The Book of Bamidbar and Parashat Bamidbar 5772
In our parasha Moshe, Aharon and the tribal leaders conduct a national census of men between the ages of 20 and 60 (excluding the tribe of Levi) with the final tally of 603,550.
Of these 603,550, only 2 entered the Holy Land - Yehoshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefuneh. All the other 603,548 died in the desert because they followed their tribal leaders in turning their backs on Eretz Yisrael, denying the dictates of HaShem through Moshe Rabbeinu.
The tribal leaders returned from the Land with a pessimistic appraisal of the Jewish people’s chances to defeat the powerful Canaanite occupiers. They influenced the rank and file of the nation to oppose entering the land, and they all died.
What makes the Jews in today’s galut believe that their leaders are more righteous and more clever than the tribal leaders in the time of Moshe Rabbeinu? The spiritual level of the leaders is very much different, but the crime is the same!
The Zohar states
ישראל ואורייתא וקודשא בריך הוא חד
Yisrael, and the Torah and the Holy One Blessed Be He are one
This does not refer in any way to the Christian Trinity which falsely divides God’s essence into three, the very idea of which is avoda zara (idolatry). Our three refer to the holy triangle for which HaShem created the world and in whose merit the world exists.
They are also the essence of our three holidays: Pesach, Shevuot and Sukkot.
Pesach, when the Holy One, Blessed Be He, took us out from Egypt, was the first side of the triangle, as HaShem made His presence apparent through all the miracles of the exodus.
Shevuot, the second side of the triangle, was when HaShem revealed to us His Torah.
Sukkot is chag he’asief - the holiday of the harvest, when we raise up the four species in prayer that HaShem bless the land with abundance. Sukkot represents Eretz Yisrael, where the people of Israel are commanded to live as a unique national-religious entity with the Torah as the law of the land and the Bet HaMikdash as its spiritual center.
Sukkot closes the triangle, of being HaShem’s chosen people to abide by His Torah IN the land of HaShem.
When any one of the three sides of the triangle is broken, the world descends into tohu va’vaho (chaos). When all three are in place the world will be uplifted and the final redemption of humanity will occur.
Even within the copious, far reaching potential of Jews to perform the unexpected, as in the case of the Golden Calf or the meraglim (spies) in the desert who refused to enter the Land; some situations are so out of orbit that when disturbed Jews perform them a rational Jew feels embarrassment, even pity, for HaShem.
As every day for the last 18,500 days (50 years) I lift my eyes and heart with thanks to HaShem for permitting my wife and me to come home to give our lives’ energies to rebuild our Jewish homeland. This despite the many years of galus chareidi philosophy that I was exposed to in yeshivot. A philosophy that teaches God’s chosen people 1) to consciously remain in the galut (Satmar & co.), 2) to view Eretz Yisrael is a voluntary, non-essential factor in our spiritual development (all the rest of the orthodox and chareidi Jews), until the time when the Mashiach will "unfortunately" break up the party and force them all to return to Eretz Yisrael.
On Sunday of this week, there were two gatherings of many tens of thousands of Jews; one was held in Yerushalayim and the other (lehavdil) in the Met’s baseball stadium in New York.
The one in NY was organized to warn the innocent Jews there of the dangers inherent in the internet (pornography). As it turned out, it was a big commercial for the computer companies that offer filters for the internet content. I compare that convention to a man who was swept into the bottom of the ocean while driving his car; and the first thing he did was to turn on the window wipers! American society is so decadent that one less internet down load will not contribute much to clearing up the dishonesty in the chareidi society, or the enormous drug problem in their yeshivos, and all the hidden secrets recently becoming revealed in their communities. History has shown that as the local goyim go, so goes the local Jewish community, because the dominant gentile culture permeates the pores of the Jewish community.
The proof of this is the convention itself. Tens of thousands of chareidi men coming together on the 28th of Iyar, and no one even mentioned that it was the 45 anniversary of the re-unification of Yerushalayim, under Jewish sovereignty, for the first time in 2000 years and the birthday and yartzeit of Shmuel HaNavi!
Geologists state that the continental plate of North American is moving away from Europe at a rate of several inches a year. I state that the spiritual connection of the Jews in the United States has long ago passed the point of no return from the Jews in Eretz Yisrael, and it can be rejoined only through a catastrophic event befalling the Jews in the galut.
In direct contrast, on the day of the internet convention in NY, tens of thousands of Jews converged on Yerushalayim to celebrate through prayer, song and dance in the streets on their way to the Old City. Not to mention the millions of celebrants throughout the land. Men and women, boys and girls. Their numbers swelled the narrow lanes of the Old City, with not a Moslem or Christian in sight.
HaShem peers down from on high to perceive His children. On the one side the interneters in NY with the wide brim black hats, 90% of whom never stepped foot in HaShem’s Holy Land, and never intend to do so, versus the knitted kipot young men, long skirted young women, and soldiers in olive drab military uniforms singing His praises for the wonders He has performed in Eretz Yisrael - in our own time.
I wonder. When comparing His children in Eretz Yisrael to His children in the voluntary galut, is our Father in Heaven thinking the thoughts and feeling the grief of Avraham when he compared his two sons Yitzchak and Yishmael; or the thoughts and feelings of Yitzchak when he compared his two sons Ya’akov and Aisav? I don’t know if the Jews in today’s voluntary galut are like Yishmael or Aisav, but I am sure that we in Eretz Yisrael are following in the ways of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov.
I say this with great pain because the good Jews in the galut are being led by their leaders to a bleak and desperate "no future". They are looking at an impending breakdown of civil order, where they will be caught up in the madness, while being blamed for all the ills in society. But by then it will already be too late to escape.
Permit me to divulge a nasty, little secret.
I have friends and acquaintances among American pulpit rabbis and rabbanim who teach in yeshivot, of all kinds. Many admit that they do not encourage aliya, not because they are opposed to living in Eretz Yisrael (God forbid), but if they would do so, the first question which would be thrown at them would be, "So, Rabbi, why don’t you go?"
Then they open their hearts and say to me, "What would I do there? They don’t need American rabbis."
This is an enormous admission on their part, to which I answer, "Dig ditches. Work in the building trades. Pave roads."
I admit that this sounds ludicrous, and I would never have said it had I not been witness to a conversation between a distinguished rabbi in the USA, who said to his very educated and erudite son who had returned from Eretz Yisrael after failing to find employment in his field, "You should have dug ditches, but not leave Eretz Yisrael."
There were many tannaim and amoraim (rabbis who are quoted in the Talmud) who were artisans, menial laborers, shoemakers, black smiths,etc. I know two physicians from the former Soviet Union who worked in sanitation in Kiryat Arba and others who joined the police force while waiting to be certified.
Nothing is impossible if you love enough.
There is a minhag (custom) among certain communities to decorate the bet knesset and one’s home with flowers and green leaves on Shevuot.
Whatever the reason for this minhag, in a wider sense the flowers, fruit and vegetables that grow in Eretz Yisrael serve as a definitive sign of the redemption of the Jewish people, as the prophet Yechezkel (36:8) states:
ואתם הרי ישראל ענפכם תתנו ופריכם תשאו לעמי ישראל כי קרבו לבוא:
"And you, mountains of Israel, produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.
Rabbi Abba explains the intention of the prophet when he voiced these words (Sanhedrin 98a):
אין לך קץ מגולה מזה, שנאמר +יחזקאל ל"ו+ ואתם הרי ישראל ענפכם תתנו ופריכם תשאו לעמי ישראל וגו'.
There is no more revealed sign of the redemption than what is stated (the above verse) "And you, mountains of Israel, produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.
One need not dwell in the high realms of Jewish philosophy in order to unravel the secrets of the Jewish future. Simply walk through Shuk Machneh Yehuda (the food market in the Machneh Yehuda section of Yerushalayim) or any of the markets from Metula to Eilat and you will see HaShem’s blessings on this holy land.
All the claims and "proofs" rejecting the claim that we are living in the period of our redemption melt before the simple food stalls displaying our agricultural produce.
Happy is the person who can appreciate HaShem’s wonders.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Samayach