Monday, June 04, 2007

r' chaim brisker on zecharya hanavi's vision of the menorah

We had the zechus this Shabbos of having R’ Yisrael Chait, RY of Yeshiva Bnei Torah, davening at our minyan, and he spoke and developed a theme based on a R’ Chaim Brisker on the haftarah. In the end of the haftarah, Zecharya haNavi sees a vision of a menorah with two olives, one on the right and one on the left. He asks the Angel what these olives are, and the Angel tells him that he, Zecharya, knows what they are. Zecharya again tells the Angel that he does not understand what they are, and the Angel responds with the famous pasuk “lo b’chayil v’lo b’koach ki im b’ruchi”, that it is not armies or strength that will lead to the rebuilding of the Mikdash, but the spirit of G-d. What is the meaning of this exchange – the Angel seems to be playing with Zecharya, insisting that Zecharya understands what he clearly said that he does not understand?

R’ Chaim explained that the Angel’s first response meant that Zecharya understood what the olives stood for, which indeed he did – one stood for Bayis Rishon, one for Bayis Sheni. What Zecharya did not understand, which is why he again asked the Angel to explain the vision, is how Bayis Sheni would come to be when the Jewish people lacked independence, an army, and the physical might to conquer the Land. The Angel’s answer is that all that is not needed. The Rambam paskens (hil beis habechira ch 6) that “kedusha rishona kidsha ‘sha’ata”, the original sanctification of Eretz Yisrael was done by Yehoshua through conquest, and was therefore temporary, as it could be undone when the Land was conquered by a mightier power. However, “kedusha shniya kidsha l’asid lavo”, the second sanctification of Eretz Yisrael done by Ezra was permanent because it was not done by conquest or might, but rather through the simple fact that the Jewish people decided to live in the Land and establish a chazakah. The modest action of the squatter who parks himself on the Land can be more effective than the most glorious and heroic battle of a conquering army.

(I think I have seen this R’ Chaim written up somewhere… will update if I track it down or someone points me to it in a comment.)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:06 PM

    So what should be said about today? It is really confusing since we can't live in what the UN decided to be Palestine but any Arab that wants to live in Israel can.

    The way I see it eventually without Jews settling outside the State of Israel there will be enough Arab settling in Israel for them to take it over.

    What does that mean the Government of the State of Israel role in all this is?