Friday, July 25, 2014

dedicate your shabbos to toras eretz yisrael

Just as seforim bring down that it’s not a coincidence that Parshas Pinchas, which contains many mitzvos of korbanos haregel, usually falls out during the three weeks when our attention is focused on the churban haMikdash and the loss of korbanos, I’m sure it’s not by chance that we read Parshas Masei, which contains the command to conquer and settle Eretz Yisrael and describes the borders of Eretz Yisrael, during this time period.  It’s a bit scary to think that for hundreds and hundreds of years Jews have read this parsha and could only dream of fulfilling the mitzvah of returning to Eretz Yisrael and securing it’s borders, and here we have the privilege and opportunity to live it.  I have a suggestion: dedicate your divrei Torah this Shabbos to Eretz Yisrael and to add to the zechus of those defending it. 

The Torah uses a peculiar word when setting out the borders of Eretz Yisrael: “V’hisasvisem lachem m’gevul keidma…” (34:10)  Rashi explains that the word “hisavisem” is like the word “tisa’u,” which means to turn, i.e. the border slants.  I’m sure, however, that when you first heard that word “v’hisavisem” your mind associated it with the word: “ta’avah,” desire.  That’s not by chance says the Radomsker.  The Torah is hinting that you have to have a ta’avah for Eretz Yisrael.  Ta’avah is usually a bad thing, but not when it comes to the desire to return to our homeland.  Adds the Radomsker, even if you can’t act on that ta’avah right now, having the desire itself is a tikun for galus.  This Shabbos lets work on arousing our ta’avah for Eretz Yisrael.

It takes an army to win a war, but it takes more than that as well.  Rashi comments on the pasuk, “Zos ha’aretz asher tipol lachem b’nachalah…” (34:2) that Hashem will throw down and tie up the angelic forces of our enemies. We are fighting an enemy that believes in the antithesis of justice and morality (see my wife's post here); we are engaged in a clash of values. Victory depends on our rededication to Torah morals and values that are true and just.  If we do what is right, all the phony and false ideologies that are just pretenders to justice will have no leg to stand on.  The pasuk here hints at exactly how to do that, explains the Maor v’Shemesh.  Asher tipol lachem,” the downfall of the enemy will come “b’NaCHaLaH” = through our fulfilling Nafsheinu CHiksa LHashem.  On Shabbos we have a neshoma yesirah, so we can add a double measure of nafshienu chiksa l’Hashem.

The Torah warns that if we fail to finish off our enemies they will be a thorn in our side and “v’haya ka’asher dimisi la’ason lahem e’eseh lachem.”  (33:55-56)  The Midrash in many places tells us that the word “v’haya” connotes simcha.  What kind of simcha is there in Hashem telling us that what he was going to do to the enemy will come back to us?  And what are we to make of such a promise – Hashem’s covenant with Klal Yisrael is eternal; he would never destroy us the way our enemies are meant to be destroyed?

The Igra d’Kallah explains that in an ideal world we would not have to take up arms against our enemies.  Hashem would do the fighting for us; there would be overtly miraculous victories.  However, Klal Yisrael did not live up to that standard.  Instead of open miracles taking place and our enemies simply dissolving, we have to take up arms, we have to fight.  This is the test Hashem challenges us with.  That being said, miracles will still take place to ensure our victory – just they will be hidden in the derech hateva, hidden behind what looks like our own accomplishments and deeds. 

The pasuk here is telling us is that even if we fail to live up to the ideal of Hashem doing all the work for us, even if the enemy is left as a test for us to do battle with, “v’haya,” Hashem will still have great simcha.  Ka’asher dimisi la’asos lahem,” the fight that I, G-d, personally would have taken care of with overt miracles, “e’eseh lachem,” I will do through you, by bringing about those miracles through the derech ha’teva of your actions.  Out soldiers are living this pasuk.

The parsha ends off with the complaint of the leaders of Menasheh that if girls who inherit a portion of land (like Bnos Tzelafchad) get to marry whomever they want, it would mean that land would pass from sheivet to sheivet, as their husbands/children who inherit them may be from another sheivet.  R’ Tzadok haKohen points out that we have a whole holiday of T”u b’Av to celebrate the day that the shevatim liften the ban against marrying into sheivet Binyamin – having the shevatim intermingle is a good thing!  Nonetheless, the love of Menasheh for Eretz Yisrael, the desire to preserve their cheilek in Eretz Yisrael and not surrender it to anyone else (each of us has a unique cheilek that corresponds to our unique neshoma) outweighs that value.  A new parsha of Torah came into being as a result of their complaint, as a result of their love of Eretz Yisrael.

We have a halacha that whoever mourns for the churban will be zocheh to experience the simcha of geulah, but there is also another path to merit geulah says the Radomsker.  Chazal tell us that the reward for oneg Shabbos is a “nachala b’li meitzarim” --   derech remez, a portion without a bein ha’meitzarim.  Especially this Shabbos we should keep in mind the words we add in bentching: “… she’lo te’hei tzarah v’yagon b’yom menuchaseinu," that there be no pain and suffering for ourselves or for those fighting on our behalf, "...v’hareinu Hashem Elokeinu b’nechamas Tzion irecha…," so that we see nechamas Tzion and all of Eretz Yisrael.

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