Shabbat Parashat Pinchas| 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - The Unity of the Nation - From Harabanut V’hamedinah, pg. 217
If we want to encapsulate the fundamental philosophy of the Mizrachi movement, I think one can express it in a word- shleimut (completeness and unity): the shleimut of Judaism. This is a concept that, with the conditions that prevailed in the Diaspora, deteriorated and shrank.
The first and foremost shleimut, which the Mizrachi stressed, is the shleimut of the nation. This is not a new concept, but it is one that needed to be renewed in its focus. This fundamental idea is found in Tanach and in Chazal and was explained and deepened by the Maharal. He wrote of the special content and special qualities of the Jewish people as the Chosen People. It was these qualities that actually preceded the giving of the Torah. For more than we are special because we were given the Torah, we were given the Torah because we are special. These qualities came to us as an inheritance from Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov. These qualities find expression in the three signs of a Jew, which Chazal identified: merciful, bashful, and doers of acts of kindness. Jews also possess a unique sensitivity for that which is beyond this world - believers the sons of believers.
Because this uniqueness is not external but stems from the depths of the soul, we must demand that the shleimut of the nation find expression in all practical elements. We do not want our nation to be broken up into a myriad of factions. Even if the reason behind the separation is noble, it must be remembered that the very existence of factionalism contains grave dangers. That is what Chazal said about the situation of “ha’emet ne’ederet,” that the truth will be like separate herds, because different factions will cause the disappearance of the inner content that unites the entire Jewish people.
We try to impart the idea of the spiritual power of the Jewish soul also to those who are far from practical fulfillment of a Torah lifestyle. We believe that by awakening the spiritual spark which even “distant” Jews possess, they too will understand that a true, full, national life is possible only when we try to run our personal and collective lives based on the precepts of the Torah. Therefore, we are interested that public affairs be undertaken with as much cooperation with as broad a segment of society as is possible.This was an idea that had to be renewed, because it had been lost. In the last period of Jewish life in the Diaspora, we suffered from the inability of different segments of the Jewish community to work together. The situation arose under extreme circumstances, as movements arose to purposely try to break off from the historic legacy of Judaism. They sought assimilation and changes in the religion to the extent that it engendered a denial of the Divine origin of the Torah and trust in the words of the Rabbis. This caused elements of the true-to-Torah camp to break off from what had once been unified, community frameworks. With a feeling that there was no hope that we could work together with those who had strayed, separation seemed like the only way to enable Jewish values to survive. However, “giving up” on other Jews hastened the rate of assimilation of those who strayed, sometimes leaving them without survivors.Although there are great difficulties and even short-term dangers in the attempt to work together, this is what is necessary to prevent us from turning into two nations, with limbs falling off from the body of the nation. We have to organize ourselves for a stubborn battle, with a belief that the “eternity of Israel will not deceive” and the healthy outlook will prevail and help elements of our nation to return to the unity and shleimut which is the essence of our nation.
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