Shabbat Parashat Bamidbar| 5767
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - A Yom Yerushalayim Address for 5754 - From Sha’alu Shlom Yerushalayim, pp. 38-41
[This address was given at the big Yom Yerushalayim gathering at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav during the Oslo process, which, stated mildly, Rav Yisraeli opposed.]
We have taken a short break from the pain, worries, and disappointment we feel whenever we hear the news to recall the great joy and optimism we felt on the glorious 28th of Iyar when Yerushalayim was liberated. We are consumed with disappointment in those who failed to demonstrate strength and belief in Chazal’s comment: “‘Eternity’- this is Yerushalayim.” There is no victory [ed. note- which shares a root with the word for eternity] unless it is connected with eternity. We take this break only to reinvigorate ourselves in our struggle against those in Israel with little belief. This is not what the people sent the government to do. They must act in a way that preserves belief in the G-d of Israel and belief in the Nation of Israel, that it has enough fortitude to persevere in the face of all who want to discourage it.
“This is the day that Hashem made, let us rejoice bo” (Tehillim 118:24) - despite our pain. There is a statement of Chazal (Shir Hashirim Rabba 1:3) that I understood only after recent events. Chazal wondered what bo at the end of the pasuk refers to: to be happy in the day, or to be happy with Hashem. What difference does it make? Since Hashem made the day, if you are happy with what happened on the day, you are happy with Hashem. The midrash answers based on the similar pasuk, “The King has brought me to His rooms, let us rejoice and be happy with You” (Shir Hashirim 1:4), that the joy is about Hashem, not the day. Now we understand the difference between joy about the day or about Hashem. If it is about the day, then at times like this, the joy may feel out of place. While we cannot take down the flag of the State, I hung a black sash on it. We need to know that there is a sign of mourning and of despair.
What does it mean that the King has brought me to His rooms (ibid.)? What are Hashem’s rooms? The gemara (Chagiga 5b) points out that while “power and delight in His place,” it is also said that “in mistarim (the hidden) My heart will cry because of pride.” The gemara explains that in Hashem’s place there is always happiness, but there is a hidden place where He cries about the pride of Israel which has been taken and given to the nations. When, last week, the Prime Minister degraded himself and thereby the Knesset and the whole nation, it was one of those events that makes Hashem cry “in hiding.”
“If I forget you, Yerushalayim, may my right hand forget” (Tehillim 137:5). If someone signs such a thing of forgetting Yerushalayim … for Yerushalayim isn’t only a city; it is a concept; it is the Nation of Israel; it is eternity. Did he [the Prime Minister] not remember the oath? The pride was taken from Israel and given to the nations. That murderous enemy of Israel [Arafat], how he stood there with such chutzpah, without surrendering! We should not have given in to him.
Hashem cries that we do not have the pride to know that He looks after us. Just as Yerushalayim is surrounded by mountains, so does Hashem encompass His nation. There is a Divine voice that helps and encourages. “Indeed, the Watchman of Israel will not slumber or sleep.” “He chooses for us our inheritance, the pride of Yaakov, whom He loved.” Who will dare to nullify that which was given to us?
“The built Yerushalayim, like a city that was connected together” (Tehillim 122:3). The city was split and began to develop, as we merited seeing. We must ensure that it is not just a physical city, for a spiritual Yerushalayim exists opposite the physical one. If we do not believe that there needs to be a correspondence between the city’s two elements, if we do not know that the State of Israel has to be a state of Torah and of belief in Hashem, then He has what to cry about in the hidden place. Hashem will strengthen us, awaken the belief in our hearts, and restore our pride.
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