Shabbat Parashat Vayetzei| 5765
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Redemption - Part III - From Perakim B’machshevet Yisrael, pp. 467-471
[In the first two parts of this series, we saw the various theoretical approaches to the prospect of the Jewish people returning to Eretz Yisrael. We also saw the responses of leading rabbis of recent times to the emerging Return to Zion and the establishment of a Jewish, yet somewhat secularly inspired, State of Israel. Rav Kook and Rav Soloveitchik both looked optimistically at the prospect of non-observant Zionists, that perhaps through their connection to the Land, they would successfully return to a life of Torah observance. The following is a post-script from a later edition of the sefer.]
Several years have past, and the desired inspiration has yet to appear. To the contrary, a wave of breaking from a healthy, social lifestyle has developed over the last decade [this itself was written a decade ago]. Self-gratification is the slogan that has increasingly conquered the younger generations in Europe and America and has made an imprint on those societies as a whole, and it has reached the gateways of Eretz Yisrael, as well. The pioneer spirit and the value of a modest, simple, and natural life, which are more compatible with a Jewish outlook on life, have waned. The Torah slogan of “the work of your hand you have eaten, you are fortunate and it is good for you” (Tehillim 128:2) has been replaced with a desire to rake up quick and easy profits without concern if the money has been obtained honestly and purely. The secular education, which lacks the necessary rootedness in our Jewish past and sources, has taken its toll. There are many confused people who do not understand the nature of Israel’s status among the nations. While the internal cracks in our midst proliferate, the nation’s external enemies are becoming strengthened.
In order to prevent the political/defense situation, being surrounded by ever-strengthening enemies, from impinging on the joys of the moment, a feeling of complacency had been artificially developed. Thus, people convinced themselves that our enemies would not dare to attack the I.D.F., as if it were an impregnable wall that no one could possibly penetrate. This feeling of “my strength and the power of my hand has made for me this accumulated wealth” (Devarim 8:17) continued until the Yom Kippur War startled and shook Israeli society out of its complacency.
Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah taught us how to approach the study of the lessons of that war. It is not sufficient to find the shortcomings in the realm of defense or intelligence; rather, we should uncover the root causes of our failures. We must look for a connection between the material, social and political standing of Am Yisrael andits spiritual standing. The mistakes were a result of our spiritually lacking behavior, a situation that requires fixing at its roots. The necessary introspection is always crucial. It has essential significance to our development as a nation restored to its independence and rejuvenated. This spiritual introspection is also a necessary activity to prepare us for the next steps toward a complete redemption of a nation that is returning from the four corners of the earth to its Land with peace and eternal happiness.
Perhaps this is the storm that will “create a revolution,” which Rav Kook foresaw as one that would show that “the strength of Israel is the eternal holiness … which is the full power that defeats everything in the universe.”
“For the Land will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem as the water covers the sea” (Yeshaya 11:9).
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This edition of
Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R’ Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.