Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Rabbi Nachman KahanaCourtesy

Midrash Yalkut Shimoni 879 on the pasuk in Tehillim 122, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi explains the verse that Yerushalayim the city, unites all Am Yisrael.

Indeed, Yerushalayim unites Jews of different opinions and inclinations into one brotherhood. However, history has shown that Yerushalayim also unites and energizes the enemies of Israel in their determination to destroy the Jewish nation and seize the holy city.

Midrash Aicha (Aicha raba) chapter 2:

Parashat Lech Lecha (3rd parasha in Bereishiet) relates that Avram (before Hashem changed his name to Avraham) gathered his 318 student-soldiers and defeated the armies of four major powers in the Middle East.

After this miraculous victory, Hashem appeared to Avram with a promise:

“I vow to protect you”

How strange! The vow to protect a military man is made before going into battle, but here Hashem made His promise of protection after the war had ended and Avram was the acclaimed victor?!

The explanation is very much part of our contemporary reality.

Hashem was telling Avram that he was victorious in the war; however, “your problems are just beginning”. The goyim will not permit you to savor the sweet taste of victory. They will not rest until you and your descendants will no longer be alive, and your victories will be erased from the annals of history.

From that time on, Am Yisrael has been beset with many enemies; some together and some “go it alone”. To this day the gentile world refuses to recognize the special relationship that exists between the Creator and Am YIsrael, as demonstrated by the miraculous victories over our enemies, and our unprecedented, unexplainable return to our holy land after 2000 years of exile, including sovereignty over Yerushalayim. Much to the contrary, every victory creates more enemies for the Jews, in general, and Medinat Yisrael in particular.

So, what is it that blinds gentile eyes from seeing the capital letters of history that proclaim that the Jews are a nation different from all others and we are God’s chosen people?

Are the leaders of the world’s nations mentally challenged? Do they have a scratch in the brain when it come to the Jewish people?

A story is told of two immigrants to the States. After a year Moshe was driving his new car and John was a janitor of a building. They met and John asked Moshe how he arrived at such success? Moshe said that we Jews have a food that makes us smart, and by coincidence I happen to have a piece with me which I can give to you for $600. John paid the money and Moshe presented him with a wrapped package. John went home and told his wife that soon they would be smart and rich. His wife opened the package and in it was a plain white fish! The following day John went back to Moshe to demand the refund of his money. But Moshe said, I told you that this food will make you smarter. I didn’t lie. Today you are smarter than you were yesterday!

Could it be that the nations have impaired intellectual skills that prevent them from deducing logical conclusions? No, that is not true, as we see in the Midrash Yalkut Shimoni:

If you are told that the gentile nations have acquired knowledge: believe it. But if you are told that have acquired Torah (spirituality) - reject it outright!

So, what is it that drives one anti-Semitic power after another into suicidal spins into oblivion?


The Midrash Yalkut Shimoni (Yeshayahu 420) on the pasuk (Yeshayahu 17,12-14):

12 Woe to the many nations that rage, they rage like the raging sea! Woe to the peoples who roar, they roar like the roaring of great waters!

13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them, they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale.

14 In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us.

The Yalkut states:

The prophet likens the Jewish nation to the sands of the beach, and the gentiles to ocean waves that beat against the sands.

The prophet is saying that the first wave boasts it will inundate the land, but when it reaches the sandy beach, it crests and falls to the ground in utter submission. But none of the succeeding waves learn the lesson. They all try to inundate the land but in utter failure. So to, Paro tried to destroy the Jews and failed, Amalek followed and failed, Sichon, Og and Bilam also tried but failed.

In post-Biblical times, over the span of 1900 years the Christians tried to eliminate the Jews and Judaism - and failed. Followed by the Communist Soviets, then Hitler and now the Islamic nations. The UN is trying, as is the EU, and in a subtle way the US is backing a two-state solution in the hope that the Arabs will destroy the Jewish state. They too will fail, with none learning the fundamental law of Hashem’s world - the Jewish nation is eternal.

So, what is it about these nations that they do not read the lessons of history? If It’s not stupidity, what is it?

Albert Einstein once gave an example of insanity: it is when one repeats the same act or process in the expectation of achieving a different result.

Age old anti-Semitism is a spiritual disease that initially attacks the soul, evolves into mental illness that paralyzes the brain’s thought process and destroys the conscience. It is terminally incurable.

Shavuot: The holiday of Shavuot is the day when the scattered families of Israel entered nationhood. It was not the gradual, normal process covering hundreds of years during which families merge into tribes, tribes into local affiliates and then the ties of custom, language and intermarriage seal the common commitments to function as a nation.

Our nationhood was forged the moment Hashem called out the first of the Ten Commandments: “I am The Lord your God who has taken you out of Egypt”. And appointed Moshe Rabbeinu to receive and transmit the Torah to Am Yisrael as the eternal bond between the Creator and His unique chosen people.

Shabbat shalom and have a happy and meaningful Chag Shavuot,

Rabbi Nachman Kahana is a Torah scholar, author, teacher and lecturer, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, Co-founder of the Temple Institute, Co-founder of Atara Leyoshna – Ateret Kohanim, was rabbi of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem for 32 years, and is the 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” (2009-2011), and “Reflections from Yerushalayim: Thoughts on the Torah, the Land and the Nation of Israel” (2019) as well as weekly parasha commentary available where he blogs at http://NachmanKahana.com