What Asaph saw: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Bechuko’tei and Yom Yerushalayim 5775
Parashat Bechuko’tei and Yom Yerushalayim 5775
כלה ה’ את חמתו שפך חרון אפו ויצת אש בציון ותאכל יסודתיה
The Lord has given full vent to His wrath;
He has poured out His fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion
that consumed its foundations.
Torah Temima on the words, ‘consumed its foundations”:
כתיב (תהלים ע”ט) מזמור לאסף אלהים באו גוים בנחלתך, אמרו ליה לאסף, הקדוש ברוך הוא החריב היכל ומקדש ואתה יושב ומזמר, אמר להם, מזמר אנכי ששפך חמתו על העצים ועל האבנים ולא על ישראל…
It is written (Tehilim 79), “A psalm authored by Asaph: O Lord, Gentiles have entered into Your domain (the holy Temple…) And they (the rabbis) said to Asaph, “The Lord has destroyed His palace and Temple and you sing a song of praise! (a psalm) And Asaph replied to them saying, “I praise the Lord for venting His wrath on trees and on stones (the building material of the Temple) but not on the people of Israel…
Asaph saw in the greatest tragedy to befall the Jewish nation in 500 years as the never ceasing compassion and fidelity of HaShem for His children Yisrael. That despite the fact that the quality of justice rightfully demanded the most severe punishment for the Jewish nation, Hashem vented his wrath on the physical Temple not on the Jewish population.
A motion picture is comprised of thousands of individual frames. So too is one’s life of 70 years or even a whole generation no more than a tiny frame in the larger picture of HaShem’s world plan.
And just as one cannot grasp the plot and sub-plots of a film by viewing it for one minute, one cannot grasp the plots and many sub-plots and directions in the history of mankind from the first day that Adam and Eve walked the earth even within a lifespan of 120 years.
In our 4000 year trek through time, Am Yisrael has experienced tragedies too many to enumerate and too complex to grade. Destruction of two holy Temples, exile of the ten tribes, exile to Bavel, the Shoah to mention a few. Only the Jewish people, because of our chosen status by HaShem, could have survived to this very day and even remained spiritually and intellectually vigorous and robust as we were thousands of years ago.
According to any standard, the tragedy of the Ten Martyred Rabbis in Roman times would take a front line position when dealing with human tragedy and its implications for the Jewish nation. Their death was set against the background of the 10 sons of Ya’akov, who betrayed their brother Yosef by selling him into slavery.
The Roman governor of Eretz Yisrael called together the 10 most illustrious rabbis of the time and sentenced them to death for the ancestral sin of selling Yosef.
We cry on Yom Kippur and on Tisha Be’av when reading the details of those rabbis and how they were murdered. Ghastly. Inhuman. But who can understand the ways of HaShem who sees the incidents of thousands of years ago as clearly as he sees the happenings of this moment as He weighs, calculates and then weaves their implications into the future fate of the Jewish nation.
The Torah relates that Yosef sought out his brothers in the city of Shechem, but was told by a man or angel that they had moved to Dotan, north of Shechem. When the brothers saw Yosef approaching, they threw him into a pit of serpents and scorpions, and then he was sold to Yishmaelites.
The murder of the Ten Martyred Rabbis was in lieu of the punishment that should have been enacted on Yosef’s ten brothers.
The Mufti Haj Amin Al Husseini, spent the World War Two years in Berlin with his friend and mentor Hitler, where he organized Moslems in aiding the Nazis.
In 1942, the Mufti, with his German comrades, completed plans for an Auschwitz type extermination camp which would be used against the Jews of Eretz Yisrael when the Germans would conquer the Holy Land.
The place they chose for the camp was the Valley of Dotan, where unknown to the Mufti and his sinister friends, the sin of brothers selling their brother occurred.
General Rommel was defeated at Al Allemain in Egypt, and the Germans never entered the Land.
What we perceived for 2000 years as the tragedy of the Ten Martyred Rabbis who paid the atonement price for the selling of Yosef in the Valley of Dotan saved the Jews of Eretz Yisrael 2000 years later from the fate which befell our brothers in Europe.
The Germans and their willing allies in Europe are beyond forgiveness. The tragedy of the Shoah when over 7 million Jews – not 6 million – is so horrific that no rational person can even suggest why this befell the Jewish nation. (The evil of the Germans was so extreme that we all believed that they had reached the lowest depths that mankind can descend to, until we met the Arab and Moslem extremists. (There is to my knowledge no record of a German who willingly committed suicide in order to murder a Jew. The Arab and Moslem straps on a dynamite belt and blows himself up in a bus or restaurant just to kill a Jew).
But the ways of HaShem are so mysterious and always amazing. Undeniably, the unspeakable Shoah was the catalyst for the establishment of Medinat Yisrael, when two thirds of the member states of the United Nations felt a moment of compassion and voted for the Partition Plan in 1947. Since then, Germany has been one of Israel’s closest allies. When the US placed an arms embargo on the nascent State, Germany helped us double our population in the first years of the State.
Germany is the spokesman for Israel in the European Union, and our submarine fleet was constructed in and purchased from them.
Obviously, the Germans are doing it not because they have suddenly became lovers of Zion, but it has been their entrance ticket back into the family of enlightened nations.
In any event, the mysterious hand of HaShem is at work as He weaves the destiny of the Jewish nation.
The tragic destruction of the Bet Hamikdash saved the Jewish nation from destruction, and the tragic death of the Ten Martyrs prevented the unspeakable from being done here in the Valley of Dotan, and the Shoah shook the Jewish people out of our exile malaise to begin our return home.
In 1948, the Medina was a mere scribble on the map of the world. The dire threat of extinction was real when we were invaded by seven standing Arab armies; but this small splinter of a state defeated them all.
In the Six Day War, again the threat of destruction faced the people in Israel. But now HaShem turned Tzahal into a big stick expanding our borders three fold; and for the first time in over 2000 years, we were again sovereign over Yerushalayim.
In the Yom Kippur War, Tzahal became a powerful club, defeating the enemy comprised of Arab armies with their Soviet advisors and sophisticated weapons.
In this light, we need not fear the evil which currently surrounds us in Eretz Yisrael. The Iranians, the European Union, Russia and the soon to come betrayals of other “friends”.
HaShem has delivered the message again and again. Until today many people in the Land have finally deciphered what He means. That a great danger signals the oncoming of a far greater salvation.
That examples of the mysterious Hand of HaShem are too numerous to enumerate, but when historical events are viewed as a whole it is so clear that HaShem is holding the hand of His chosen nation and is accompanying us as He walks us across the rock strewn history of mankind.
So let us rejoice on this 48th anniversary of the reunification of Yerushalayim by HaShem’s agents – Tzahal and Medinat Yisrael. Let all who believe in HaShem as the loving Father of Am Yisrael recite the Hallel blessing, as we prepare for the next exhilarating advance in our trek to physical and spiritual redemption.