2015 is The 70th Year: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Yom Ha’atzmaut 5775
Yom Ha’atzmaut 5775
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
2015 is The 70th Year
On Parashat Ki Tisa of 5767-2007, I quoted the gemara in Megilla 14a that Esther requested that the Anshei Knesset Hagedola (Men of the Great Assembly) record the episode of Purim as the 24th book of the Tanach.
Her request was initially rejected based on a verse in Mishlay 24 which was understood to mean that Amalek may be mentioned no more than three times in the Tanach. The three times were already taken up in parashat Beshalach (book of Shemot), parashat Ki Taytzay (Devarim) and the victory of Shaul over Amalek in the book of Shmuel. So the addition of the Purim story would bring an unacceptable fourth time.
Subsequently, Esther’s position was validated when the rabbis agreed that the two times Amalek is mentioned in the Torah – parashat Beshalach and parashat Ki Taytzay – would be considered as one, the Book of Shmuel two and Megilat Esther three.
What does this mean?
I suggested that the pasuk in Mishlay limiting the mention of Amalek in the Tanach to three is telling us that the final redemption will occur when, in an average life span of 70 years, Amalek will be defeated three times, whereas a fourth time cannot happen.
We have a long and prestigious track record of defeating our enemies, beginning with the ancient Egyptians, continuing with the Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, etc. However, no three Amalekite empires were ever defeated in the life span of 70 years; that is, not until our time with the potential for this to happen.
Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, and 46 years later in 1991 we witnessed the downfall of the Soviet Union – two candidates for the infamous status of Amalek. The third will be the defeat of the Iranians (and others), heirs to the Persian dream who threaten daily to rid the world of the Jewish State and later the Jewish people.
In the time frame of 70 years (one average life time), beginning with the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, the 70th year will be this year 2015.
Pray Like Eyov
In Parashat Lech Lecha 5772 (2012), I quoted the Zohar at the end of parashat Beshalach, that the descendants of Yishmael (defined as those nations who practice circumcision by religious law or custom – Islam in general) are destined to cause three catastrophic wars: one on the sea, another on land and the third close to Yerushalayim.
We have been informed that US and Iranian war ships are on their way to the Straits of Bab Al Mandab, which strategically links the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. On the eastern side of the strait lies Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, and on the western side Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. It is Israel’s and Egypt’s sole outlet to the Indian Ocean from the Red Sea, on the way to southern Asia.
This explains why Iran is backing of the forces fighting to overthrow the Yemenite government (which is supported by Saudi Arabia) in order to control the straits from land.
In addition Iran has warships by the Straits of Hormuz, the outlet from the Gulf of Arabia (Persian Gulf) to the Indian Ocean, through which flows 30% of the world’s oil.
On Parshat Noach 2014, I quoted the midrashic compilation called Yalkut Shimoni in the section dealing with the book of Yeshayahu.
א”ר יצחק שנה שמלך המשיח נגלה בו כל מלכי אומות העולם מתגרים זה בזה, מלך פרס (אירן של ימינו) מתגרה במלך ערבי והולך מלך ערבי לארם (ויש גורסים אדום שהוא אירופה) ליטול עצה מהם וחוזר מלך פרס ומחריב את כל העולם (הסדר העולמי) וכל אומות העולם מתרעשים ומתבהלים ונופלים על פניהם ויאחוז אותם צירים כצירי יולדה, וישראל מתרעשים ומתבהלים ואומר להיכן נבוא ונלך להיכן נבוא ונלך, ואומר להם (הקב”ה) בני אל תתיראו כל מה שעשיתי לא עשיתי אלא בשבילכם מפני מה אתם מתיראים? אל תיראו! הגיע זמן גאולתכם, ולא כגאולה ראשונה (ממצרים) גאולה אחרונה כי גאולה ראשונה היה לכם צער ושעוד מלכיות אחריה אבל גאולה אחרונה אין לכם צער ושעבוד מלכיות אחריה.
The Midrash informs us that in the future (now) Paras (Persia-Iran) will be feared by the entire world. World leaders will “go back and forth” frustrated in their attempts to save what they can – to no avail.
Iran will make war on the King of Arabi (Saudi Arabia), who will plead for aid from foreign nations.
Am Yisrael, too, will be petrified by the pending disaster.
And at that time, HaShem will say to us, “Why are you afraid? All of this I have done in order to bring you the long-awaited redemption. And this redemption will not be like the redemption from Egypt, which was followed by suffering. This redemption will usher in a world of peace.”
So here is the setting:
The time – 2015.
The place – the Middle East.
The participants – Moslems on both sides of the arena. Iran and Saudi Arabia are at each other’s throats over Yemen, and the world’s leaders are too timid to intervene.
The world is progressing in a precise, fine-tuned staccato “march of time” to the drum beat of what our rabbis have said will occur.
In addition, I have in the past warned that the US will by necessity restore the draft to increase the military which is at the present undermanned. The draft will sweep up your sons and daughters like a vacuum cleaner from out of the yeshivot and seminaries, to fight for their adopted country in such exotic places as Asia and Africa.
And now, what about us in Eretz Yisrael? There are two essential acts which HaShem requires of us at this time: 1- To prepare our army to the best of our ability and resources, and 2- to pray to HaShem.
What should we pray for at this very fragile time in history?
1- The normal reaction of a person who is experiencing excruciating pain is to pray to HaShem for even a few minutes of respite from his suffering.
The classic example of a man whose suffering was incomprehensible is the Biblical Eyov (Job). He lost everything that could be defined as a good life. His wife and children died. All his wealth was lost and his body suffered great pain. A man in his situation would welcome a few painless moments.
However, the Gemara (Nida 30b) informs us that Eyov prayed to HaShem to give him back the ultimate physical pleasures of this world. He prayed to relive the physical and mental delight as a fetus in his mother’s womb, which according to the Gemara is the ultimate state of joy in this world.
Now what was Eyov thinking?
2- The Birkat Hamazon – grace after eating bread – contains a seemingly inappropriate request. We ask HaShem to bless us with extraordinary great wealth “as He did to our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov”.
Is this what we ask from HaShem? Are we entitled to such abundance?
The answers appear in a Mishna in Bava Metzia 49a.
Yochanan ben Matya sent his son to hire field laborers.
The son reported to his father that he had hired them and had included lunch in the work contract. R. Yochanan instructed his son to go to the men before they began working and describe in detail what their “lunch” would consist of, because an “open ended” menu would give the men the halachic right to demand the best food available. When seeing his son’s consternation, the rabbi explained that in their day-to-day lives they are laborers. However, as the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov they have the status of princes who can demand the best that money can buy.
Herein lies the guiding principle when praying to HaShem. We must present our Father in Heaven with our ultimate requests for two reasons: 1- As the descendants of HaShem’s beloved disciples – Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov – we are the nobility of HaShem’s creations; 2- Just as it would be an affront to come before a billionaire philanthropist and request one shekel, it is an affront to ask HaShem for less than the maximum. After the request is made by His Jewish children, it is in His realm to decide what to do with the request.
The lesson, as taught to us by Eyov, is pray for the maximun despite one’s actual situation.
To return to the issue before us concerning the threats facing the State of Israel.
Do not pray that HaShem should reduce the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran from two years to ten. Do not pray that terrorists be apprehended before they are able to carry out their plans. Pray that Iran should no longer exist. Pray that the evil surrounding us should dissipate as smoke from fire. Pray that all the lands promised us by HaShem be given to us. Pray for the total and immediate recovery of all Jews who are ill. Pray for the Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Bet HaMikdash.
On this Yom Ha’atmaut when reciting Hallel, think about the development of Medinat Yisrael from less than nothing in 1948 to being one of the most advanced nations on earth – a clear miracle. But in our heart of hearts, we should tell HaShem that we deserve more because of everything we have sacrificed over the last 2000 years to sanctify His holy name!