BS”D Parashat Tzav – Shabbat Zachor (et asher asa lecha Amalek) 5771

The major issue confronting the global village today is the potentially catastrophic situation in Japan. The fourth most devastating earthquake in recorded history, a tsunami 10 meters high, and melt-downs of atomic reactors all evoke associations with the Biblical destruction of Sedom and Amora.

As mind boggling as it is, Japan is not the real story, as I wrote in parashat Nitzavim Vayalech 5766:

In lowly man’s impossible attempt to decrypt the actions of Hashem and even attempt to predict the unpredictable, the formula is quite simple: what you see is not the end purpose. An amateur billiard player hits ball number 5 which drops ball number 7 into the pocket; an expert hits number 5 which pockets number 7 but only after hitting 10 separate balls in the interim. Here too, the further you look into the future, the closer you come to the real purpose for which Hashem brings about today’s reality, as the prophet Yeshayahu (55:8) says:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts and your actions are not My actions, thus says Hashem”

Be”h we will return to this.

Our parasha is replete with the halachic terms “kadosh” (holy) and “tahor” (an undefinable concept whose opposite is tamai). An animal designated by the owner to be ritually sacrificed becomes immediately “kadosh” with no noticeable change in the animal, and a Jew loses his tahara in various ways, with no noticeable change in the person.

Kedusha and tuma (loss of tahara) are halachic states which cannot be seen, heard, weighed or measured in a laboratory. Their existence is known only by the number and severity of the halachot that they produce; the more halachot and their degree of severity determine the magnitude of their existence.

A korban Oleh is holier than a korban Shelamim, because the laws of the Oleh are more numerous and more severe than a Shelamim. The tuma produced by a corpse is more ingrained in the person than the tuma of a dead rodent, because the laws regarding the tuma of a corpse are more numerous and more severe than those of the tuma of a rodent.

But there is an additional entity in the world that is impervious to our senses, and whose existence is known only by the number and severity of what it produces – it is called radioactivity.

Radioactivity cannot be seen, heard, weighed or smelled, and its existence is detected only by the number and intensity of the clicks of a Geiger counter.

But here the similarity ends. Because uncontrolled radioactive material is deadly, with one gram of Plutonium capable of killing a million people, whereas kedusha and tahara are the conditions necessary for HaShem’s presence in this world.

As bizarre as it might seem, kedusha, tahara and deadly radioactive material are connected together in today’s events, linked by an event so obnoxious and objectionable that it defies all logic and morality.

I am referring to the showing of a motion picture.

By itself the motion picture is ludicrous, evil, immoral, biased, untrue and unworthy of any intelligent person’s attention. The problem lies not in the picture, but where it was shown and in front of whom.

On Monday of this week, the General Assembly of the United Nations screened a virulently anti-Israel film called “Miral“. [Ed. note: Miral is a drama film, not a factual documentary, which raises the question WHY was it viewed in this setting?]

Members of the Israeli delegation to the UN said the decision to screen a feature film in the General Assembly hall, especially such a dramatically pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli film, was a “horrible” one.

Jewish history is replete with evil empires that sought to eradicate God’s chosen people: Egypt, Assyria, Aram, Babylon, Greece, Rome etc., each acting on its own accord or in concert with some ally.

And each of these empires was eventually destroyed, as described in history books written by Jews.

But at this unprecedented screening event, representatives of all the world’s nations were willingly and happily being “treated” to an hour’s “entertainment” of virulent, venomous anti-Israel and anti-Jewish trash.

This is unprecedented in the long sad history of anti-Jews, for it brought together representatives of all humanity in an orgy of hate of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.

It was an anti-Jewish act that transcends international boundaries, and as such was deserving of punishment that transcends international boundaries.

Enter deadly radioactive clouds.

They transcend international boundaries, as HaShem is zealously warning and punishing those who flaunt His nation of kedusha and tahara.

Since King Shlomo declared (in the book of Kohelet 1:9), “there is nothing new under the sun”, we can find a precedent for what happened in the United Nations this week.

In the book of Daniel chapter 3, we are told (in Aramaic) that King Nevuchadnezzer erected a golden image on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon, to where he summoned representatives of all the provinces in his reign. When all the delegates were present Nevuchadnezzer ordered that at the sound of the “horn, flute etc.”, all must bow down before the idol, and the punishment for not doing so is immediate death in a blazing furnace.

As it would happen, all bowed down except the three delegates of the Jewish nation: Chananya, Misha’el and Azarya.

True to the King’s words, the three Jews were thrown into the furnace that was heated “seven times more than the usual furnace,” but instead of being cremated the King saw four figures walking around, as people do on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn after the Shabbat chulent.

The fourth figure was an angel sent by HaShem to save the three courageous, loyal Jews.

Although it might appear that the time is ripe for punishing the evil peoples in our world, like those who entered the home of a Jewish family and slit the throats of five people including a 3 month old baby, and then distributed coffee and candy in Gaza and other places where Arab settlers are stealing our homeland, it is yet too early to determine if the time has come for HaShem’s retribution for the Gentiles’ evil toward His chosen people, or merely a very serious warning of what is to come.

In any event the time for the goyim to repent and beg forgiveness for what they did to us and for what they are planning regarding the Jewish State and the Jewish nation is here.

Next week we will celebrate Purim, as we recall that the gentiles in the 127 provinces of Achashverosh were preparing to murder the Jewish people. This desire on their part is unfortunately “alive and well” in the goyish mind, but the salvation of Am Yisrael is also very much alive and well.

In conclusion:

What has happened in Japan was an earthquake that created tsunamis. In geological terms, the tectonic plate of the Pacific Ocean and the tectonic plate of the Asian mainland were crushing each other and the Pacific plate went under the Asian one, creating the energy that drove the ocean waters into 10 meter waves.

The Jewish nation is familiar with this kind of turbulence; in fact it is the history of our people.

At Mount Sinai, HaShem created a world quake by forcing the Jewish “tectonic plate” to ascend over all the others in the world. This created an historic tsunami which is in contrast to a physical tsunami that dissipates with time, as the Mount Sinai tsunami gains momentum with time.

And this week, we saw the result in the General Assembly, when the delegates of the world’s nations were part of an anti-Jew tsunami that will soon turn on them, just as the waters of Yam Suf covered the chariots of the Egyptian army.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Samayach – the ancient and the contemporary one.

Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5771/2011 Nachman Kahana