BS”D Parashat Va’yai’Tzai 5772
Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Aisav.”
The angel of the LORD said to her: “You are pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild untamed man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand will be against him, and he will live in front of all his brothers.”
Part A: HANDS
Today is the 29 of November 2011, the 64th anniversary of the revocation of the British mandate on Palestine, by a two thirds majority of the member states of the United Nations. It was to become effective on midnight between the 14th and 15th of May, 1948 and replaced by an independent Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael.
In 1917, after 400 years of Ottoman presence in Eretz Yisrael, The League of Nations assigned the Brutish-British with a mandate to govern the Holy Land by virtue of the British victory in World War One over the retreating Turkish army.
The British ruled with an iron hand. At every opportunity, they acted with indifference whenever the Arabs chose to kill Jews, as in the case of the Arab slaughter of the Jews of Hevron, Yerushalyim, Tzfat and Tiveria in 1927 and 1936. But in most cases they supplied the Arabs with weapons while disarming the Jews. Their perfidy reached a climax in 1939, when His Majesty’s government passed the British White Paper limiting Jewish immigration to Eretz Yisrael to 5000 a year for 5 years, after which all Jewish immigration would be prohibited. The British went out of their way to track and capture boats carrying Jews escaping from the Holocaust and sent them back to Europe.
The British were true to form as they acted out the wishes of their spiritual mentor – Aisav.
The etymology (study of words) states that MANDATE is a combination of two Latin roots: “man” meaning hand, and “date” meaning to give. So MANDATE when used in the international arena, means to hand over to one nation the authority to rule over another.
Here is the prophetic message that was revealed to Yitzchak when he stated:
“The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Aisav”
We were under the hands of Aisav through their proxy – His Majesty’s United Kingdom in the guise of the League of Nations’ mandate. But with the help of Hashem and mesirut nefesh (self sacrifice) of the Jewish underground military groups – Etzel and Lechi – we succeeded in expelling the hand of Aisav from the holy land.
But it takes two hands to choke a person or a nation; whose hand is the second one?
In the Musaf prayer of yom tov, the nusach (liturgy) that was designated by the rabbis at the time of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai in Yavne in the first century CE, states that we are unable to offer up to You the required sacrifices:
Because of the HAND that has taken control of Your Temple
This was a prophetic statement, because this text was formulated to refer to the Romans, descendants of Aisav, whose hands destroyed the Bet HaMikdash, hundreds of years before Islam came into the world! But the word hand (“Because of the HAND that has taken control of Your Temple”) refers also to Yishmael, the spiritual forefather of the Islamic Arabs who today lay their heavy hand on the Temple Mount.
One hand was that of Aisav through the British mandate, the other is the hand of Aisav’s father-in -law, Yishmael.
But at the end of the day, the uplifting words of the prophet Yeshayahu (66:13-14) will ring loud and clear from all the Biblical boundaries of Eretz Yisrael – from the Euphrates in the north and east until the southern border stretching to the Nile River, and beyond:
As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
And when you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like grass; and the HAND OF THE LORD shall be known toward His servants, and His indignation toward His enemies.
In parashat Toldot, Rivka, with the approval of Yitzchak, tells Ya’akov (Bereshiet 27:41-45) to distance himself from the fierce anger of his brother Aisav:
And Aisav hated Jacob because of the blessing his father blessed him. And Aisav said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then will I slay my brother Jacob”.
And the words of Aisav, her elder son, were told to Rivka. And she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, “Behold, your brother Aisav plans to kill you.
Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Rise and flee to Lavan my brother to Haran.
And live with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away.
Until your brother’s anger turns from you and he will forget what was done to him. Then I will send for you. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?”
In parashat Vayishlach, Rashi informs us that Rivka sent her elderly governess Devorah, to inform Ya’akov that he could return home.
Question: Aisav’s anger continued well after the death of Yitzchak and Rivka, indeed up to this very day, so why did Rivka send for Ya’akov to return home?
I suggest that Rivka concluded that since the 20 years of separation between the brothers did nothing to mitigate Aisav’s anger, and indeed even increased its intensity, Aisav would never live in peace with Ya’akov. At this point, Rivka sends for Ya’akov to return home in order to face his brother Aisav. Rivka was telling Ya’akov that with the courage of a man steeped in the love and fear of Hashem, he would succeed in surviving and even thriving at the emotion-filled meeting of the two brothers and their two very different ways of life.
Ya’akov realized, as did his mother Rivka, that the time for running away had long since passed. And that he, as the third of the patriarchs of the future Jewish nation, must set an example of trust in HaShem regardless of the seemingly disastrous factors at hand.
We, in Eretz Yisrael, have inherited the trait of courage from our forefathers, from King David and from the Chashmonaim (Macabees).
However, there are some elements in the Jewish nation who it appears not to have been blessed with this particular characteristic of courage.
The “Satmar” is synonymous with the thinking that opposes Medinat Yisrael. This point of view is, in fact, divided into two schools (not to be confused with Beit Hillel and Beit Shamai): 1) The mainline charedi thinking of not relating practically or emotionally to the Medina, because it was established by non-observant Jews; and 2) the more extreme school of Satmar, which contends that we are prohibited from taking any action in our emancipation from galut, even in order to establish a Torah-true Medina.
The Satmar Rebbe based his teachings on three vows recorded in the Gemara (Ketuvot 111,a):
1. We would not rebel against the Gentiles in the galut.
2. The Gentiles would not mistreat the Jews in the galut.
3. The Jews would not attempt to invade Eretz Yisrael militarily as “Crusaders”.
History has proven that:
1. We did not rebel against the Gentiles during our sojourn in their “hospitable” lands.
2. The Gentiles breached their vow and “mistreated” us in every way and in every land.
3. The two-thirds majority vote in the United Nations on Nov. 29, 1947 establishing the State of Israel made the vow of not taking the Holy Land through military force obsolete.
In addition, the presence of a near majority of Jews in the world now in Eretz Yisrael is an indisputable fact, indicating that the chareidi and Satmar ideologies are grossly mistaken.
So why is it that the vast majority of religious Jews in the United States have never even visited Medinat Yisrael? Among this majority, one can find roshei yeshivot, pulpit rabbis, grand rabbis and many fine God-fearing Jews who pass the days, weeks and months without even once thinking of Medinat Yisrael.
What about the 4000 people who attended the Agudat Yisrael convention this week, where Shabbat was a soul lifting experience? How many of them never stepped foot in Eretz Yisrael? Monticello? Yes! Atlantic City and Deal, NJ? Yes! Las Vegas? Yes! Yeushalayim – where princes and prophets walked upon the streets? No!
The answer is not in the pilpulistic dialectic of pseudo Halacha. It lies in the very human characteristic of FEAR.
Fear and trepidation of change. Fear of the enemies of the Medina. Fear of not having a parnassa (income). Fears of all sorts, real and imagined – with the common denominator that it is better to stay put rather than be a partner in the greatest miracle to have happened to the Jewish nation in over 2000 years.
The conduct of the Orthodox Jew today in galut can be summed up in one sentence regarding our parasha. In the parasha, Ya’akov has two dreams: while yet in Eretz Yisrael, he dreamt of angels ascending and descending to and from the heavens, but in Lavan’s home in chutz la’aretz Ya’akov dreamt of sheep and goats.
And as we well know, the essence of a person is expressed in his dreams.
A much quoted piece of wisdom:
If one tells you that there is wisdom in the gentile world – believe it; but if one tells you that there is Torah (Godly wisdom and morality) in the gentile world – do not believe it.
The very popular “occupy” movements are a product of Gentile chachma (wisdom) that seeks to close the great disparity between rich and poor. “Occupy Wall Street”, “Occupy Orlando” and “Occupy UCLA”. The police are not always cooperative, especially when they dismantle tents in the public parks, douse demonstrators with pepper spray, club them and then make wholesale arrests.
The demonstrators will slowly but surely create change in the attitude towards the 1% who have most of the money by taking unfair advantage of the other 99%.
Their ideas and methods are all great, so much so that the Jews in the US should adopt them, but with a slight change.
The goal should not be to occupy Wall Street or any other place on the map of these demonstrators. Our slogan should be “Occupy Eretz Yisrael”.
All the Jews in the galut should set their sights on occupying on a permanent basis Yerushalayim, Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Hevron, Shechem, Bet Lechem and every corner of this land.
Not in tents but in permanent homes. Not in the parks but in beautiful tree lined cities and towns. Not pepper spray, but cries of “beruchim haba’im” – welcome home.
The Goyim have chachma for those things which interest them. Are the Jews of the US less sensitive to what is important for the Jewish nation? Time will tell.
Copyright © 5772/2011 Nachman Kahana