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Shabbat Parashat Beha'alotcha 5779

Parashat Hashavua: Each Man under his Grapevine and Fig Tree When?

Harav Yosef Carmel

The parasha and the haftara share the theme of a gold menora. In the parasha, it is an actual menora, of the Mishkan/Beit Hamikdash (Bamidbar 8:2-4). In the haftara, it is a prophetic vision that represents the emerging leadership in the community that returned to Zion after the destruction of the first Temple, who were involved in the rebuilding of the Temple (Zecharia 4:2-3). Even though this haftara is also read on the Shabbat of Chanuka, we have proved elsewhere that there is no connection between that menora and the events of Chanuka.

Zecharia speaks at length about how the geula will(/would) work. He says that at that time “a man will call his friend to [sit] under his grapevine and fig tree” (ibid. 3:10). This image connects us to other great times in Jewish history. In describing the tranquility and prosperity that existed during Shlomo Hamelech’s reign, the navi says that the people were “secure, each man under his grapevine and his fig tree from Dan to Be’er Sheva” (Melachim I, 5:4-5).   

There is a parallel, through the idea of grapes and figs, to a prophecy of Micha (4:1-4). He refers to the End of Days as a time in which people will sit under these trees. In those p’sukim he also speaks about themes and phrases made famous by Yeshayahu: the Beit Hamikdash will sit proudly at the head of mountains, attracting the nations of the world, who will be led by Mashiach, and they will beat their swords into plowshares and no longer learn war. The prophet Chagai, who like Zecharia, lived during the Babylonian exile and the beginning of the Second Temple period, also used some of these motifs (2:18-19).

These prophecies were designed to have been fulfilled at the time of Zerubavel, from the House of David, and the kohen gadol, Yehoshua ben Yehotzadak, who functioned as leaders of those who returned to their homeland from Babylonia. Chagai’s prophecies and many of Zecharia’s were addressed to them. Had these leaders succeeded, the symbol of the menora with olive leaves, would have been the symbol of the Kingdom of Judea, some 2,500 years ago. The people would have been enjoying life under their grapevines and fig trees well before what became the period of the Chashmonaim.

So why did the Jews of that time not succeed in being the generation of the End of Days? Zecharia spoke about a time when there would be no need to keep the fasts associated with the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and ends the prophecy with “truth and peace shall you love” (8:19). This seems to be a condition for the arrival of the days of liberation. What do truth and love refer to? In the political realm, it means that the apparatus which Zerbavel led would have to be motivated by truth and not by self-interest, which causes the type of deception that we are unfortunately used to. Peace relates to the spiritual/religious apparatus led by Yehoshua, who was to look for a path toward unity within the nation, including between those who see things differently from each other.

We too, in our days, should strive to have our Israeli society run based on these principles.   
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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

 

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha

Refael Yitchak ben Chana
Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipora 

Netanel ben Sarah Zehava

Yehuda ben Chaya Esther

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

David Chaim ben Rassa

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

 

 

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar   10

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 5776


Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10   5774


Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

Kislev 9 5769

R'  Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


R'  Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23 5777

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tammuz 19, 5778

 

Leiser Presser

ben R'Aharon Yitzhak and Bracha

on the occasion of his yahrzeit, 24 Iyar,

and members of his family

who perished in the shoah

Al Kiddush Hashem.

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

18 Iyar 5779

 

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

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