Judaism: National and Religious Honor
The Prophet Yirmiyahu (Jeremian) said (13,17):
ואם לא תשמעוה, במסתרים תבכה נפשי מפני גוה, ודמע תדמע ותרד עיני דמעה כי נשבה עדר ה'
"If you do not listen (to the warnings of the prophecy, and continue to sin, Hashem says) I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive."
The Gemara (Talmudic Tractate Chagiga 5b) explains that there is a secret room off limits even to angels, called Mistarim, where Hashem is alone every day (as it would be) to weep for the suffering of the Jewish people, which we brought upon ourselves by our sins.
Hashem weeps for the exile of His people from the Holy Land. He weeps for the decline in understanding Torah caused by the exile. He weeps for the Holy Temples which were destroyed.
But above all, Hashem weeps for the national and religious honor of Am Yisrael, the People of Israel, which was transferred from us to the non-Jews, the goyim. The pomp and ceremony which was once Yerushalayim; Jerusalem, is now in Washington, in the Vatican and in other capitals of Aisav (Esau)’s lands.
This week, the Pope was in Yerushalayim. The honors granted him were exponentially greater than those shown (lehavdil) to our own Chief Rabbis - hundreds of police sealed off streets and intersections hours before he was scheduled to even arrive and closed the Old City even to pedestrian traffic.
The Pope met with the heads of the Eastern Churches who despise him, as well as with the Mufti of Yerushalayim, who sees him as a “Kofer”, heretic. The only thing common among them is their hatred for the Jewish people, whose return to the Holy Land as sovereigns they cannot understand, nor bear.
The Pope saw the Star of David whereever he went. He was guarded by descendants of Spanish Jewry and the children and grandchildren of the survivors of Hitler’s madness, which grew and flourished in their gentile hearts well fertilized by the teachings of Christianity.
He was brought to Yad VaShem to witness our great tragedy in the hope that he would vindicate our cause, while in reality he was surely thinking that this was just punishment to the Jews for denying the "saviour".
Were it up to me, I would have taken him to an air force base to witness a squadron of F-16s with the Star of David painted on each fuselage and to listen to our pilots talking in the language of the Torah. I would have taken him to my son’s army base, where over his desk hangs the breathtaking photo of 3 Israeli jets flying over the Auschwitz death camp.
For 2000 years, Hashem has cried over the disgrace and dishonor of the Jewish people. Sixty-six years ago, in 1948, our Father in Heaven decided that He had cried enough and that we had paid enough for our sins; and the time had arrived to restore His chosen nation to the pinnacle of national and religious honor.
The process appears to be slow, but it is irreversible.
Tuma is attracted to Kedusha (that which is in a negative spiritual state is attacted to holiness):
As we approach the end of the 49-day sefira (counting) period from Pesach to Shavuot, one might ask if we should not be counting 99 days not just 49. How so? Chazal (our rabbis of blessed memory) bore witness to the fact that in Egypt the Jewish nation had descended to the 49th level of tuma (a negative spiritual state) and had to make their way up the ladder to the 50th rung of spirituality to be worthy of receiving God’s Torah - 49 levels of tuma followed by 50 levels of kedusha require 99 days of preparation.
Hashem created the world where certain things have an innate affinity for each other. The negatively charged electron seeks to attach itself to the positively charged proton. The positively charged element sodium bonds with the negatively charged element chloride to produce salt. And two positively charged atoms of hydrogen bond with the two outer negative electrons of an oxygen atom to form water.
And so, too, tuma has an innate attraction for kedusha.
Prior to the time we returned to Yerushalayim, the city was of little importance to anyone. It was a small town on the edge of the Judean desert with little to offer in the way of commerce or resources. I recall the Old City right after the liberation in 1967. The so called "Jewish Quarter" was destroyed, and the "Moslem Quarter" was an open sewer.
However, as soon as the holy Jewish people returned to Yerushalayim, the Moslems in whose unholy Koran Yerushalayim is not mentioned even once, and the Christians who staked out their fiefdom in Rome, Constantinople and other parts west, suddenly discovered that Yerushalayim is “their” holy city. Again an innate attachment of tuma to kedusha.
This serves to explain why the Pope arrived here in the week that we celebrate the unification of Yerushalayim during the Six Day War, which was the greatest miracle we have experienced since finalizing the Tanach in the time of Mordechai and Esther. Tuma is attracted to kedusha.
The Jewish people survived 2000 years of suffering and the bestial Shoah to return home and once again be sovereign over the holy city. In six days, Tzahal, the IDF, with minimum forces extended the land area under our control threefold. We returned to the Temple Mount and the Kotel, to Kever Rachel (Rachel's Tomb) to Mearat Hamachpela (the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron).
Every year at this time, the spirit of Jewish independence returns; just as the spirit of freedom returns to us with every holiday of Pesach. It is during this period of great kedusha that the tuma of Christianity is attracted to be present in Yerushalayim.
However, he came and he left. Am Yisrael Chai!
We shall not be reckoned among the nations
The majority of the world’s 7 billion people negate Christianity, and there is integrity and some moral soundness to a majority. In the same token, the majority of the world’s 7 billion people negate Islam, and again there is integrity and some moral soundness to a majority. Now since the world’s majority also negates Judaism, logic would dictate that Judaism is in the same category as the world’s other religions!
No! Because the Jewish nation is not part of the world’s consensus, and what applies to the nations does not apply to the Jewish nation.
Did Hashem not say through Balaam (Bamidbar 23,9):
כי מראש צרים אראנו ומגבעות אשורנו הן עם לבדד ישכן ובגוים לא יתחשב:
"For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: see, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations."
According to every historic, social, religious, political and military yardstick, we Jews should not be alive today. Statistical data has no relevance in terms of the survival of the God’s chosen people. We "shall not be reckoned among the nations" is the definitive statement of our uniqueness.
The arrival of Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel) on the stage of history has propelled the Jewish people to a higher quantum level in God’s world, while leaving the other religions behind. Did the prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) not say (40,15):
הן גוים כמר מדלי וכשחק מאזנים נחשבו הן איים כדק יטול:
"Surely the nations are like a drop in a pail;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
He weighs the islands as though they were fine dust."
An example of the religious "drop in a pail" the prophet was referring to. The Vatican is demanding ownership of the room above David’s tomb, where they believe the "last supper" took place.
This is a very interesting claim. Firstly, because the building is not more than several hundred years old; its stones were not even hewn 2000 years ago. Moreover, if their saviour ate, it implies that he had to attend to his personal toilet needs. This is a rare idea for one who is god or part god.
The dogma of Islam or of the other religions are not any more rational or convincing, indeed like "dust on the scales".
The enlightened peoples of the world would do well to recognize the truth and uniqueness of the Jewish nation, and band together to help us rebuild the holy Temple, as it will eventually be, as stated by the prophet Yeshayahu (2,1-3):
הדבר אשר חזה ישעיהו בן אמוץ על יהודה וירושלם:
והיה באחרית הימים נכון יהיה הר בית ה' בראש ההרים ונשא מגבעות ונהרו אליו כל הגוים:
ג) והלכו עמים רבים ואמרו לכו ונעלה אל הר ה' אל בית א-להי יעקב וירנו מדרכיו ונלכה בארחתיו כי מציון תצא תורה ודבר ה' מירושלם:
The vision of Yeshayahu son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the future
the mountain of the Lord’s Temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us His ways,
so that we may walk in His paths."
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Copyright © 5774/2014 Nachman Kahana
Rabbi Nachman Kahana is an Orthodox Rabbinic Scholar, Rav of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, and Author of the 15-volume “Mei Menuchot” series on Tosefot, and 3-volume “With All Your Might: The Torah of Eretz Yisrael in the Weekly Parashah”, as well as weekly parasha commentary available where he blogs at http://NachmanKahana.com