Thursday, September 13, 2012

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Netzavim-Vayailech 5772

Parshiot Netzavim-Va’yailech 5772

Devarim 29:9-10

אתם נצבים היום כלכם לפני ה' א-להיכם ראשיכם שבטיכם זקניכם ושטריכם כל איש ישראל

You are all standing today in the presence of the Lord your God, the leaders of the tribes, your elders and law enforcement officials, and all the other men of Israel.

And Rashi explains:

החשוב חשוב קודם ואחר כך כל איש ישראל:

Moshe greeted those standing before him in order of (national) importance.

By indicating the different statuses of the people, Moshe was voicing a fundamental principle that no two people are created equal, neither physically nor in their stations in life, just as in a snow storm of tens of billions of snow flakes where no two are identical, even though each one has six points like a Magen David. The rungs of the ladder of importance are decided upon by the Creator Himself. The Gemara (Berachot 58a) states that even the lowly official who deals with the irrigation drains is appointed from heaven.

Midrash Tanchuma in parashat Bo states:

Until HaShem chose Eretz Yisrael, every land was potentially suitable for HaShem to reveal Himself to a prophet; but after HaShem chose Eretz Yisrael, all other lands became unfit for prophecy.

Until HaShem chose Yerushalayim, all Eretz Yisrael was suitable for the holy Shechina to dwell; but after HaShem chose Yerushalayim, all other places became unfit for the holy Shechina. Until HaShem chose the Bet Hamikdash, all Yerushalayim was suitable for the Shechina; but when the Bet Hamikdash was chosen, the rest of the city was no longer fit for the Shechina.

The Midrash continues with this thought with regard to the choosing of Aharon for the kehuna and David for the monarchy.

HaShem chooses people and places for reasons known to Him, and His choices are what distinguish good from bad, right from wrong and attraction from rejection.

The claim that all men are equal before the law is as untrue in this world as it is in the next. In this world, the wealthy retain more effective lawyers, and the powerful stand before a judge who considers the implications for himself before issuing his decision.

In the spiritual world, HaShem judges each person on the background of his potential. Two people who have committed the same offense can be judged by Hashem with very different outcomes depending on each person’s family, education, social status and many other factors.

Pirkei Avot chapter 3 states:

Man is endeared by HaShem since he was created in the image (of God, with the freedom to make choices). Yisrael is endeared by HaShem as testified by the fact that He calls them His banim (children) and revealed to them His beloved vessel, the Torah, through which He created the world.

The Midrash Tanchuma (parashat Re’ah chapter 8) states:

Eretz Yisrael is endeared because the Holy One Blessed Be He has chosen it. For when HaShem created the world He divided the earth among the nations but chose Eretz Yisrael as His own.

Indeed, how proud and yet humble we must be for being chosen by HaShem to live in His chosen land.

We are the vessels chosen by the Creator to bring about the redemption of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, and from us the redemption of all mankind.

The approaching new year of 5773 might bring unprecedented challenges to us in Eretz Yisrael and to the world as a whole. We might witness again episodes similar to those which led up to the dangers in the time of Purim and our salvation through HaShem’s intervention for His nation.

We will probably lose some international friends and allies, which would redirect much of our activities and thinking back to HaShem.

As we draw closer to the advent of the Mashiach, life will become mercurial and very erratic, and our faith will be tested.

The weak will leave.

The feeble and irresolute will not come.

The powerless will beg for compromise and the cowardly will offer surrender.

Those families who have stood the test of time will rise to the occasion, and with total faith in HaShem will overcome all obstacles.

After another year of writing these messages, when the Jewish population in Eretz Yisrael has reached (kain yirbu) six million, and while I have yet to make so much as a dent in the stiff-necked attitudes of religious leaders in the galut, who cling to their delusions that they will be forever safe there, I wish to offer to all my heartfelt blessings.

So to all my brothers and sisters - those for whom (in their words) Shabbat would not be the same without these weekly thought, as well as those who do not permit them in their homes for fear of upsetting the shalom bayit equilibrium between the religiously petrified parents and still, somewhat, ideologically prone children - to all I offer my heartfelt blessings for a ketivah and chatima tova.

May Hashem bless us all with the foresight and courage to sanctify, in life, His Holy Name through Torah and rebuilding of His Holy Land.

תשע"ג - תהא שנת עלייה גדולה

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5772-2012 Nachman Kahana


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