BS”D Aikev and Re’ai 5773

This morning I was witness to an episode which took no more than the time to say three small words, but which encapsulated all that I have been writing these 11 years.

I entered a small cafe in the center of Yerushalayim for a cup of coffee. Queuing in the line before me were 4 youngsters from Baltimore who had just graduated from yeshiva high school and were here on a visit. The sales girl was a young woman who spoke perfect American English, and one of the boys asked her in a tone of disbelief, “What are you doing here?” To which she replied very simply, “I’m being Jewish”.

Dear reader, do you understand what she meant when she said “I’m being Jewish”?

She did not have 12 years of yeshiva education behind her, as these four young men from Baltimore had. Yet they could not understand why a young Jewish woman from America would want to live here, while for her it was so plain, that to be Jewish means to live in the Jewish homeland.

Twelve years of yeshiva education and you end up with a hollow neshama, while this young lady’s neshama is so sincerely attached to Hashem and being Jewish.

This incident reinforces and intensifies my observations over these many years that you either “have it” or you don’t. That the will to be a totally dedicated and committed Jew, of which living in HaShem’s holy land is a fundamental condition, is located in the deep recesses of an authentic Jew’s neshama.

I would even go so far as to state that a Jew in chutz la’aretz – not withstanding his position or erudition – is in principle no different than a conservative or reform Jew who picks and chooses the mitzvot which suit him.

Part A:

We are now witnessing events of biblical proportions, although they are being played out by little people. For at the end of the day, the Jewish nation will have advanced dramatically in our trek towards the final geula (redemption).

The little people are Tzipi Livni the Jewess, Arakat the Moslem, and Obama whose personal loyalties are a carefully guarded secret, in coordination with the hypocritical Christian nations of Europe.

Livni is the daughter of our righteous forefathers. Arakat serves as the messenger of that uncivilized, untamed “pereh adam” Yishmael, and Obama lives the life of the hypocritical Aisav with his devious European friends.

The entanglements and rivalries of the Biblical personalities are being enacted on the national and international stage by the State of Israel vs. the cruel and murderous Islam under the so-called auspices of the “impartial” United States administration and the European Union.

We were forced to the negotiating table under threat of economic boycott by Europe and by the veiled threats of the American Secretary of State Kerry.

To learn the true nature of the Arab mind, one need not go any further than Syria, Egypt and North Africa to see what they do to their own people in order to understand what they would do to us if they had the opportunity. Obama and the Europeans know this, yet they pretend to uphold our interests while forcing us to give the Arabs more and more concessions which threaten our people.

It is Yishmael in the guise of Islam who drives the Arabs to do all in their power to uproot the Jews from Eretz Yisrael, and it is Aisav in the guise of Christianity who cynically and dubiously plans, step by step, to erase the name of Israel from the map of the world.

Part B:

On this background, HaShem is providing the renowned rabbis and roshei yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael with an unprecedented opportunity to sanctify His great name. I say “in Eretz Yisrael” because those in the galut are irrelevant to what is and will happen in the Holy Land.

Both the gedolim of the religious Zionist persuasion and the gedolim of the chareidi camp learn the same texts. But where the highest ideal of the chareidi is to separate from the world and be totally engrossed in texts and theory, the religious Zionist gedolim merge our national life with the Torah to solve the halachic problems that arise in maintaining a modern nation.

HaShem is presenting the two camps with the rare opportunity to share the same stage of leadership.

In parashat Aikev, Moshe Rabbeinu implores the people not to be intimidated by the facts on the ground. The enemy is many. His strength is legendary. He is a giant and fortified in great walled cities. But despite the circumstances where logic dictates that the Jewish people have little, if any, chance to liberate the Holy Land, Moshe dictates that we must believe that HaShem will make us victorious over all our enemies, as follows:

(טז) ואכלת את כל העמים אשר ה’ אלהיך נתן לך לא תחוס עינך עליהם ולא תעבד את אלהיהם כי מוקש הוא לך ס

(יז) כי תאמר בלבבך רבים הגוים האלה ממני איכה אוכל להורישם

(יח) לא תירא מהם זכר תזכר את אשר עשה ה’ אלהיך לפרעה ולכל מצרים

(כ) וגם את הצרעה ישלח ה’ אלהיך בם עד אבד הנשארים והנסתרים מפניך

(כא) לא תערץ מפניהם כי ה’ אלהיך בקרבך אל גדול ונורא

(כב) ונשל ה’ אלהיך את הגוים האל מפניך מעט מעט לא תוכל כלתם מהר פן תרבה עליך חית השדה

(כג) ונתנם ה’ אלהיך לפניך והמם מהומה גדלה עד השמדם

(כד) ונתן מלכיהם בידך והאבדת את שמם מתחת השמים לא יתיצב איש בפניך עד השמדך אתם


16 You must destroy all the peoples the Lord your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

17 You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?”

18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.

19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.

20 Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornets among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.

21 Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.

22 The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.

23 But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed.

24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them.

Today’s leadership of the Medina does not have the strength and endurance to stand up to the pressures being applied by the United States and its European allies. The Jewish people has existed from time immemorial through our emunah (belief) that the Holy One Blessed Be He will give us life and we shall overcome all our enemies.

The courage to say “no” can come only from a united religious leadership who, through their conviction in the holy word of HaShem, can bolster and give support to the currently secular leadership of the country.

This can be the finest hour of religious Jewry in Eretz Yisrael, when under the umbrella of the Torah the government says “no” to dividing Yerushalayim, says “no” to giving away even a centimeter of the Holy Land to our most vicious enemies, and says “no” to any building limitations anywhere in Eretz Yisrael.

For sure it will not be easy, but here is the ultimate test of belief that HaShem is applying on us.

If the chareidi leadership slides back to bowing before the threats of Yishmael and Aisav, their people will suffer. They have not yet internalized the reality that the galut ended with the establishment of the Medina, and if so many Jews are still in the galut it is no longer a punishment for the sins of yesterday but it is per se the committing of a new sin every day they do not return home.

What ever the chareidi gedolim choose to do, the religious Zionist gedolim will defend the legitimacy of HaShem’s promise to our forefathers that the Holy Land belongs solely to their children and that they will return to reclaim the land in accordance to the boundaries described in the Torah.

In this week’s parasha Re’ai, we are given the choice of life or death. Life is the gift presented to those who cling to HaShem, and death is for those who lead their lives according to the guidelines of human logic without faith and emunah in HaShem.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773/2013 Nachman Kahana