BS”D Parashat Vayishlach 5773

Part A:

Our parasha lays down the schematic plans for the future of Am Yisrael, as quoted in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Sifrei Bamidbar chapter 69 so plainly and without extravagance or embellishment:

It is a well-known halacha (immutable fact) that Aisav hates Ya’akov

Aisav or Edom – or the evil Rome as he is sometimes called – retains an immutable, ageless, constant, enduring, perpetual, unalterable, inoperable, terminal disease diagnosed as “hatred towards Ya’akov,” which is transferred to his descendants as a dominant gene.

And what we see in the parasha has been, and is still being, played out now and into the future.

The parasha records the names of the heads of the major clans which descended from Aisav: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholivamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mivzar, Magdiel (identified as Germany) and Iram.

In the years that Ya’akov and the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt, the descendants of Aisav expanded in numbers and in territory. Over the centuries, according to our tradition, the clans of Aisav relocated from the Middle East to Europe, and from there to the Americas, as they accepted Christianity and developed western civilization.

Aisav and his third wife Basmat (daughter of his uncle Yishmael) had four sons named Nachat, Zerach, Shama and Mizzah.

The schematic plan that HaShem had postulated for the Jewish nation is as simple as it is tragic. We, as HaShem’s chosen people, were destined to fall into the jaws of foreign nations, and each time HaShem would miraculously save us. HaShem’s intervention with the Egyptians brought us Pessach; the salvation from certain death in Babylon and Persia brought us Purim; the victory over the Greeks brought us Chanuka; the destruction of the Third Reich brought us Yom Ha’azmaut; and what is transpiring in these years, when we are being threatened by the descendants of Aisav and of Yishmael – each one alone and at times together – will bring us the Mashiach.

In our own time, we witnessed the most agonizing chillul HaShem that ever transpired in our long history – the Shoah – and then we witnessed the most moving and dramatic kiddush HaShem – the return of Am Yisrael to our promised land with the establishment of Medinat Yisrael.

At the beginning of the Medina, we were forced to fight the descendants of Yishmael in the War of Independence. Then we fought the combined forces of Aisav and Yishmael when the Soviet Union sent troops and material to the Arabs in the Six Day War. At its close, Jewish soldiers reached within 100 kilometers from Cairo and 35 kilometers of Damascus.

Indeed, HaShem demonstrates to us and to the world – whoever is listening – His personal, intimate relationship with the Jewish nation.

In September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, sought full member-state status at the UN based on pre-1967 frontiers. But the bid was effectively stalled two months later after Security Council members were unable to make a unanimous recommendation. Abbas has submitted a request to the General Assembly – where there is no veto power – for international recognition as a “non-member observer state” status. Last night, an overwhelming majority of the member nations in the General Assembly voted to bestow this status on the no-people, no-nation, ragtag entity that the newspapers created and called Palestine. But facts are irrelevant with goyim when they deal with the Jewish people, as an honest Christian once said, “I don’t believe that J. ever lived, but I believe the Jews killed him”.

What is transpiring today is in keeping with HaShem’s two-stage master plan: 1) to permit the various forms of evil a free hand in the world; 2) to have these evil forces victimize the Jewish people as a vicarious substitute for their ultimate but unobtainable goal of killing the God of the Jews, the Jews who have condemned them to be consciously aware of right and wrong.

Part B:

If anyone has any doubt regarding the affinity that exists between Aisav and Yishmael, one need not look further than what happened last night in the UN’s General Assembly.

There are only two entities in the world which are not national states, but the member states of the UN have granted them “non-member observer state” status: the Vatican Aisavists of Rome, and the Yishmaelites now squatting on the holy land of Yehuda, Shomrom, Azza and East Yerushalayim. They are the willing hirelings of the anti-Jewish world to make battle against HaShem’s chosen people.

Part C:

Yeshayahu 54:17

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.

Part D:

In parashat Vayishlach, the brothers Shimon and Levi annihilate the entire population of the city of Shechem.

What was HaShem’s intention in bringing about this seemingly over-aggressive, unbalanced, asymmetric, excessive, disproportionate Goldstonian reaction by nice Jewish boys?

I suggest:

Avraham Aveinu arrived in Eretz Yisrael at a time when the land was occupied by the pagan descendants of Cham, son of Noach. There were cultures and sub-cultures of avoda zara (idolatry), each according to the family breakdown into the ten “nations” of Canaani, Chieti, Emori, etc.

Avraham was very successful in advancing the teachings of monotheism. He established a yeshiva and a hotel-restaurant where many people gathered to hear the word of God.

This was obviously not to the liking of the religious and political establishment, for Avraham was undermining the core beliefs of the people by introducing God and morality which touched on matters such as family, law, treatment of slaves, and much more.

But now the charismatic Avraham and his wife Sarah are long gone. Yitzchak is old and unable to see. Ya’akov, the ben Torah, has not been seen in Eretz Yisrael for over twenty years. The only relevant descendant of Avraham is Aisav, with whom the idolators can get along fabulously, since Aisav is one of their own.

So for all intents and purposes, Yiddishkeit is no longer present in the holy land; and the natives can return to their old ways, uninterrupted by pangs of conscious brought about by those “holier-than-thou” Jews.

Then one day, Ya’akov reappears in Eretz Yisrael with his family and possessions. His arrival could have been like that of the early chalutzim 100 and 200 years ago, when they bought “a dunam here and a dunam there,” a house here and a house there, with no great message signaling their arrival.

However, HaShem speaks to people in the language that they understand. To us HaShem speaks as a father teaching Torah to his children; to gentiles He speaks in the language that they appreciate – the language of strength and war.

Ya’akov and Judaism have returned home, and the occupiers have to learn that it is no longer “business as usual”. HaShem, as the ultimate playwright, brings about Ya’akov’s return on the stage of history in an explosive manner. The city of Shechem is decimated. Ya’akov explosive reappearance is what gentiles understand.

When Ya’akov and his 69 relatives leave the holy land to join with Yosef in Egypt, the land is once again devoid of Judaism. Four hundred years later, under the leadership of Moshe and Yehoshua, Jewish sovereignty is restored. Moshe defeats the two super-powers of Og King of Bashan and Sichon King of Emori, and Yehoshua continues to destroy 31 city states in Eretz Yisrael.

We again entered the land not by “dunam here and dunam there,” but in the way that the gentiles understand – strength and conquest.

For two thousand years, the main body of the Jewish nation was in exile with only a small number of Jews remaining in the land. Judaism was not the dominant force here.

Then came the Holocaust. The enemies of our people were certain that it was only a matter of time until the world would be “free” from the shackles of Judaism and the dwindling and vanishing Jewish people.

Then in 1948, we again leaped onto the platform of history with an explosion that has caught the attention of the world until this very day. We drove back seven standing armies of Arab states in the War of Independence, and we have been dramatically victorious in all of our other wars, whenever the political level refrained from imposing restraints on the fighters.

Indeed, HaShem speaks to all in the language that they understand. We understand the kol demama daka (the soft gentle voice of HaShem), but the Aisavs of the world are impressed only by strength – with which Ya’akov is endowed when necessary.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773/2012 Nachman Kahana