Shabbat Parashat Vayakhel Pekudei| 5763
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l
“Because of Three the Land Trembled”
Rav Yisraeli’s reaction to the 1st intifada – “Harabanut V’hamedina,” p.436
After 40 years of the State of Israel, we still have not merited, “and the Land was quiet.” To the contrary, we witness a total enlistment of the foreign nation in our midst to the cause of murder and destruction, coupled with the brazen claim that we are racist conquerors trying to steal another’s land. From where do they nurture the claims that we are outsiders in the land which is full of our history, our toil, and our achievements in rebuilding the land in a manner which has benefited them, as well? The Arabs’ uncompromising hatred stems from three factors, as Shlomo Hamelech wrote: “Because of three, the land trembled” (Mishlei 21:30).
“When iron was created, the trees became agitated. The iron asked: ‘Why are you agitated? No wood will agree to enter me [as a handle]’” (Bereishit Rabba 5). Reviewing the unfolding events, we find that we helped create our own troubles. We were shocked by our victories and lacked the wisdom to fill the new borders which resembled those of Parashat Masei. We should have put all our energies into a clear, impassioned call for a mass aliyah to come build and be built. In truth, one segment of Jewish society heeded the call- the observant, Torah-minded community.
Those who once constituted the chalutzim (pioneers) reacted in a virulently negative manner. Jealousy may have played a role when they realized that specifically the religious community, which they deemed a relic of the past, was reinvigorated by the national challenge and was starting to chart the course of the nation. The camp of the former pioneers, both on the political and grass roots level, began with slogans of “end the occupation” and “fascists,” justifying and strengthening our terrorist enemies. They created illusionary ideas that if we just agree to small pullbacks and prevent Jewish settlement over the so-called “green line,” then we would have peace. The nations of the world picked up the message that it is up to them to decide our fate. As Chazal explained with their parable, the ax would not have been able to knock down trees if the wooden handle wouldn’t do its part.
“Hashem shall give strength to His nation- strength refers to Torah” (Shir Hashirim Rabba 2:10). Rashi begins his work on Chumash with the response to the Gentiles’ claim that we stole Eretz Yisrael. Some mistakenly think that the response is to be addressed to the nations, when indeed it is what we need to remind ourselves. We need to know that the Torah stands behind us and learn to stand unified by our rights and succeed. To do that, though, we need to learn the Torah and believe it is the source of our life and our guide to running our country.
In summary, in three ways we should rectify the mistakes which have contributed to our present problems: 1) We must realize that it is fantasy to think that by granting concessions, we can solve our problems and achieve peace. 2) We should be careful not to give rhetorical ammunition to our enemies. 3) We need to know that leaving the Torah is the source of our weakness. By strengthening ourselves through Torah, we can achieve the end of the aforementioned pasuk: “Hashem will bless His nation with peace,” real, just, permanent peace.
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