Friday, February 22, 2013

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Tetzaveh Shabbat Zachor 5773

Parashat Tetzaveh Shabbat Zachor 5773

More words have been articulated in attempts to disclose the hidden meanings behind the Purim story than all the poured wine at the feasts in Shushan. But despite the diverse opinions, no one can take issue with the one critical word in the Megila that encapsulates the visibly apparent flow of events.
That word is "Venahafoch" meaning the apparent reality rebounded and was reversed (Megilat Esther 9,1)
ובשנים עשר חדש הוא חדש אדר בשלושה עשר יום בו אשר הגיע דבר המלך ודתו להעשות ביום אשר שברו איבי היהודים לשלוט בהם ונהפוך הוא אשר ישלטו היהודים המה בשנאיהם:
In the twelfth month, the month of Adar, on the 13th day the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to subdue them, but it (the reality) was reversed and the Jews subdued their enemies.
Every diabolical plan that was construed to destroy the Jews was reversed. Haman’s contrivances to kill Mordechai engulfed Haman himself, when he found himself with a noose around his neck about to he hanged on the 50 cubits high gallows he had prepared for Mordechai. The planned annihilation of the entire Jewish nation in one day, which even the Germans could not do, ended with a great military victory for HaShem’s side. Every attempt to prohibit the rebuilding of the Holy Temple was thwarted, and the outcome of the entire Megila episode climaxed in the Temple’s reconstruction, lead by Ezra the Scribe and Nechemia.
Parshat Tetzaveh which deals with the construction of the Mishkan - the forerunner to the Bet HaMikdash, and Parshat Zachor which deals with Amalek, the ultimate enemy of Am Yisrael, and the holiday of Purim where behind the scenes HaShem was very much present to save His chosen people - all converge in our time in the guise of Medinat Yisrael.
Medinat Yisrael, like the Mishkan, is the harbinger of the future Torah State in all of our Biblical lands with the Bet Hamikdash, Sanhedrin and restoration of the Davidic monarchy. Islamic Amalek will go down to its grave in its efforts to prevent the Medina from rebuilding the Bet Hamikdash on the Temple Mount and the diabolic plans of Iran, today’s Persia, to destroy the Medina in one day will be its undoing. It does not take a great Torah scholar or a professor of history to realize that the awesome, inexplicable and staggering survival and thriving of the Jewish State, like the episode of Purim, cannot be explained other than HaShem’s loving guidance orchestrating behind the scenes the events of our lives.
The principle of "venahafoch" (reversed reality) is very much a part of our daily lives. Our most meticulous plans are always up for review in the shamayim (heaven), starting with one’s personal life, up to the highest echelons of world leaders.
I would like to try my hand at predicting some "venahafoch" scenarios in our present circumstances, which I believe could happen.
President Obama and his designs for the United States.
The American President believes that the United States has to limit its military involvement in international affairs. He presents some convincing points, although a sceptic might have reason to think that the real reason for the President’s desire to cut back on the military is his intention that the less the US military is capable of intervening in global matters, the easier it would be for Islamic Jihad to establish their dream of world caliphate. But, of course, that is the thought of sceptics.
The President stubbornly wants Senator Chuck Hagel to be his Secretary of Defense to oversee the diminishing and weakening of the world’s strongest army by lowering the defense budget, against the wishes of the US military.
The President promised that in 2013 he will withdraw 35,000 troops from Afghanistan, with the remainder to leave in 2014. This will, in fact, pave the way for the Taliban return to Afghanistan, to once again crush the people under the tyrannical boot of Sharia Islam.
Now for the "venahafoch".
The realities of "real politic" will force the loyal Americans in Congress to oppose the President, and in fact dramatically increase the military budget. The North Korean threat. China’s military expansionist dreams in the Pacific and South East Asia. The planned monopolization of raw materials in Africa by the Chinese. The Iranian Nuclear threat an their plans to engulf the oil rich states of the Gulf, and Islamic expansion in Africa. All these and much more will force the President to sign bills to expand the US military as never before. To this add the necessity to have a very large internal police force as part of the Department of Homeland Security, to deal with the expected mass riots in the US when unemployment will reach 20%.
Very soon Chuck Hagel who is intended to be Obama’s butcher will revert to "Hagel Ha’zahav," who will oversee the huge spending for military purposes.
And as the military grows the inevitable result will be the military’s growing influence on the government and the nation’s legal process. And that’s just the beginning!
Indeed venahafoch!
But what does this have to do with the Jewish communities of America?
Answer: It will create a situation whereby aliya to Eretz Yisrael will be close to impossible.
The increase in military might and the very large internal police force of the Department for Homeland Security will, by necessity, require the reinstatement of the Selective Service Act. Your sons and daughters will be drafted into the US army.
There will be no exemptions for divinity students, and no more one or two years learning in a yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael. When the law is re-enacted, boys and girls from the ages of 14 to 28 will be prohibited from leaving the country.
To make matters worse, the necessity of supporting such a large internal and external military will necessitate limiting the dollar flow out of the country.
Between the draft and the limit of foreign spending, aliya will become a dead issue for American Jews.
Following is a short story I wrote, which appears in the first volume of the book "With All Your Might".
The phone rang in the nearly empty, topsy-turvy home of the Levines as their prepare for their aliya to Eretz Yisrael..
Mrs. Beth Levine nervously let the wrapping cord fall from her hand as she ran to answer the phone. Too late. The light on the phone’s base signaled that there was a recorded message.
She pushed the "listen" button and a familiar voice spoke: "Hello, this is Miri from Nefesh be’Nefesh. I have two messages for you; a happy one and another, a bit disappointing. The movers will be coming to your home tomorrow morning, Monday, at exactly 7:00 AM, so please be ready. And the not so happy news.
I know how much you wanted the three ABC seats by the window, because of your names Al, Beth and Carol, plus the adjoining D seat of the middle section for David, on this Thursday’s flight. But because you are a family of four you were assigned the four DEFG seats in the middle section. In any event, the thrill of going on aliya will certainly overshadow such minor irritations. Aliya tova!"
Miri was so right, Mrs. Levine thought to herself. The thrill of a dream-come-true leaves no room for such mundane issues as seating on a plane; although it would have been nice to see the coastline of Israel drawing closer as the "wings of eagles" brought them home.
Al and Beth Levine had decided to come on aliya five years ago, when Carol was ten and David had his bar-mitzva. However, it took five years for Al to find a suitable replacement in his law firm; in addition, selling the house for the right price was a protracted process. But thank God, the local shul bought it to serve as the community home for whichever rabbi would be serving at the time.
In the interim, the Levines kept up with current events in Israel, as well as developments in the Middle East, and kept their dream alive.
Tensions were high. Iran, patron of the murderous Hezbollah and Hamas gangs, continued to develop a nuclear capacity. The United Nations Security Council passed a limited economic boycott resolution against Iran, and in an angry knee-jerk response, the Iranians decreased their sale of oil, causing the world price to jump to $100 a barrel! As if this was not bad enough, Venezuela’s leftist president signed a ten year agreement to sell its oil exclusively to China, which brought the price of gas at the pump to $7 a gallon, with no sign that this would be the final price.
But none of this could detract from their decision to come on aliya.
David is to begin Bar Ilan University right after the holidays and Carol is registered in the Ulpan in Kiryat Arba. David was the crisis person in the decision. Youngsters of his age in Israel are drafted into the IDF, but David was promised that he would be permitted to finish his BA uninterrupted by army service.
With this issue behind them, there was really nothing to prevent the Levines from taking the step of a lifetime.
The one annoying factor in their aliya was the attitude of some relatives and friends, who, perhaps for reasons of jealousy or personal weakness, were very critical of their aliya plans. "What’s the rush? Wait until the children finish school. You’re now at your peak earning power. Is this the time to leave?"
On the other hand, the Rabbi was wonderful. On Shabbat he spoke from the pulpit on the mitzva of living in Eretz Yisrael. He praised the Levines, saying how they would be missed in the many areas of their community involvement. Al for giving up his Sundays in order to coach the shul’s little league team; Beth for being the Shabbat kiddish co-ordinator; Carol for helping her mother with the kiddishes and David for managing the shul’s teen activities.
But, of course, the Rabbi was careful to point out that the mitzva of living in Eretz Yisrael was in the category of a four-cornered garment, which although not mandatory to wear, if one should do so he would be required to attach to it tzitzit and merit a mitzva. So too, one is not required to "go up to the land" until the Mashiach comes, but if one should do so he merits a great mitzva.
To their skeptical friends and relatives, Al would respond that there have been so many warnings of late that the time has come to go home. So if not now, --- when?
The tensions in various areas of the world forced Congress to upgrade the military.
The following day, on Monday, true to Miri’s message, the movers arrived at 7:00 AM sharp to take all the worldly possessions of the Levine family to the packing company, and from there to Israel.
Packing was an unforgettable experience.
Beth Levine stood wondering how they "succeeded" in 20 years of marriage to accumulate so much "stuff". They began in the attic, which served as a nostalgic trip into the past. Many memories were evoked as they rummaged through their possessions. The less-than-modest wedding gown which Mrs. Levine did not want her Carol to see. A 78 RPM record player, Al’s catcher’s mitt, which he could not part with. Old photographs from the Pineview and Pioneer Hotels and summer camps. How these experiences have sweetened with time.
But life goes on. And with a mental scissors they will be severed in the light of the new life in the Promised Land.
Eventually, much was give away, more was thrown out, and the necessary articles were now packed in cartons to be shipped off.
In the packing process, the Levines concluded that Moshe Rabbeinu was so right in ordering the Jews to leave with only a few matzot, because if they would have been permitted to bring their possessions we would still be in Mitzrayim.
Ten in the morning and the movers had finished about half the work. A Western Union messenger suddenly arrived with a telegram for Mr. David Levine.
Al signed for it, opened the envelope and read aloud.
"Greetings. You are hereby informed that The President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and Congress in emergency session, have passed the Selective Service Act of 2013, to be enforced immediately. You are hereby ordered to report on May 14, 2013 to the Induction Center at 1948 Independence Ave. for induction into the armed services for a period of not less than three years. You will be sent to Paris Island, Georgia, to commence basic training as a proud United States Marine. Your passport will be on hold until the completion of your military service. Good luck and God’s speed to you in the service of your country."
Al handed the telegram to Beth as the phone suddenly rang. He got there too late to answer, but the light on the phone’s base signaled that there was a recorded message.
Al pushed the "listen" button and a familiar voice sounded.
"Hello, this is Miri again from Nefesh be’Nefesh. Good news. Due to several unexpected last minute cancellations we have been able to get for you the three ABC seats near the window and the D in the middle. Derech Tze’lei’cha."
HaShem works with a stop watch!
But, unfortunately for the Jews of America, the reply of their rabbinic halachic experts will simply be, that as citizens of the United States, which has given so much to the Jewish people, if there will be a draft then it would be a Torah obligation to close the Gamarot and answer the call.
Good Luck!
Here in Eretz Yisrael the principle of venahafoch works overtime.
There is an anecdote which was relevant for many years but is now irrelevant. Why did the Jews wander for 40 years in the desert before coming into Eretz Yisrael? The answer: Moshe was searching for a place in the Middle East where there was not one drop of oil or gas, and that took 40 years.
Today, baruch HaShem, in view of the huge gas and oil finds in the waters off our coast, Israel will soon be a major gas exporter. In fact our gas finds are the largest ones discovered in the world in the last decade.
The oil in the ground of the Medina which can be released by fracking is estimated to be larger than the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia!
Not bad for a country the size of New Jersey, whose claim to be the Torah capital of the world goes unchallenged . Whose scientific achievements are at the cutting edge of all scientific disciplines. Whose military, although small, is the smartest in the world which the three hundred million Arabs in the immediate vicinity do not dare to challenge.
Nothing here makes sense, except when viewed according to the principle of venahafoch. In Eretz Yisrael reality is not what you see, but what the hand of HaShem performs behind the curtains of history.
HaShem still has much to do here before we can sit back and celebrate the coveted "yom sh’kulo shabbat" - a time which will be as a never-ending Shabbat. But it WILL happen, and happy is the Jew, in this world and in the next, who merits to take part in the return of HaShem’s shechina (holy spirit) to Eretz Yisrael.
My most important prediction regarding the world and specifically Israeli society will wait for next week, after we all sober up from Purim.
Shabbat Shalom and Purim Samayach
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773-2013 Nachman Kahana

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