Eradication of evil doers and evil ideologies: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Va'aira 5776
Parashat Va’aira 5776
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Eradication of evil doers and evil ideologies
This Shabbat, we will begin reading seven of the ten devastating plagues which eventually brought Paro and Egypt to their knees: water into blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, diseased livestock, boils, thunderstorm of hail and fire. Next week’s parsha will continue with the remaining three: locusts, darkness and the death of Egypt’s firstborn.
Only HaShem could have brought about these plagues, nevertheless, Moshe and Aharon were commanded to be personally involved by performing a symbolic act, like raising a staff or hitting the water, as a condition for effecting each plague. Why?
Judicial process vs. revenge
The book of Shmuel 1 relates how King Shaul defeated the nation of Amelek, but sinned by leaving the last of them alive – Agag, the King.
The prophet Shmuel is filled with righteous indignation at Shaul’s violation of HaShem’s command to kill all Amalek and destroy all their possessions (to the last Volkswagon).
Agag is brought before Shmuel, and in his wrath the prophet declares:
ויאמר שמואל כאשר שכלה נשים חרבך כן תשכל מנשים אמך וישסף שמואל את אגג לפני ה’ בגלגל:
As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women. And Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal.
The book of Shmuel 1 (22,3) relates that when David and his family were escaping from King Shaul, David sent his parents and brothers to safety with the King of Moav, who was a distant cousin by David’s great grandmother, Ruth the former Moabite.
The King of Moav betrayed David’s trust by murdering his parents and brothers, save for one brother who escaped.
When David ascended the throne of Israel, he avenged the death of his family, as stated in Shmuel 2 8,2:
ויך את מואב וימדדם בחבל השכב אותם ארצה וימדד שני חבלים להמית ומלא החבל להחיות ותהי מואב לדוד לעבדים נשאי מנחה:
David defeated the Moabites. He made all the men lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. The Moabites became subjects to David and brought him tribute.
Shmuel’s killing of Agag was the fulfillment of the Torah’s commandment to destroy every vestige of Amalek. But, it is apparent that David’s acts were not the result of a Torah commandment or by judicial process, they were acts of pure revenge.
The illustrious Shimshon, who preceded Shmuel and David, killed many Philistines without judicial process, but acts of revenge for the evil that the Philistines did to Am Yisrael.
There are many examples of punishment of evil-doers by acts of revenge not having come under judicial process.
Conclusion: According to the Torah, when judicial process is not feasible, victims of evil may take the law into their own hands and perform acts of vengeance against the perpetrators.
It is no secret, that at the end of the Second World War, many Jews from Eretz Yisrael who were serving in the British army in Europe, joined in groups to capture German sadists and pour out Jewish vengeance on them. I was told of the exploits of these groups by one of the proud Jews who took part in them.
The nation carried out judgement
We know Moshe and Aharon as HaShem’s messengers to free the Jews from Egyptian bondage, and to bring the Torah from HaShem to His chosen people. However, their first task was performed in Egypt much before the actual exodus.
The Egyptians were the original Nazis! They enslaved the Jewish people, degraded and murdered them and their young children. The Jews deserved the right to take revenge on the Egyptians for their suffering while the perpetrators were still alive.
However, HaShem did not want the killing of millions of Egyptians by the people who were soon to stand at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the holy Torah; beginning the next four thousand years of “Yiddishkeit” by acts of murder, as justified as they were.
Moshe and Aharon were proxies for the entire nation. When Moshe and Aharon raised their staffs to bring about a plague, every Jew felt as if he was holding the staff.
In 1962, Adolf Eichman was judged and sentenced by an Israeli court in Yerushalayim to death by hanging. On the appointed day, every Jew felt as if he was putting the noose around the neck of one of the arch murderers of our people, and that he was pulling the lever to that sent the murderer to Gehennom. That is how our ancestors felt when Moshe and Aharon raised their staffs.
Eradication of evil doers and evil ideologies
The Jewish people, as well as much of the enlightened world, are suffering from the disastrous merger of the insane religion of Islam, that depicts their god as angry and fearsome; a deity who delights in the beheadings and amputations of his own creations, together with the murderous, sadistically evil nature of the Arabs.
The Jewish people have suffered beyond words from Yishmael and his son-in-law Esav. However, the day of reckoning is approaching, as predicted by the prophet Ovadya (chapter 1):
כי קרוב יום ה’ על כל הגוים כאשר עשית יעשה לך גמלך ישוב בראשך:
כי כאשר שתיתם על הר קדשי ישתו כל הגוים תמיד ושתו ולעו והיו כלוא היו:
ובהר ציון תהיה פליטה והיה קדש וירשו בית יעקב את מורשיהם:
והיה בית יעקב אש ובית יוסף להבה ובית עשו לקש ודלקו בהם ואכלום ולא יהיה שריד לבית עשו כי ה’ דבר:
ועלו מושעים בהר ציון לשפט את הר עשו והיתה לה’ המלוכה:
The day of the Lord is near for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.
But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance.
Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau. The Lord has spoken.
People from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau, and people from the foothills will possess the land of the Philistines. They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead.
This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev.
Deliverers will go up from Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau.
And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.
Medinat Yisrael, through our holy army of Tzahal is the ‘extended arm’ of HaShem to implement the annihilation of evil in the world.
However, as it appears today, our Father in Heaven has a more elegant plan for the eradication of evil, without having to involve our holy soldiers.
Esau and Yishmael will explode upon each other, as we are now witnessing. ISIS, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Quaida are murdering Moslems in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. The Saudis and their Gulf State allies will soon take on Iran more effectively and at a lower cost to Israeli lives. Turkey and Russia. Egypt and the up-stream Nile River nations will neutralize each other. The European countries will be combatting with the millions of Moslems on the streets of Paris and London. And the Americans will be battling tens of millions of Moslems on the streets of St. Louis, Los Angeles and Flatbush.
The picture which our prophets paint of the future annihilation of evil is not be a pretty one. But, it is a law or nature that for a seed in the ground to germinate it must first decompose. So, too, the prior condition for a more perfect world is the eradication of evil doers and evil ideologies.
Let us just pray that when it comes about, the Jews now in galut will have the merit to come home to the protective embrace of Eretz Yisrael.