in the US., which includes white supremacists, blacks who blame the Jews for slavery and exploitation, and Moslems who drink it with their mother’s milk, and just plain folks who visit church regularly and wear a cross around their neck so they don’t forget that the Jews crucified their god.
America is a great land, but unfortunately it is home to hundreds of thousands of Jews who are incarcerated with no means of escape. But this incarceration is not imposed by law enforcement agencies. It is a self-imposed incarceration. And the bizarre fact is that it is the emancipator himself who is the incarcerator, bar none, who is imprisoning many of these good Jewish souls. It is none other than the Mashiach himself!
Many chareidi leaders in the Chassidic movement as well as in yeshiva circles, preach that it is prohibited to go up to the holy land until the Mashiach calls for them with a limo and whisks them over land and sea to the mansions awaiting them here.
When, God forbid, mass anti-Semitism breaks out in the USA, no doubt the followers of these leaders will be told that their suffering is a “kiddush HaShem”.
It is told that a certain rabbi from the States called upon Harav HaGaon Shlomo Zalman Auerbach z”l to discuss if aliya is a required mitzva in our time. He brought with him reams of notes quoting poskim who said that it is not a mitzva or it is not a required one. To every point the guest brought up, the Gaon said “nisht vichtig” (irrelevant). Point after point the Gaon pushed aside with the reply that it’s not relevant.
The guest was perturbed at the Gaon’s replies and asked for an explanation. The Gaon said, “put down all these writings and open a plain Chumash. Every parasha screams out Eretz Yisrael”. The Torah lives, breathes and shines only here in HaShem’s holy land.
I truly feel sorry for the Jews who will have to remain under the torment of anti-Semitism because their rabbi said not go to the holy land until the Mashiach rolls out the red carpet. How sad that so many well-meaning God-fearing Jews are incarcerated by the false teachings and interpretations of leaders who are blood and flesh, with not one meriting a message from the Shamayim (the heavens). I realize rabbis, and I am one of them, make errors. We too are human.
The anti-Eretz Yisrael phenomena of pre-World War Two has returned to haunt us. Without mentioning names, how many religious leaders held back their adherents from coming on aliya even when the face of the Satan was upon them. Many told their followers in Hungary and other places not to worry, for Hitler will not enter our land. And hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews went to heaven through the fires of the crematoria.
To tell a Jew not to come to Eretz Yisrael is an unpardonable sin, tantamount to convincing a husband to leave his beloved wife, or children to part with their devoted parents. And it does not matter who says it, because the emet (TRUTH) is bigger than all of us.
My suggestion to the chareidim of the USA is to approach their rabbis and say, “We love you and your erudition, but in times like this it’s every man for himself. And you dear Rabbi, I will come to the airport to greet you when you make aliya, if indeed you get out in time”.
Remember the lessons of our parasha. Do not cling to the lands of your departure but begin now your journey home to HaShem’s promised land, BECAUSE IT IS HERE AND ONLY HERE WHERE YOU WILL MEET THE MASHIACH FACE TO FACE.
Copyright © 5779/2019 Nachman Kahana