BS”D Parashat Vayaitzai 5777
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
The Ultimate Joy of Motherhood
Normal people place great value on having children. But in our parasha the desire for children and the joy and delight exhibited by our grandmothers Rachel, Leah, Bilha and Zilpa upon the birth of their children go beyond the natural feeling of motherhood.
Their delight was in the knowledge that they were chosen to be a major part in the biggest saga in human history – they were to bring into this world the beginning of the 12 tribes which would comprise Am Yisrael.
Ya’akov, undoubtedly, made them aware of the dream he experienced on the Temple Mount, where HaShem promised that his children would be the chosen of all nations to receive the Torah, inherit the Land and enjoy eternal life. Each child was a world unto himself. The characteristics of Reuven were radically different than those of Shimon; and Levi was a world apart from all the others.
To this day, every halachically born Jewish child brings with him and her a holy soul from the upper realms of the spiritual world (converts are pure Jewish souls who for reasons unknown to us had to go through the conversion process).
My grandmother Leah (being a Kohen, I am from the tribe of Levi, Leah’s third son) was overwhelmed with joy when her sixth son Naftali was born, because with his birth she brought forth half of the tribes of Am Yisrael.
Rachel was devastated when Ya’akov’s other three wives gave birth to children while she was barren, until HaShem blessed her with the 11th and 12th tribes – Yosef and Binyamin. Rachel had the unique privilege of giving birth to Binyamin in Eretz Yisrael; the only one of the tribes born in the Holy Land. And while Binyamin’s soul was descending from heaven, his mother’s soul was ascending to the highest realm of the shamayim, as she passed away just after naming the boy.
Bringing Jewish Children into the World
The Jewish nation has the questionable distinction of being one of the numerically smallest in the family of nations. To number around 10 million (halachic Jews) after being in the world close to four thousand years tells the whole story of the price we have paid to survive in a world that rejected HaShem’s Torah in search of more “user friendly” religions which permit the hedonistic desires of the human race to sin and yet feel holy about it.
A Jewish child is a perfection that passed the inspection of the Almighty Himself. The Gemara (Nida) reveals that every Jewish child while being conceived is given an angel who teaches the soon to be born soul the entire Torah. At birth the knowledge of Torah is deposited in the inner recesses of the child’s consciousness – but it is not forgotten. So that in effect when we learn Torah we are not attaining new information but retrieving what we already knew from the recesses of our inner selves.
This answers a question regarding the lovely song at the end of the Pesach Seder – echad mi yodai’ah (Who is aware of the “One”).
The song contains 13 stanzas, each dealing with a number beginning with one till 13.
1 is our God
2 are the Holy Tablets
3 our fathers: Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov
4 our mothers: Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah
5 books of the Torah
6 books of the Mishna
7 days of the week
8 days until a brit mila
9 months of conception
11 stars in Yosef’s dream
13 attributes of HaShem
All the numbers in the song relate to issues which are totally Jewish except for number 9 which is universal: The nine months of conception. Why?
In fact, there is no exception. Because the author was referring to the nine months of conception of a Jewish child, which as stated above is different than all others of the human race. These are the 9 months of Torah study from an angel – one on one.
To be blessed with a Jewish child is to expand the boundaries of Gan Eden to make room for one more holy soul.
(Judaism and the concepts stated above have nothing in common with what is commonly called racism. Race is a situation one is born into and cannot change. Just as a mouse cannot turn into an elephant, a member of the black race can never turn into a Caucasian and visa versa. However, one who was born a gentile can become a Jew and attain a Jewish neshama as if he were a newborn, hence Judaism is not racist.)
An ugly practice has entered into the mainstream of many Jewish communities in the galut and has started to trickle into our holy land. People are getting married later in life – into their thirties, rather than in their early twenties, as was the norm when I was a young man. Without going into the many negative aspects from a halachic and moral viewpoint, these individuals will in the best case bring but 2 or 3 children into the world.
Sexual perverts not only sin against HaShem, for which they will be severely punished, despite all the rhetoric justifying their right and need to be accepted; they betray the future of our nation. For any such couple will not bring a Jewish child into the world.
Late marriages, perverted sexual preferences and just regular non-orthodox families who have two children (and a dog) will eventually disappear, and the Jewish nation will be comprised of orthodox God-fearing families who fulfill the first mitzva in the Torah “pru u’re’vu” – multiply and be fruitful.
The Settlement of Amona
In the parasha, Ya’akov rests for the night on Mount Moriah, the future Temple Mount. There he sees the dramatic vision of the angels who guarded him in Eretz Yisrael ascending the ladder to return to heaven, to be replaced by lesser angels who were sent to guard him in the profane galut.
And HaShem appears to Ya’akov saying:
הארץ אשר אתה שוכב עליה לך אתננה ולזרעך
The ground you are lying on I will give to you and to your descendants
The Gemara (Chulin 91b) records the explanation of this phrase by Rabbi Yitzchak:
מלמד שקפלה הקדוש ברוך הוא לכל ארץ ישראל והניחה תחת יעקב אבינו, שתהא נוחה ליכבש לבניו
This comes to teach that HaShem folded (as it would be) all the land of Yisrael placing it under Yaakov, so that it would be easy to liberate and settle the land in its time.
Rabbi Yitzchak was expressing the idea metaphorically, that in the future Yehoshua Bin Nun at the head of the Jewish army would liberate the Land without sacrifice.
I submit that the phrase is telling us that just as a human being comprises a single indivisible entity, so too will the holy land be from this moment on an indivisible entity belonging exclusively to Ya’akov’s descendants.
International law has classified the State of Israel as a “military occupier” of the West bank and the Golan. Six UN committees have taken an even larger step towards the muck and mire of political insanity when they declared that the Jewish people have no historic or religious connections to the Temple Mount or to the Kotel.
The Israeli High Court ordered the destruction of the Amona settlement after being in place for 20 years. The court sees itself as being subordinate to international law rather than to Jewish, tradition and history.
One cannot be an occupier in one’s own land. Yehuda and Shomron are the heartland of Eretz Yisrael which was presented to the Jewish people by the Creator.
However, when one denies the Torah, it is just a short ideological distance to adopting a gentile orientation and the desire to be accepted by the gentile world.
To uproot the Amona, just as was the uprooting of Gush Katif and giving the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt by Menachem Begin, is a “slap in the face” of the Creator and a denial of our own history.
The highest goal of this generation is the return of our people to the holy land. It overrides any claim to private property some gentile might have, as in the words of Eliyahu the prophet to King Achav when he murdered Naot in order to attain his vineyard:
רצחת וגם ירשת
You have murdered and then taken possession of the victim’s property.
The Romans murdered our people 2000 years ago and the gentiles who came in their wake stole our land.
Amona will be taken down, because of the High Court’s coercive police power. But let it be recorded in the protocols of the Medina, that just as we today have to accept the court’s judicial order, that when the time comes and the law of the land will be the Torah, all people in the Medina will have to comply.
Copyright © 5777/2016 Nachman Kahana