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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Our Matriarch, Rachel, and Yitzhak Rabin, both have their yahrtzeit today.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of shekels are spent in promulgating the “Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin” in the Israeli media, in schools, and in staging memorials ceremonies all over the country. Nevertheless, only a few dozen mourners will be on hand for the official memorial ceremony today at Mt. Herzl, and for many of them presenrt, attendance is a compulsory part of their jobs.
In contrast, a few nickels and dimes have been allotted for the anniversary of our mother, Rachel Emanu’s, yahrtzeit, yet tens of thousands of worshippers will make the difficult trek to Rachel’s Tomb to honor her memory and pray that in her merit, G-d will heal the sick, find shiduchim for the unmarried, grant livelihood for the destitute, and bring the scattered exiles home to Israel.
The difference is clear. The legacy of Rachel is the true legacy of the Jewish People, founded in the Torah and the Prophets of Israel, while the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin is a media invention, promulgating by the political left for its own misguided self-interests.
To Rabin’s dubious credit, in the original Oslo Agreement, Rachel Tomb’s was to fall under the sovereignty of the Arabs, as a part of Beitlechem, but, at the last minute, religious members of the Knesset appealed to him to change the arrangement, and he agreed.
The result is a colossal fortress surrounding the small building which houses the ancient tomb. Access to the holy site is via special army-escorted buses though a sci-fi like tunnel. The crowds that throng to the tiny site have to wait patiently until receiving the green light to enter the conclave, after previous busloads have left. Still, worshippers come from all over the country to pay respects to Rachel, who for centuries has tearfully begged Hashem to bring the exiled Jewish People back to Eretz Yisrael.
If not for the heavily guarded tunnels and fortress, Yitzhak Rabin’s partners in peace, the Arabs, would savagely attack and plunder Rachel’s Tomb, and all the worshippers there, just like they did with Yosef’s Tomb in Shechem.
Partners in peace! The blood boils in the veins of any healthy Jew at the mention of the travesty of Oslo and its legacy of bloodshed and murder, crippled bodies and over 1200 slaughtered Jews.
This morning in Jerusalem, driving my wife to one of the buses going to Rachel’s Tomb, we passed a group of religious Arab women walking peacefully along the sidewalk in our Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, either on their way to work for Jewish employers, or to do some shopping in one of our discount supermarkets, or to a course of studies in some career college. No one bothered them. No one said a word.
Now, if the situation was the opposite, and a group of religious Jewish women were strolling through Beitlechem, or Ramallah, or Shechem, or Aza, or any Arab-controlled city, they would be brutally raped, slaughtered, and chopped into pieces within minutes. That’s right – within minutes! And their bestial killers wouldn’t run away to avoid being caught – their blood-covered hands would proudly hold up the severed Jewish arms and legs so that the press could take pictures of the lynch.
These are the sons of Ishmael, Yitzhak Rabin’s partners in peace. This week’s Torah portion calls them “pere adam,” meaning a wild-ass of a man. This isn’t just an adjective. This is meant as a noun. The Torah categorizes the sons of Ishmael as a distinct species of creation, part wild-ass and part man. The holy Zohar states that their aspect of wild-ass is more dominant than their aspect of man (Yitro 86A). This is why US President Obama found it so difficult to fill up five minutes of his Cairo speech detailing the cultural contributions of the Arab peoples to mankind – outside of rape, theft, murder, and a few mediocre poems and calligraphy, they haven’t contributed didly.
Lest you think this is some mystical nonsense that I pulled out of my beard, let’s hear what the Chofetz Chaim had to say about the sons of Ishmael.
The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaCohen, from Radin, was certainly one of the greatest Torah scholars of modern times. His unparalleled halachic work, the “Mishna Berura,” is the definitive compendium of Jewish law. In addition, his writings on good deeds and kindness, “Ahavat Chesed,” and his treatises on the evils of Lashon Hara, the books, “Chofetz Chaim” and Shmirat HaLashon, show his great piety and saintliness. He is known never to have spoken unfairly about anyone.
The following story is brought down by the revered Rabbi Dichovsky, of blessed memory, in his book, “Neot Desha,” on concluding a tractate of Talmud. In the introduction, he recounts his visit to the Chofetz Chaim in order to ask him if he could make aliyah to Israel at a time of clear and present danger. The story is a bit long, but because of its great value, we record it in full, in Rabbi Dichovsky’s own words:
“I saw it proper to record a statement made to me by the most pious of all of the Cohanim, the Rabbi of all Israel, the glory of the generation, the holy of all Israel, the Chofetz Chaim, may he be blessed in memory, in the matter of Aliyah. I asked him about this question, and the following are the details of our encounter.
“It was the beginning of the year, 1933. There was a group of Torah scholars who had organized themselves to go together to Israel to learn Torah. I too was amongst them, but I had many doubts, because I knew that many of the great gedolim (Torah scholars) of Israel were opposed. The heads of my Yeshiva were especially opposed to the idea that Yeshiva students would go to Eretz Yisrael, even for the sake of studying Torah. They said that the proper conditions had not as yet been established in order to facilitate Torah study with the proper diligence in the Holy Land, to the extent that we are able to study Torah in the yeshivot in the Diaspora. Therefore, I said in my heart, that I must not ask my rabbis in this matter, for obviously the answer will be no.
“Like Rabbi Zera, who ran away from his teacher, Rav Yehuda, when he wanted to make Aliyah to Israel (Tractate Ketubot, 110B,) I decided to go and ask the counsel of the righteous man of our generation, our revered Rabbi, and to receive his blessing before I departed. Therefore, just before the Day of Atonement, I journeyed to the yeshiva of the Chofetz Chaim in the town of Radin, where I stayed in the shadow of this great, righteous individual. This was, as is known, the last Yom Kippur of this special Tzaddik, for at the end of the year, in the month of Elul, he was taken to the Yeshiva Above, may his merit be a shield to us and all Israel.
“In spite of his great physical weakness, a Heavenly Providence was with me, and I merited to see him the day after Yom Kippur. I told him my situation, and that I had a good chance of making Aliyah to Israel as a Torah student, only I had lingering doubts if I would be able to learn Torah with the same diligence with which I was learning now. Immediately, he answered, in his famous sweetness of speech, that there was no room at all for my wariness. Why in the world would I not be able to learn Torah there with absolute diligence – just the opposite would seem to be true, for the Land of Israel, without question, was more conducive for steadfast immersion in Torah. He recited the verse, ‘The gold of the Land is good,’ (Bereshit, 2:12) on which the Midrash says, ‘These (the gold of the Land is good) are the words of Torah, for there is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Yisrael; and there is no wisdom like the wisdom of Eretz Yisrael’ (Bereshit Raba, 16:7).
“Before I could express the rest of the doubts that I harbored - especially the fear of the danger in Israel because of the sons of Ishmael who were marauding violently against the Jews, for only a few years had passed since the end of the Hebron Massacre in the year 1929, which made clear to everyone the wild, bestial nature of the Ishmaelites, who with savagery and unbounded cruelty massacred Yeshiva students and showed no mercy even to the women and children - before I was able to confess all of my apprehensions, the Rabbi answered the question himself.
“In the following words of Torah, he said: ‘The holy Torah tells us regarding Ishmael that he is a ‘Pere Adam,’ a wild-ass of a man. It is known that our Torah is eternal, and if it says about Ishmael that he is a wild-ass of a man, then Ishmael will remain forever a wild-ass of a man. Even if all of the cultured nations of the world will gather together and try to educate Ishmael and transform him into a cultured individual, so that he will no longer be a wild-ass of a man, obviously this will be impossible in every fashion or form. They will not be able to do this through any means whatsoever, because he is not capable of being a cultured individual, for behold, the Torah testified regarding him that he is a wild-ass of a man. This means that forever, for all eternity, Ishmael is by definition a wild-ass of a man. Even if Ishmael will be involved in intellectual endeavor, like being a lawyer, or some similar profession, then he will be a beastly lawyer. If he will study diligently to be a professor, then he will be a beastly professor. This means that the bestiality of Ishmael will never cease.’
“Then the Chofetz Chaim let out a long, painful sigh and said, ‘Who knows what this wild-ass of a man is capable of perpetrating against the Jewish people in the end of days?’
“Concluding his words to me, he said, ‘Nevertheless, fear not – there is no reason for this to prevent you from making Aliyah to the Land of Israel.’
“Then he blessed me, saying, ‘Go in peace, and the L-rd will bless your path.’
“So I left him, and journeyed in peace to the Holy Land.”
So much for the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin.