Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Revenge of G-d

By Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh
"And Moshe spoke to the people... to inflict the vengeance of G-d against Midyan" [Bamidbar 31:3]. According to the Midrash, Moshe said: Master of the world, if we were uncircumcised or rejected the mitzvot, they would not hate us. They only pursue us because of the Torah and the mitzvot which You gave us. This is therefore Your revenge – to establish the revenge of G-d." [Bamidbar Rabba 22].
The Torah which we have received is the reason behind the hatred of Israel, because through it we represent the world of the Master of the Universe, as is written: "You are My witnesses, G-d says... and I am G-d" [Yeshayahu 43:10,12]. The sages taught us: "If you are my witnesses, I am G-d, but if you are not my witnesses – as it were, I am no longer G-d." [Yalkut Shimoni Yitro 271]. The struggle of the other nations is indeed against G-d. But since there is no way to fight G-d directly, they fight against the nation which represents Him. The Ramban wrote: "'I will reply with revenge to my enemies, and I will repay those who hate Me' – They have done all of this because of their hatred for the Holy One, Blessed be He." [Devarim 32:41]. In his letter to Yemen, the Rambam wrote that because of the Torah "the other nations were extremely jealous of Him... and they wanted to fight G-d and struggle against Him, but He is G-d, who can fight Him directly?"
This concept is repeated in many verses. "We have been killed because of You every day" [Tehillim 44:23]. "They have put their hearts together, they have made a covenant against You" [83:6]. And in the beginning of the book, "Why are the nations excited, while the peoples talk in vain? The kings of the earth take a stand, and the princes gather together – because of G-d and His Mashiach." [2:1-2]. What do they want to do? "Let us remove their strings and throw their ropes away from us!" [2:3]. What strings of ours bind the nations of the world? This was revealed by the infamous Adolf Hitler, before he came into power in Germany, in a talk with the author Hermann Rauschning. "Providence has reserved for me the task of being the great emancipator of man. I save humanity from the limits of conscience and ethics, which have become independent goals, from the vile and degrading torment of the vain vision which is called conscience and morality." Hitler declared his intentions to the interviewer: "The war for control of the world is only between us – the war between the Germans and the Jews. Everything else is merely for the sake of appearance... The Tablets of Mount Sinai have lost their significance. Conscience is merely a Jewish invention... Israel, the historical nation of the G-d of the spirit, must of necessity have a hatred as deep as the abyss for the German nation, which worships the god of nature. Peace between these two gods is an impossibility."
Here is what Rav Kook wrote about the reason for anti-Semitism: "Until the coming of the future redemption, the only influence we have on the world is to teach obligations, morality, and justice... The world does not want to accept any obligations, and if they do accept them, they maintain in their hearts a grudge against the main ones who have dissipated the information about the obligations, who do not allow the barbarian soul to expand."
In the future, all the people will recognize the value of the influence of Judaism and its contributions to humanity, and therefore "ten men from all the other nations will take hold of the edge of the garment of every Jewish man, and they will say, we will go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you" [Zecharia 8:23].

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