Parashat Vayeira 5773
Rabbinic sources relate that the Torah was an entity in HaShem’s "mind" 974 generations before creation, and another ten things were created prior to the Big Bang - the moment of physical creation. Human logic was obviously not one of them.
Therefore, when human logic comes into conflict with Torah - whether it be a Torah law or the spirit of the Torah - human logic yields.
The ten trials of Avraham, including the Akaida (binding) of Yitzchak, were for Avraham totally illogical at the time; but he subjugated his logic in order to fulfill HaShem’s command despite the "irrationality" of what he was commanded to do.
We too are very often thrown into an arena of irrationality that pits our intelligence and experience against the impenetrable wall of Halachic requisites. Try to explain to the uninitiated the concepts of tahor and tamei, kashrut or chalitza or any of the myriad details that constitute Judaism. The authoritarianism of Torah will always conquer the human desire for freedom of thought, expression and action.
I am no longer a part of the American scene. I lived in the USA for 24 years before coming home; and as of now, for every day spent in galut, I have lived 2+ days in Eretz Yisrael. I am annoyed, to say the least, at our leaders who feel the necessity to be under the protective wing of Washington and, in many instances, to sell the nation’s interests in return for a smile from a US president who is not our president.
The US is about to elect its next president; and, as an Israeli, it is none of my business to suggest to US citizens for whom to vote. But as a Jew and a Rav, I have a religious responsibility to voice my opinion - when it applies to the Torah - in the way that I understand it.
Last week, I wrote that Obama is dangerous for Israel. His personal beliefs are with our worst enemies, may they be Sunni Moslems or Shi’ite Moslems. He is covering up, but we all know that deep down he is protecting the Iranians, and subtly and clandestinely aiding them in their quest to rid Eretz Yisrael of the Jewish people.
His opponent Mitt Romney is a good man. His background is filled with altruistic actions, including generous gifts to charity. He is a good friend of Israel. He is all the things that Obama is not, and would make a much better president for the Americans and for Israel’s interests.
But Romney is an elder in a religion that is defined by us as avoda zara.
Here we have an example of the dictates of logic to vote for the man Romney and not for the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Obama.
This is not an isolated instance in the lives of our fellow Jews in the galut, where the gentile experience places us in halachically-compromising situations. To live in galut presents the Jew with religious challenges not once in four years but at every moment. Life in the galut produces a split personality in Jews that drives them to create ideological positions which are intellectually ludicrous at best and life threatening at worst. There are spiritual leaders in the galut who still teach their adherents to "do nothing until the Mashiach comes," despite what we have undergone in the Shoah by doing nothing. Others say that it is easier to educate children in the galut than in Israel, despite the obvious fact that we have developed a Torah empire here never seen in the last 2000 years. This "scratch in the brain" regarding Eretz Yisrael took its toll in the 20s and 30s of the last century, when so many religious leaders encouraged their people to remain in Europe rather than come to Eretz Yisrael.
It seems that the gentile lands of the galut produce static interference in the usually brilliant Jewish mind.
The most dangerous and erroneous aspect of the situation that is Jewish life in the galut of America is the feeling among Jews that they are equal citizens. The president of the US is their president, the election booth is their inalienable constitutional right, the "stars and stripes" is their flag, and the land upon which their summer home is built is their land.
All these things are an optical illusion that can be shattered at any moment when a gentile nation is in crisis.
Remember that you are Jews in body and soul. Your nation is the Jewish nation. Your land is Eretz Yisrael. Your constitution is the Torah.
This coming Tuesday, on November 6, vote. Vote with your heart and decide to come home now. Vote with your feet by going to the appropriate Israeli authorities or to Nefesh B’Nefesh and apply for aliya. Vote with your voice by announcing to all those close to you that you are coming home.
B: Hurricane Sandy
I recall the first time when I rode to the peak of Metzada in a cable-car and realized that my life was dependent on a steel cable 5 centimeters wide. How mistaken I was, because the reality of our existence is no more than a vulnerably fragile and delicate interwoven textile thinner than a spider’s web.
In one moment, our lives can be altered by the change in the direction and velocity of the wind, the height of the waves or the surge of the sea. The fortress of our homes can be shattered, and we can find ourselves as brothers and sisters to the poor souls we see in the pictures of the refugees in Darfur and the Congo.
The uncontrollable vicissitudes of life are evenly divided among all people. They dominate our lives in the galut as well as in the Holy Land. But here we are covered by the best Insurer possible.
The Torah states (Devarim 11:12)
ארץ אשר ה' א-להיך דרש אתה תמיד עיני ה' א-להיך בה מרשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה
It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
It is tragic to lose one’s home. It is depressing to lose a car or any other possession that we work so hard to attain. But the ultimate tragedy is to work and toil for years, and then wake up one day and realize that your life has been spent on the trivial and mundane when it could have been so much more insignificant.
Copyright © 5773-2012 Nachman Kahana