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Shabbat Parashat Behar Bechukotai 5780

Parashat Hashavua: Lag Baomer

Harav Yosef Carmel

Lag Ba’omer is connected by tradition to the awe-inspiring Tanna, R. Shimon Bar Yochai, (Rashbi), the pillar of the Torah of sod (secrets). Rashbi had an approach of rebellion against the Romans, even after previous ones failed. Lag Ba’omer is also connected to the plague of the disciples of R. Akiva, who supported Bar Kochva’s rebellion.

All of the failed rebellions tried to restore Jewish independence and national prominence. They were not only concerned with the individual Jew’s putting up with tyrants’ decrees but saw independence as an important spiritual value, for which one can and should endanger his life despite the great weight Judaism puts on saving lives.

Let us look at it from a different angle. Chazal teach that one of the first “secrets” was the secret of liberation, which Yosef revealed to his brothers before his death. He told them that Hashem will “pakod yifkod etchem” (remember you) and take you from Egypt to Israel. He used the same double language of pakod as a reason to take his remains with them (Bereishit 50:24-25). The midrash (Sechel Tov, Vayechi 50:24) learns from here that Yosef’s talk with his brothers was like a father’s last will and testament. The fact that he said “etchem” in the plural showed that he made the “liberation connected to the masses (rabbim)” because he knew that the crying out of the masses would hasten the appointed time. The language of pakod was a sign to the people – only a savior who knew to use this word would be believed. Indeed, Moshe used this word (Shemot 3:16 & 4:31).

Was this a technical secret password? What if the secret leaked out to someone else? Also, how did the midrash learn from the plural “etchem,” which is the normal word, considering he was addressing multiple people?

We propose that the whole idea of a double pakod teaches us that the purpose of the exile in Egypt and the eventual liberation was for it to be one of the rabbim. The Exodus could not be limited to ending slavery. It is a much more noble cause. The nation must be a community of independent people living in a fully independent state. There must be a government with an army and a variety of practical ministries. It is critical that it will not just be a group of individual tzaddikim serving Hashem, but to have an independent society which implements the legacy of the patriarchs of becoming a great nation and following the ways of Hashem by doing justice and charity, which will bring blessing to all the nations, who should be inspired to copy it (see Bereishit 18:18-19).

Pakod” after all is used in connection with the joining together of the masses. Yosef thus taught that if the liberation would be just to solve the individuals’ problems, it would not be a liberation. Yonatan would later use this word in reference to David (Shmuel I, 20:18) because David would be the first one to run an independent nation in Eretz Yisrael. This secret of Yosef and Moshe also motivated Rashbi to unite the people to rebel against the Romans, even if it was not the time for it to succeed.

Let us pray that we will be able to maintain our state, the State of Israel, our greatest present of the last thousands of years. Let us show that we know it belongs to the masses and not individuals and that it be guided by justice and charity in a way that brings blessing to all nations.

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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

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

Esther Michal bat Gitel

Yehudit Sarah bat Rachel

 

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 5771

 

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

&

Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 5780

  

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

Tamuz 19     5778

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 5779

 

R' Leiser Presser

 ben R' Aharon Yitzhak and Bracha

24 Iyar

and members of his family

who perished in the shoah

Al Kiddush Hashem

 

  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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