Back to this week's parsha| Previous Issues
by Daneal Weiner
What a week! Not just this past. Last week was even worse! Now those of you
who have been reading this for a while know I'm not the kind of guy to get
side tracked with outside issues. But let me share with you an article that
appeared in, I believe, one of England's daily papers. The headline reads:|
"PALESTINIAN HURT IN BOMB ATTEMPT"
Now let's say you're the average reader. No time for every article. You skim the headlines just to get the gists of what's going on in the world. So who or what is this article about?
No doubt some right wing fanatic [worked into a mad frenzy by the Baruch Goldstien Memorial, verifying the left's belief that there is no body there, just a transmitter sending out brain washing messages to kill arabs] had tried to kill an innocent, unsuspecting and civilized arab, no doubt out shopping for groceries to host a couple buses full of Federation sponsored teenage tourists, thinking their enjoying Israel but being primed for future left wing support, donations and anti-religious/right campaigning, who would be stopping by this once healthy arab's house just to see how innocent, unsuspecting and civilized he really was although he's oppressed by the evil empire as if he were an animal. And though you might think this is a little exaggerated from this headline, let's not forget, our reader has skimmed the other headlines!
Let's say, however, that our reader's curiosity is peaked and he decides to read the first paragraph:
"A Palestinian man was badly burnt in an apparent car-bombing attempt in the heart of Jerusalem yesterday hours before Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began talks on breaking the deadlock in the Middle East peace-making."Has anything changed our reader's mind from his initial impressions? Maybe our reader will move on to the second paragraph:
"Unconfirmed reports said traces of nerve gas were found inside a van that burst into flames at a busy intersection along the Jaffa road. The driver, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Ramallah, was helped out of the vehicle and taken to the hospital under heavy guard with severe burns."Thank goodness some Jews have a sense of responsibility! At least he was helped and offered protection after the botched attempt!
Now, gentleman and ladies, let's have a look at this SAME event covered in
the Hamodia, a newspaper for Torah Jewry. (Let's this be a flag because no
doubt the article will be biased and embellished.)
"In what was a clear act of Divine Providence, a terrorist was seriously burned on Sunday morning when the van he intended to blow up in the center of Jerusalem caught fire."
"'A terrible tragedy has been averted,' said Jerusalem police chief Yair Yitschaki. The van was loaded with 600 liters of flammable liquid in plastic containers, three gas canisters (and they mean cooking gas! -ed.), and dozens of kilograms of nails. If it had been detonated, it would have cut down anyone within a 100 meters of the explosion, according to police. (Another paper said 80 meters. Just some of that bias and embellishment I warned you about.)
"Palestinian authority chief negotiator said the PA has "zero tolerance" for terrorism. Though rejected the demand that PA be Israel's "hired guns." (Thanks to Rabin, I think Israel PAID for the guns! -ed.)
"Arafat advisor Nabil Abu Rudeineh Habu Shwarma Zabuba Alewahaneiwehyagadawhahnewahah said, 'This is a suspicious incident. You have to ask the Israelis. It sounds like an event fabricated to torpedo the Israeli-Palestinian efforts.'" (Doesn't he mean suicide-torpedo? -ed.)
Netanyahu said it's all to apparent why he is insisting on the security issues. There is no doubt the left's Ha'Arets paper will report, as they did in the past, "There goes Bibi again. Beating that ol' drum again! Whining about security and the PLO charter again!"
Netanyahu would be right not to agree to such a one sided arrangement if he realized he should not agree to such a one sided arrangement because Hashem wants us to act according to nature and according to nature this is a joke but Hashem is the only One Who can make peace in the middle east! Unfortunately, Netanyahu thinks not to agree to such a one sided arrangement because he thinks if he can get a better agreement then that will make peace in the middle east! So his efforts which seem for something are for nothing. Hashem will play all the political puppets as He sees fit.
So that was Sunday. Monday was worse! Someone recorded a show on Israeli TV (someone outside the Yeshiva, of course) and lent us the tape. This show was produced by a mad charlatan operating out of a renovated christian chapel he now calls The Kaballah center. Referred to in his youth by his friends in Yeshiva as P.I.G. (a play on 1st and last letters of his name), Dr. Berg, who refused to give his first wife a get, is now, according to his hour infomercial, the spiritual force behind the Oslo accords! He is the salvation of the Jewish people, being the vehicle for which the Zohar shall be learned throughout the land, because it was the "Rabbis" refusal of learning Kabbalah which brought on the Holocaust! So we don't have to worry about another one of those. And the great news is, for those of you who will buy his Zohar, that you don't even have to understand what it's saying! Just let you're eyes see the words and incredible things will happen! I wonder which part of Israeli society he's selling to???
Back in parshas Balak, a vort I didn't give over was regarding a Mishnah which asks, "Who are the students of Moshe and who are the students of Bilaam?" Aside from the answer, the vort was, what's the question!?! Do we really have to ask this question- What is the difference...?? The answer is, WE couldn't tell the difference. If we stood the two next to each other, watched them a while, asked a few questions, we could not tell who was who. Having seen what I just saw, I now understand the question. Berg is a modern day Bilaam. He's got the tfillin on, the sefer open, his wife faithfully clinging to his arms and he just cursed generations of European Jewry and is out to destroy ours. One of his centers tried to open in South Africa and was run out of town. The Jews of South Africa have been returning to their roots for many years now. They had a good foundation and good leadership. They saw the center for what it really was. Unfortunately that leaves millions susceptible to his poisonous tongue.
And all this pales to the recent event, the disgracing of a leading halachic authority of our generation, HaRav Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, shlita. Since shock was expressed from Torah communities all over the world I'll assume you are familiar with what it's about and not repeat it. Reading and hearing what has been said since, I am beginning to realize the magnitude of the catastrophe. The first Temple was destroyed for murder, idolatry and promiscuity. The Gemorah illustrates one of the murders. Of all Priests on a rotation, who was to perform a service was chosen by different means. This Gemorah tells of a race. Two priests were to charge up the ramp of the alter and the one to win performed the service. They took off. The losing priest took out a knife and stabbed the winning priest. The Gemorah continues that the father of the dying priest pulled the knife out of his chest and exclaimed, "I got it out before he died! It has been defiled from contact with a dead person!" What is the Gemorah telling us? Not that the murderers were societal dropouts and barbarians. Rather they were societal dropouts and barbarians in religious garb and killing to serve Hashem! Our modern day barbarians see no problem desecrating a living Torah scholar in the name of preventing the desecration of dead Torah scholars! They want to serve Hashem so much that they'll not just malign and slander but even threaten and abuse one of Hashem's greatest servants. The Gemorah also says that any generation in which the Temple is not rebuilt, it is as if it were destroyed. We don't need it not to be rebuilt. We just witnessed its destruction! We just had a churban Beis HaMikdash!!! G-d help us!
You might not believe it right now, but there is hope!
In the second of this weeks DDOOUUBBLLEE parsha,
the Torah tells us of the stops that Bnei Yisrael made their 40 years in the desert. Amidst the quick listing the Torah suddenly interrupts telling us the events which took place at a particular spot. (33:37-40 paraphrasing) "They journeyed from Kadesh to Mount Hor, at the edge of the land of Edom. Then Aharon went up the mountain and died there in the 40th year, in the fifth month (Av) on the first of the month. Aharon was 123 when he died."
Rav Wolfson asks why we need to hear a story we heard already (in Parshas Chukas)? And even though it did not tell us when Aharon died then, neither did the Torah tell us by Miriam, nor will it for Moshe. Why change it's mind about Aharon? And so what by the outskirts of Edom? And what about Aharon's age that it's being told to us now?
Rav Wolfson brings from the Arvei Nachal something we spoke of before. That Time, Soul and Space are relative. Aharon was in soul what the what the Mishkan- Sanctuary or Beis HaMikdash- Temple was in space. Soon will be Sukkos when we invite in the 7 Ushpizin- guests into our succahs. Aharon, the fifth guest, parallels the attribute of Hode- Glory. The Gemorah Brachos tell us that the Beis HaMikdash was also representative of Hode. Just as the Temple was destroyed in the month of Av, so too do we now learn that Aharon died in the Month of Av. Not just in the same month but Aharon died on Rosh Chodesh- the beginning of the month. The head/beginning of a thing contains all that is in it. The Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av. If Aharon had died on any other day then they only would have had the month in common. But since Aharon died on the 'head' of the month then they have both the month and day in common.
The Noam Megadim brings down that the travels Bnei Yisrael went on in the desert paralleled our exiles. Indeed, the Ramban writes that these places don't reveal to us their essence. Exile is a tikun- reparation for us. If we knew what each place was about then we would know our purpose (specific tikun related purpose) in exile. It would no longer be a test. No test, no tikun. The destruction of the 2nd Temple which started the exile of Edom is what we suffer till this day. It is also the worst of the exiles because it contains aspects of all the exiles. So we're told it is when Bnei Yisrael is on the outskirts of Edom, the destroyers of Hode (in space), that we learn of the death of Aharon (Hode in soul). And this was done in the 5th month of Av, also paralleling Hode in Time. And like Aharon and the Mikdash, so too was the month destroyed. A month in which the Mashiach will be born, which should be a time of rejoicing, instead is a time of mourning.
Aharon lived 123 years. The Mishkan was 30 Amos long on the outside. Entering the Holy, it was 20 amos long. Entering the Holy of Holies, it was 10 Amos long. The 3:2:1 ratio of the length of the Mishkan is reflected in the years of Aharon. The outside was the least holy and it's measurement is the largest. Then as the place went up in holiness, the figure diminished. Outside to inside to inner most. 3 to 2 to 1. So too, in the years of Aharon, is the digit which represents the least, the single units, the biggest. As the units represented went up, the figure diminished. Singles to Tens to Hundreds. 3 to 2 to 1. 'Av' spelled 'Aleph, Veis' has the numeric values 1 and 2 which equal 3!) Back in Chukas we were told of the death of Aharon, the man. Now we learn the death of Aharon, the Mikdash.
This parsha also speaks of the Cities of refuge. One who kills accidentally is exiled to a City of Refuge. He is released only when the High Priest dies. Our Sages give a reason that since the High Priest did not pray hard enough for there not to be such accidents, the release therefore depends on his death. Rav Wolfson asks, say that just after a High Priest dies a killing was found by the courts to be accidental and the defendant moves to a City of Refuge. Then a new High Priest is installed. This High Priests prayers had nothing to do with the man now in exile! What will this one's death have to do with that one's release?
Our Sages ask, is it better for man not to have be born? The answer is yes! The souls clings to the Throne of Glory! It should come down to this world of lies?! But once it has been born it is a good thing because the potential rewards for Torah and Mitsvos are immeasurable. This is why we celebrate a birth with joy and not with pain at the thought of another soul torn from Hashem's throne of Glory and thrust upon the face of the earth. We learned by Miriam's death that the death of the righteous is an atonement for the generation. Why? Because while we mourn, in the Garden of Eden there is a tremendous celebration for this soul which has accomplished so much and now joins the other Tsaddikim in eternal bliss. When such celebration goes on in heaven the emanates good will throughout the universe. It's manifest as mercy.
The High Priest is the Tsaddik of the generation (ideally speaking). Otherwise on Yom Kippur, when he goes into the Holy of Holies, if he is not righteous he will die. His prayers will hopefully prevent anyone having to go into exile. If not, when he dies, due to the influence of mercy from Eden, those who are in exile go free. That mercy which descends brings full atonement for the one who has killed accidentally. His personal exile and the laws around it no doubt reflect on Bnei Yisrael's exile.
The last topic in the parsha is a mention again about the division of the inheritance of the land of Israel which was done by Divine inspiration and verified by the drawing of a lot. Why both? The lot reminds us of the salvation from the wicked Haman which came, like the drawing of a lot, with out rhyme or reason. Specifically as we enter the month of Av, when history and current events make things look grim, we read Masai. It tells us of the death of the High Priest, the drawing of the lots and the journey through the desert all the way till the borders of the land of Israel. And specifically there is again mentioned the daughters of Tsalafchad having saved their father's inheritance. Every Jew has a share in Israel below, paralleling their share in the world to come, on High. Everything points to and says one thing. The redemption will come! The redemption is coming!! The redemption can come today!!! With all the ignorance in the world, even with the acts of the foolishness and the acts of the wicked, even if e don't deserve it, it can happen right now, just because Hashem wants it to.
Although Aharon, the High Priest of all High Priests is not down here, he is serving in the Temple on High and praying there should be no cause for anyone to be in exile. May we soon see the final redemption, the rebuilding of our Temple to it's full glory and may the hearts and minds of all be quickly filled with words of Torah and values of Torah. Speedily and in our day! Kein yehe ratsone! Shabbot Shalom.