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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Lesson for the Three Weeks– From Our Great Teachers, Ben Gurion and Achav

Tzipisah le’yeshu’ah is a very hard mitzvah. Rashi himself points out that in common speech, when a person wants to say “not for a long, long time,” he says “when Moshiach comes.” How, then, can we hope to see Moshiach, how can we hope that our behavior will bring Moshiach, when so many generations of kedoshim and tehorim davenned, cried, and were martyred for their hopes and beliefs, and nothing happened?

I asked Reb Moshe this question, and he said that it could be that tefilloh is incremental, and with the addition of our tefillos, we will reach the level needed to be zocheh to bi’as Moshiach.

I later thought about another answer to this question. Think about Medinas Yisroel. For thousands of years, the idea that we would create an independent state in the land of our forefathers was a fool’s fantasy. We hoped, at best, to survive and live a decent life where we were, and if anyone would say that we would create our own state, with its own army, they would be seen as a delusional dreamer. But along came the Zionists, and whether we like to admit it or not, the majority of the really effective Zionists were kofrim be’ikor, sone’ei Torah, rotzchim, communists and socialists, and they made a stand, they had the chutzpa and courage to say that they will live and die for this dream, and they did it. They made what had been undreamt of for millenia into a reality. They acccomplished something unparalleled by any other ethnic group since the world was created, and they did it with a beaten, hopeless, bedraggled people for whom simple survival was taxing enough.

So why can’t we learn from them? Why can’t we do in ruchnius what they did in gashmius? If they were motivated by nationalism, by ethnic pride, by dreams of a socialist utopia for Jews, why can’t we be equally motivated by our dream of Bi’as Hamoshiach? They brought us the Guf, why can’t we bring the Neshomo? If we would lay our lives on the line, live our lives with laser-like focus on the one overarching purpose of bringing hashro’as hashechina back to Klal Yisroel, who says we couldn’t do it? The gzeiras golus that prevented us from coming back to the land is no stronger than the gzeiras golus of ruchnius. If they could do it with kefira and retzicha and achzorius, we can do at least as well with ruchnius, and ahavoh, and emunoh and bitochon.

And don’t think that there is a difference between conquering a land and bringing Moshiach. Just as the land is sitting there for the taking, if one is innovative and courageous and willing to sacrifice and unwilling to accept “the way things are,” so, too Moshiach is here, waiting for us to deserve his disclosure. There is an individual in every generation that is worthy to be the moshiach and is ready to take that role if the generation merits. ( Chasam Sofer, in the Likutim printed in the Choshen Mishpot volume, DH Hareini Nozir, #98. See also S'dei Chemed, Pe'as HaSedeh, Ma'ereches Alef, principle 70.)

And Achav has a lesson for us as well. Reb Meir Simcha, in his pirush on Parshas Beshalach, tells us that the generation of Achav was blessed with peace and tranquility because, although they were idolators who violently suppressed the Torah, they never said lashon hara and they were open handed and open hearted to the downtrodden and the poor.

I have been told that there is something for everyone in the above words-- that it is guaranteed to offend everyone, from Meretz to Neturei Karta, from the Gush to Villyamsburg. But that's why essayists, from Thomas Paine to today, found it prudent to publish anonymously. You can dislike the manner of expression, but at least think about the underlying idea.


nachumj said...

"the majority of the really effective Zionists were kofrim be’ikor, sone’ei Torah, rotzchim, communists and socialists"

what exactly do you mean?

BARZILAI said...

Bad writing on my part. What I meant was that these traits were very well represented in the Zionist leadership; I don't mean the Chovevei Tzion and the other religious groups, but rather the ones who truly were effective in realizing the dream of recapturing the land.
As for the 'rotzchim':

BARZILAI said...

Also, note that it was only the "rotzchim" part that elicited shock.

See also

Anonymous said...

Achav was certainly a kofer a rotzeiach and one of the most successful military leaders of malchus Yisroel.
Apparantly Hashem chooses his agents and we can only stand and wonder

BARZILAI said...

Strange, indeed, about Achav. Rav Meir Simcha, in his Meshech Chochmah on Parshas Beshalach, says that in Achav's time, the people were united and kind to each other, and this made them invulnerable to external threats, all this despite their Avodah Zarah and hatred for the Torah.

Chaim B. said...

The idea that we (religious jews) are the ruach that can elevate the guf created by the secularists is found in Rav Kook - nothing offensive about that. But I think you miss something, and I apologize for being a bit mystical - however the State was established, nothing can happen in this world which does not reflect a change in the olamos ha'elyonim. There would not be a possibility of a State unless somehow we had in ruchniyus earned the right to once again use the Land as a kli in avodas Hashem. And how much ruchniyus over 2000 years it must have taken to be zocheh to Yerushalayim again. You are looking at secularists as the root cause and asking where the ruchniyus is when it is right there behind the scenes making it all possible.

BARZILAI said...

Coincidentally, this morning, during shachris, I saw a letter from the Gerrer Rebbe printed in the Likutei Yehuda, in which he discusses Rav Kook. He says that he is a kodosh vo'tohor, maybe even a sonei betza (!), but his love for Eretz Yisroel blinds him to the faults of the secular Zionists.

To your point: Maybe you're right, Chaim. But I feel that the truth is closer to the Achav model, as was brought up in earlier comments. Ovdei Avodah Zarah and Son'ei Das they can be, but if they are united and are working for what they see as the benefit of Klal Yisroel, they can turn the heavens upside down. To say that our ruchnius was the spark that gave power to their energy and will may be theologically correct, but it sure looks like wishful rationalization. They did it, our contribution was too little and too late, and basically we just came along for the ride, to reap the benefits and complain that it isn't the way we want it to be.