Friday, March 29, 2013

BENADOR: Shabbat chol hamoed Pessach Greeting


Chol Hamoed are called the days of Pesach that are after the first two days when we celebrate with the Sederim.  Those are the days we can do as usual, except for the fact that we do not touch any hametz, or bread or anything leavened. 

What was the problem at the time of our life in Egypt? 

What was the problem at the time of our life in Germany? 

In both places, Jews turned their back on HaShem, they assimilated and were all too happy to emulate the non-Jews and their corrupted and degenerated ways.  They were in both cases, victims of their own bad choices. 

And, what happened?  In the case of Jews in Egypt, HaShem was patient and loving, and offered to take them out of Egypt.  And, of all Jews, 80% decided to stay with Pharaoh and his people. 

Coincidence? No.  It's the same percentage that has elected Obama.  

Back to Egypt:  HaShem took 20% of Jews out of Egypt.

Now, what happened in Germany?  Jews more than assimilated.  Many were even ashamed of being Jews.  True, they would go to synagogue, but that's again a make-believe appearance.  Inside themselves, those Jews were as far as possible from G-d.  And, we know the results. 

Yes, G-d punishes.  

He did it already at the time of Noah, and many times thereafter.  

So, please, think twice before refuting my thesis.  

G-d has His Angel, Satan, to test us and tempt us.  

But, He does Himself the Punishments -and we must admit that when that has happened, it has been deserved. 

May this be a good food for thought. 

May this make us look around us to see all the daily miracles we have available to us, if we allow our eyes to see them. 

The beauty of life comes from HaShem.  And, it depends on us to keep it as such all along.

May G-d bless you all with His Blessings of Love, Light, Wisdom and all that's good for you.

With much love always.

Shabbat shalom v'chag sameach 


RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach – Torah perspective: They really must go

“Beware of what I command you today: Behold I drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivvite and the Jebusite. Be vigilant least you seal a covenant with the inhabitant of the land to which you come, lest it be a snare among you. Rather you shall break apart their altars, smash their pillars, and cut down its sacred trees. [...]Lest you seal a covenant with the inhabitant of the land, and they will stray after their gods and slaughter to their gods; and he will invite you and you will eat from his slaughter. And you will take their daughters for your sons, and their daughters will stray after their gods and entice your sons to stray after their gods.” (Ex. 34:11-16)

Venice Haggadah 1609 - A treasure through the ages

G-d established the Jewish People as a holy nation, chosen, treasured and lofty, His select anointed. Their task was to accept the yoke of His kingdom, sanctify His name on earth as Supreme King and subjugate their pride, selfishness and evil impulse by accepting and preserving G-d's attributes and values, His laws, judgments and statutes. G-d knew that such a nation could not maintain its perfection unless it were set apart from the foreign culture of the nations. G-d, therefore, established for His holy nation a holy land. It would be a vessel to house the Jewish People and their society, the Torah state G-d obligated them to create, and to separate them from the straying nations and their culture which both errs and leads others astray. After all, whatever separates between Israel and the nations necessarily separates between holiness and the non-holy. Thus, Eretz Yisrael, once Israel were chosen to be G-d's people, became the only holy place on earth, while all other lands are impure. G-d established this distinction, because He wished His people Israel to be set apart from the rest of the nations. He, therefore, established that the Divine Presence would not rest outside of Eretz Israel, that there would be no blessing for the Jewish People except in Eretz Yisrael itself, and that all holiness and all mitzvot would be confined to Eretz Yisrael. It is clear that even inside Eretz Yisrael, G-d wished Israel to be set apart from the non-Jew and from his culture and wished the Land to be free of their influence.

There are two components to this separation. On the one hand, Israel must leave the exile and live only in their special land, lest they be influenced by the nations and their culture. On the other hand, even in Eretz Yisrael itself, Israel must separate themselves from that evil culture. Regarding Eretz Yisrael [...], non-Jews are divided up into two groups. The first is non-Jewish nations who were in the Land when Israel arrived there to conquer and occupy it. The second is all the rest of the non-Jewish nations, including idolaters, descendants of Noah, and foreigners and alien residents. The Torah saw a twofold danger in the nations who dwelt in the Land before Israel arrived to conquer it, namely the seven Canaanite nations. On the one hand, like all the nations, the Canaanites constituted a spiritual danger to Israel, who had been commanded to establish a Divine, Torah-oriented state in Eretz Yisrael, isolated and set apart from the abominations of alien cultures. Moreover, the Canaanites posed a unique danger in that they viewed Israel as conquerors who had taken their land. They would hate Israel forever and would forever dream of revenge and seek opportunities for reconquest.

Following is the great commentator Abarbanel (on Ex. 34:11-12, see top of article): Verses 11-12 inform us that since G-d is driving out the Amorites and the other nations, it is improper for Israel to forge a covenant with them. If a nobleman helps someone by fighting his battles and banishing his enemies, it is morally inappropriate for that person to make peace with them without that nobleman's permission. So, too, with G-d driving out Israel's enemies, it is inappropriate for Israel to forge a covenant with them, for that would profane G-d's glory. This is especially so considering that this friendship and this covenant will not succeed. With Israel having taken their land, there is no doubt that they will constantly seek Israel's downfall. This is why it is said, “[the land] where you are coming.” Since Israel came to the land and took it from its inhabitants, and they feel that is has been stolen from them, how will they make a covenant of friendship with you? Rather the opposite will occur. “They will be a fatal trap for you.” When war strikes you, they will join your enemies and fight you. How exalted and true are Abarbanel's words! This is the real reason for the approach taken by Halachah to the seven nations. G-d understood the mentality of these nations. He knew that they would view Israel as conquerors and thieves and wouldforever relate to them with resentment and hatred. The Torah explicitly commanded, at least regarding driving out the Land's inhabitants, because if they remains via a peace treaty, they will become “barbs in your eyes... causing you troubles in the Land.” (Num. 33:55. Not in vain are the words “yerushah” - inheritance, and“horashah”- driving out, so similar in Hebrew. G-d knew that without driving out the nations of the Land, the Land would not be an inheritance for them. Rashi explained the same way: (on Num, 33:52-53): “Vehorashtem”: Drive them out. “Vehorashtem et ha'aretz”: If you first “clear out the Land of its inhabitants”, then - “viyeshavtem bah” - you will be able to survive in it. Otherwise, you will be unable to survive in it. And Or HaChaim writes (Ibid., v. 55): “They shall cause you troubles in the land” (Num. 33:55): Not only will they hold on to the part of the land that you have not taken, but the part which you have taken and settled as well. “They shall cause you trouble” regarding the part that you live in, saying, “Get up and leave it.”

Here is the plain truth before us, and it will defeat those who warp and distort the Torah. The Torah commanded us not to hesitate about annihilating the nations in the Land, lest they harbor enmity and seek revenge for Israel's taking the land they viewed as their own. Certainly, Israel did take it from them, but that has no importance, because G-d, Master of all the earth, promised the Jewish People – and them alone – the Land. G-d “uproots some inhabitants and brings in others” (Pesikta deRav Kahana, page 123). G-d uprooted the Canaanites and brought in Israel, “that they might keep His statutes and observe His laws. Praise the L-rd!” (Ps. 105:45).

It follows that those same laws that applied to the seven nations apply to all the nations that live in Eretz Yisrael in every age. This includes those of our day, who view Eretz Yisrael as their own land and soil, and who view the Jewish People as a nation of conquerors, robbers and thieves. That same danger looms over the Jewish People and its control over Eretz Yisrael in our time as then. After all, what difference is there as far as G-d's warning that “those who remain shall be barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, causing you troubles in the Land” (Num. 33:55), between the seven nations and between any nation that dwells in the Land, views it as its own, and then Israel come and conquer it from them? Surely, it will feel that same hatred and that same fierce will for revenge as did the seven nations, as explained by Abarbanel (quoted above). This logic appears already in Or HaChaim (on Num. 33:52): “You must drive out”: Although the verse said of the seven nations, “You shall not allow any people to remain alive” (Deut. 20:16), here, the Torah is talking about other nations found there besides the seven. It therefore was careful to say, “all the Land's inhabitants,” meaning, even those not of the seven. Any fair and honest person, who has accepted G-d's yoke upon himself, knows from simple logic that this is the truth, that today's Ishmaelites – as far as their dwelling in the Land – are considered like the seven nations (and in this regard, lacking any reason to distinguish between the seven nations and others, the same laws apply). As far as the seven nations, inhabitants of the Land, we learn (Jerusalem Talmud, Shevi'it 6:1): Joshua sent three proclamations to Eretz Yisrael before Israel entered the Land: “Whoever wishes to leave, should leave; to make peace, should make peace; to make war, should make war.” Joshua gave the seven nations three choices: to leave the Land, to fight – and if so, to be killed – or to make peace, via absolute surrender, with taxes, slavery and abandonment of idolatry, steps constituting an admission that the L-rd is G-d, Supreme King of Kings, that He has given their land, the Land of Canaan, to His people Israel, and that henceforth it is Eretz Yisrael.

It seems clear that the possibility of “making peace” was given to these nations only before Israel entered the Land. After all, if they agreed to peace only after Israel entered and began to be victorious and conquer the Land, then their overture was obviously insincere and motivated only by fear. We must then suspect that they are only waiting for the right moment to revolt. Tosafot adds: The option to “make peace” must have only been available before Joshua began his first war. Rahab, too, accepted Judaism upon herself before they started the war. R. Yehuda and R. Shimon argued only about whether Canaanites outside the borders could be accepted afterwards. Yet those within the Land could not be accepted once Joshua had started the war, and “You shall not allow any people to remain alive” applied to them. Their options were either to fight and die or to flee the Land. Once again, this was for the simple reason that we do not believe them, due to the clear, reasonable suspicion that those who fought and only after defeat proclaimed their desire to make peace, are not sincere. They are doing it only out of fear, because they have no choice.

It is patently clear that for that same reason, we cannot tolerate the Ishmaelites' presence today in Eretz Yisrael. Not only did they not submit before the war began in which they were defeated, but they murdered, burnt and tried to wipe out the Jews who arrived in Eretz Yisrael years and decades beforehand. In this way they are no different form the seven nations. Clearly, the Ishmaelites, too, think that Israel, who arrived in the Land and wished to establish a Jewish state there, are thieves. They, too, will always harbor resentment against Israel and will never resign themselves to us, but will await the “right moment” to rebel. As for their ostensibly having submitted nowadays, that is only out of fear and the inability to claim victory for the time being. Moreover, their “submission” lacks legal force, because according to G-d's decree, any non-Jew given the right to ask to live in Eretz Yisrael must accept hard and fast conditions in accordance with the Halachah, namely tribute and servitude. This applies whether he is actually from the seven nations or classed as such (i.e. those in the Land before Israel arrived to take it from them), and assumes that he asks before war breaks out. It also applies where he is from another nation, i.e. from outside the Land. The reason for these conditions is both because of the danger he poses to Israel's security and the danger of his influencing Israel with his alien culture.

The conditions are as follows: 1) acceptance of the status of ger toshav, resident alien, with abandonment of idolatry and acceptance of the seven Noahide laws; 2) tribute 3) servitude. Because an argument has arisen among medieval scholars regarding [the status of] ger toshav, let us leave it aside until we explain the two others, tribute and servitude, regarding which all agree that without these, a non-Jew cannot live in Eretz Yisrael. As the Torah explains, these two conditions are the main ones applying to the non-Jew who wishes to dwell in Eretz Yisrael, because these serve to ensure in advance the security of the Jewish commonwealth. Thus, either the enemy is banished or annihilated, or subjugated through tribute and servitude. This is why in Deuteronomy 20, where the Torah discusses the laws of conquest, it first sets forth these two conditions. If there is no security, Israel will be unable to establish a stable regime as a center of Torah and holiness.

The question of peace in the Middle East is a question of the Arabs and the world acknowledging the total sovereignty of the Almighty. There can be no compromise on this. It is only a peace that comes with Arabs submitting to the yoke of the heavenly kingdom that will be a permanent one and the Jew who gives up part of his land as a compromise, violates the entire purpose of the rise of the Jewish State and the demand of the Almighty that the nations acknowledge Him as King. There can be no retreat from land because that is in essence a retreat also from the Kingship of the L-rd.

No, not hatred of the other nations, but and understanding and deep assurance of belief that the Jews are indeed the blessed recipients of Divine truth; that that truth is a thing to be studied and acted upon and lived every moment of the Jew's life and that he and his children and theirs must live in a society of Divine holiness that is unique and untouched or influenced by the profanity and commonness of the other nations. Not hatred for others, but deep pride and thanksgiving that we are the Chosen.

Compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from “The Jewish Idea” of Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY”D, last two paragraphs excerpted from an article (couldn't identify it now) from Barbara Ginsberg's blog "Rabbi Meir Kahane's writings" and from Rav Kahane's "Uncomfortable questions for comfortable Jews".


Friday, March 22, 2013

RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Shabbat Hagadol: "Before redemption"

For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the wicked people and all the evildoers will be like straw... (Malachi 3:19)

Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome Day of Hashem. And he will turn back [to G-d] the hearts of fathers with [their] sons and the hearts of sons with their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with utter destruction. (Malachi 3: 23,24)

Then you will return and see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves G-d and one who does not serve Him. (Malachi 3:18)

Before us, then, there is a fundamental principle regarding the future of the Jewish People: Redemption can come by one of two ways. If we merit it, through repentance and deeds worthy of it – especially faith and trust in G-d, without fear of the non-Jew – it can come through G-d hastening it, quickly, immediately, “today, if we hearken to His voice”. Not only will it come quickly, but with glory and majesty, without the suffering or Messianic birth pangs of which both Ula and Rabbah said (Sanhedrin 98b), “Let it come without my seeing it”. If we do not merit this, however, then the Messiah will certainly come and the Redemption with him, but only later on, “in its time”. This redemption will be accompanied, G-d forbid, by the terrible suffering of Chevlei Mashiach, Messianic birthpangs.
We seem to have two contradictory redemption processes before us; [...] but there is no contradiction. Rather, both are possibilities. That is, either can happen, but not both. As for which it will be, that depends on the Jewish People and their deeds. If they prove worthy, they will merit redemption “in haste”, glorious and majestic, without Messianic birth pangs. Otherwise, a different process will occur, a process that does not have to be – complete redemption through unparalleled suffering, and all because of our sins and our stubbornness. Only the blind and those who refuse to see will fail to understand that today we are right at the very heart of the Ikveta DeMeshicha, “the footsteps of the Messiah”, the beginning of the redemption. This State of Israel is the beginning of G-d's wrath against the nations who do not know Him and who have profaned His name with scorn and derision. Yet, it is clear that a redemption whose beginning is based exclusively on redemption “in its time”, on, “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel” (Ezek. 36:22), on, “Not for your sake do I do this, says the L-rd G-d. Be it known unto you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel (Ezek. 36:32) has concealed within it tragedies and Messianic suffering from the Supreme King of Kings; and whoever says that G-d concedes shall concede his life (Bava Kamma 50a).
There will be no “hasty” redemption (Isaiah 60:22), glorious and majestic, devoid of dreadful suffering, unless the Jewish people return to their Father in Heaven, accept His yoke, and chiefly, unless they trust in Him completely and are ready to sanctify His name through self-sacrifice. The redemption which began despite our sins in order to sanctify G-d's name before the nations in might and splendor, has, in the hands of an “ungrateful, unwise nation” (Deut. 32:6), turned into a profanation and a blasphemy carried out precisely by those whom G-d sought to redeem. If the beginning of the redemption and the state served to sanctify G-d's name, then the only way to move on to “hasty” redemption is to continue reinforcing the Kiddush Hashem which the state's very establishment constituted. The Divine imperative is continued Kiddush Hashem through trusting in G-d, and liquidating the Chilul Hashem without fear of the non-Jew, without fear of flesh and blood. Every retreat, every submission, every concession to the non-Jew, every hand raised against the Jew, every attack, let alone murder, of a Jew in the Land, every taunt and curse by a non-Jew in the Land is a Chilul Hashem. Now, instead of continuing to reinforce the Kiddush Hashem process, the Jewish people retreat and profane G-d's name.
Whoever does not allow Jews to live everywhere in the Land, whoever ties their hands and prevents their taking the revenge of G-d and Israel against the nationswho curse and revile G-d, profanes G-d's name and profanes the great miracle and the powerful dream realized by G-d at the start of the redemption.
A time will come when G-d sees that to the nations and most of Israel, it seems that “His power is gone” - He is impotent. He will see that for many Jews and non-Jews, He is “nothing”, non-existent, Heaven forbid. For many others who pay lip service to His existence, He will appear “hindered”, powerless to act, a king “caught in tresses” (Song of Songs, 7:7), without connection or relevance to the world. He will see that there are masses of Jews who keep rituals, who keep the practical mitzvot by rote, yet who in times of danger, at the moment of truth, abandon their faith and trust in G-d. For them, G-d will become like one “abandoned”, and no Chilul Hashem could be greater. G-d will then wish to sanctify His great name, transformed by faithless heretics to “nothing, hindered, and abandoned.”
Listen well, my friend, to a great axiom of redemption. Ostensibly, those who ridiculed the mourners of Zion, who mocked those who believed in redemption, were the nations. Clearly this is so, yet also countless Jews do not believe, and they ridicule those who look forward to redemption, and, in general, the whole concept of redemption and the Messiah. Do not let your brother, friend or the rabbi to whom you feel closest lead you astray by saying that redemption will come without suffering or tragedy, for that is impossible without repentance and trust in G-d through bold deeds without fear of the nations.
Redak's quotation from Isaiah is part of the following (Isaiah 26:20-21): Come, My people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a brief moment until the wrath is past. For the L-rd shall leave His abode to punish the earth's inhabitants for their sin. With this, G-d informs Israel that before redemption comes, before G-d leaves His abode to punish the nations for their sin, there will be a moment of wrath; that is, a period of wrath and suffering. This clearly is referring to the war of Gog and Magog. Although it says, “Hide yourself for a brief moment”, and Redak commented that they would “suffer briefly”, woe to us for that brief moment, for it will include Jerusalem's conquest and accompanying atrocities, [...] and the nations' conquest of Eretz Israel for nine months, and in G-d's eyes, that, too will constitute just a “brief moment”. Who can measure the suffering and anguish which that moment will generate, if it comes through redemption “in its time”? All the same G-d, Who has control over time and place, has the power to transform that “moment” into a very short time, if redemption comes “in haste”. This is a major principle regarding the Messianic birthpangs, and we must not forget it.
If Israel heed G-d's voice and follow in His ways, He will subdue Gog and Israel's enemies “kim'at”, like the kim'at rega, the “brief moment” of Isaiah 26:20. Then, redemption will come quickly and “forever”.
Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, says Hashem, Master of Legions… (Malachi 3:7) And this is a repetition of the same promise that is given in Zechariah 1:3, in a tremendous oath! The redemption will come to the extent that we long for it and demand it.


Friday, March 15, 2013

RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Parashat Vayikra - Burn your pride

When you offer a meal offering that is baked in an oven, it shall be of fine flour: unleavened loaves [matzot] mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers [matzot] smeared with oil. If your offering is a meal offering on the pan, it shall be of fine flour mixed with oil, it shall be unleavened [matza]. (Parashat Vayikra, Lev. 2:4-5).

Chametz and other forms of leaven symbolize the evil impulse and arrogance, for yeast inflates dough and turns it into chametz. Se'or [a type of leaven or yeast] derives from sa'ar, storm, for it agitates dough and makes it rise. Just so, the evil impulse and arrogance inflate humble man to visions of grandeur, power and pride:“May the L-rd cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaks proud things!... 'For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise,' says the L-rd; I will save them from him who inflates himself” (Psalms 12:4,6. The haughty person who talks grandly, “inflates himself”.
Theft and wickedness, conceived in arrogance, are called chometz, which means vinegar: “Seek justice, support the victim of theft [chamotz]” (Isaiah 1:17); and“Rescue me out of the hand of the wicked, out of the grasp of the unrighteous and ruthless [chometz] man” (Psalms 71:4. Clearly, chomes/chamsan [robber, oppressor] derives from chometz, as well. This is because chometz connotes that which is spoiled, just as wine vinegar is made from spoiled wine. In the same way, our sages called the evildoer whose father was righteous, “vinegar [chometz], son of wine.”
It must be added that while chametz is a symbol of haughtiness, chametz's opposite, matza [unleavened bread], is called in Scripture “lechem oni” - bread of hardship (Deut. 16:3). On the one hand, Rashi explains “oni” as being related to aniyut (poverty) and inui (affliction): “Bread reminiscent of the poverty suffered in Egypt.” This jibes with the verses, “I have indeed seen the suffering of My people” (Ex. 3:7) and “You saw the affliction of our ancestors in Egypt” (Nehemia 9:9), and surely “oni” and “inui” derive from the same root. Together with this, however, there is another meaning. Matza comes in opposition to chametz. Chametz symbolizes the bread of the wealthy man with his haughty dream of attaining wealth and honor, whereas matza symbolizes the bread of the lowly, modest man. Thus “lechem oni”, rendered above as the “bread of hardship”, can mean “the bread of the humble man” (anav). Another mitzvah was given to Israel as an everlasting reminder against arrogance and conceit, namely, the prohibition against consuming non-kosher fat:
“All the fat is the L-rd's. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings, that you shall eat neither fat nor blood.” (Parashat Vayikra, Lev. 3:16-17). The fact that “all the fat is the L-rd's” is a clear hint that wealth and honor are befitting only for G-d, fat symbolizing these. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I will give you the good of the land of Egypt and you shall eat the fat of the land.” (Gen. 45:18). Moreover, Ibn Ezra comments that in “all the chelev of the oil and all the chelev of the wine and the corn” (Num. 18:12), chelev connotes “the choicest and the best”. Fatness symbolizes health and strength, as in Pharaoh's dream [of the seven fat and seven gaunt cows].
Thus, the wealth, honor, beauty and splendor symbolized by chelev belong only to G-d. They are becoming only to Him, because all these traits are His. Even beyond this, however, chelev, fatness here on earth, is nothing but a symbol of conceit and the pursuit of pleasure, wealth and honor“Their obese hearts have they shut tight, their mouths speak proudly” (Psalms 17:10); “Their eyes protrude from obesity , they are gone beyond the imaginations of their heart” (Ibid., 73:7);and “Their heart is gross like fat, but I delight in Your law” (Ibid., 119:70). [See also] Rambam (Issurei HaMizbeach 7:11): Whoever wishes merit should suppress his evil impulse and show generosity by bringing his offering from the choicest of the species in question. The Torah says, “And Abel also offered some of the firstborn of his flock, from the fattest ones [chelbehen]. And the L-rd paid heed to Abel and his offering”(Gen. 4:4). Chelev connotes the choicest, plumpest, richest animal specimen. It thus symbolizes the human pride which compels man toward wealth, honor and the cravings of this world. Hence, we are not only obligated to sacrifice the choicest animal specimen but to take its fat, the symbol of pride and what is best and most desirable, and give it to G-d. Through our readiness to donate to G-d the most important part, we rid ourselves of pride, proclaiming, “All the fat is the L-rd's!”
It follows that both chametz and chelev are symbols of pride. Still, there is a difference between them. Chametz symbolizes the egotism which entices a person toward the haughty pursuit of wealth and honor. Since it symbolizes the root and source of evil, it has no place on G-d's altar, the symbol of holiness, free of all arrogance. By contrast, chelev symbolizes wealth and honor that a person has already attained and through which he is liable to become haughty. Therefore, a man is obligated to demonstrate the suppression of his evil impulse through his willingness to donate this symbol of pride and burn it.
It is true that G-d does not reject wealth. Like everything else G-d made, man can use it for good or evil, and it is certainly possible to direct wealth toward good ends. Certainly wealth is not evil per se, despite those false religions that wax pious in their condemnation of it. Money is neither good nor bad. If we use it to build the Temple and to do mitzvot, it is good. If, however, it is put in service of arrogance and lust, nothing could be worse. Not only does man's egotism drive him to pursue wealth, but that wealth turns him into an even more conceited evildoer. It is a vicious cycle. One of our most important principles is: “To the L-rd belongs the earth and everything in it.” (Ps. 24:1)Everything belongs to G-d, and nothing that ostensibly belongs to man is really his. Rather, it is only given to him to use. The concept of holiness provides a concrete example to help us understand the essence of property here on earth – that it belongs exclusively to G-d, and not to man.
What does Scripture say of him who makes unwarranted use of Temple property? He shall bring as his guilt-offering to the L-rd, a [two-year-old] unblemished ram with a prescribed value of [at least] two silver shekels, according to the sanctuary standard. He must make restitution for taking something that was holy and shall add a fifth. (Parashat Vayikra, Lev. 5:15-16). The reason he must add precisely a fifth is that it fits the crime. This person was obligated to give up to a fifth of “his” property, as it were, to charity“In giving charity, one should lavish no more than a fifth of his wealth” (Ketuvot 67b). In doing so, he would have demonstrated G-d's ownership over his property. Instead, he stole Temple property. Hence, he must pay a fifth as he should have done of his “own” property, so to speak.Among the nations and the alien culture, all sorts of outlooks have been formed regarding property, and despite the superficial differences between themall are based on the perception that the world and property belong to man. In this regard, there is no difference between what the non-Jews call “Capitalism”, “Socialism” or “Communism”. Whether a non-Jew argues that property is a private possession or argues that it belongs to society, he means that it is the property of man. Not so G-d, Whose Torah states that everything belongs to Him, and that property and possessions were given to mankind only for use. Thus, when G-d decrees that we must give tzedakah, it is our duty to do so. Tzedakah does not at all come from the property of the wealthy man. He has no ownership whatsoever over what is given him by Heaven. Such is our sages' intent in Avot 3:7 : “Give to G-d of His own, for you and yours are His”.


Friday, March 8, 2013

RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Parashat Vayakhel — Twilight

On six days, work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest for Hashem... (Ex. 35:2)

In Yoma 81b, our sages said regarding Yom Kippur: «You must afflict your souls on the ninth of the month» (Lev. 23:32): I might think one should start fasting on the ninth day. It therefore says «in the evening» (Ibid.). If «in the evening», I might think he should start after it gets dark. It therefore, says, «on the ninth». How does this work? We start fasting while it is yet day. From here we learn that we add from the non-holy [the day before] onto the holy... I only know that this applies regarding Yom Kippur. How do I know it applies also regarding the Sabbath? The verse adds, «You must celebrate Sabbath [תשבתו]» (Ibid.)

We, likewise, find in Mechilta (Yitro, Mesechta DeBachodesh, 7): The Torah says «Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy» (Ex. 20:8) and then, «Keep the Sabbath day to make it holy» (Deut. 5:12). We must remember it from before [its onset] and we must keep it until after [its completion]. From here they learned that we add from the non-holy onto the holy.

All the Rishonim ruled this way (except for Rambam), and R. Yosef Caro ruled this way as well (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 261:2). I believe a profound principle can be derived here. Consider that G-d, rather than letting day move to night suddenly, created twilight [בין השמשות — ben hashemashot], a time of questionable status, and included this in the Sabbath. By His very doing so, He already established a sort of addition to the Sabbath besides the Rabbinic one mentioned above. The Poskim argue over when twilight occurs. According to Rambam and Rif, the Gaonim and Gra, it begins immediatley after sunset and continues the time it takes towalk three fourths of a mil [approximately 960 meters], after which begins night. Yet Rabbenu Tam has another view, which Ramban and Rashba, Rosh and Ran agree to, that from sunset until nightfall lasts the time it takes to walk four mil 9Pesachim 94a), and that there are two sunsets: The first lasts the time it takes to walk three and a quarter mil, and then it is still daytime. The second sunset begins then and lasts the time it talkes to walk three quarters of a mil, and that span is twilight.

Actually, according to either view, one is obligated to add some amount of time even before twilight, such that before what is for sure Sabbath, there is not only twilight, the questionable time, but a period of unquestionable weekday added on. R. Yosef Caro (who ruled like Rabbenu Tam and his group), wrote (Ibid.), «If someone wishes to make an absolute addition to the Sabbath, he may do so... He need only add some amount of unquestionable daytime, thereby adding from the non-holy to the Holy.» Rema commented: «And if he wishes to accept upon himself teh onset of the Shabbat as early as plag haminchah [one and a quarter halachic hours before nightfall], he may do so» (yet, whoever starts before then has done nothing).

Previously [in other places], I have explained that G-d can bring redemption early on various pretexts, even when Israel have not merited redemption «in haste».I believe that the two additions, namely (1) G-d's creation of a twilight period between day and night and its natural inclusion in the Sabbath that follows; and, (2) the mitzvah of adding weekday time onto the Sabbath, serve to reward Israel in the Messianic era if we are otherwise undeserving. G-d is hinting at this.The week is composed of six weekdays followed by a Sabbath, and we are obligated to add from the sixth day to bring the Sabbath earlier. In the same way, the world's entire existence is six thousand years, followed by a seventh, called «a day that is all Sabbath».

Hence, as part of our cries to hasten redemption, it is a great mitzvah for us to bring the Sabbath as early as we can. That way, we can merit early redemption as just recompense. How many blessings will befall the Jew who steadfastly brings the Sabbath early each week! By this merit, he will hasten also the coming of the eternal Sabbath to the world. This may be why R. Yochanan said in the name of R. Shimon bar Yochai (Shabbat 118b): «If Israel kept only two Sabbaths accroding to their laws [כהלכתן — kehilchatan], we would immediately be redeemed.» In other words, if we fulfill all the laws of the Sabbath, including adding from the non-holy to the holy, corresponding to the Messianic era, then G-d Himself will add from the non-holy and hasten the eternal Sabbath.

[No compilation - this is Rabbi Meir Kahane's «The Jewish Idea», Chapter 37 «Twilight» directly from the book.]

RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Shabbat HaChodesh/Vayakhel – Do you trust G-d?

So many Jews have forgotten that our utmost commitment ever is to G-d Himself, from our engagement in the Cause of G-d, result Blessings and Miracles, and Wonders...  

Profaning G-d's Name has always resulted in punishments and suffering.  Will the world and generations after generations one day actually learn those lessons and never repeat them again?

May G-d bless you

Eliana Batsheva Benador

Rabbi Meir Kahane, OBM, his thoughts, opinions and comments on Parashat Vayakhel 

On the tenth of this month, every man must take a lamb for each extended family, a lamb for each household... Hold it in safekeeping until the fourteenth day of this month. The entire community of Israel shall then slaughter [their sacrifice] in the afternoon. They must take the blood and place it on the two doorposts and on the beam above the door... Eat the meat during the night, roasted over the fire. Eat it with matzah and bitter herbs. Do not eat it raw of cooked in water, but only roasted over fire, including its head, legs and internal organs. (From this week's Maftir reading, Ex. 12:3, 6-9)

The whole Passover sacrifice in Egypt revolved around trusting in G-d and sanctifying His Name in face of terrifying dangers. After all, the lamb was an Egyptian idol. The Egyptians “revered” and worshiped it, and it was holy to them. One can imagine their wrath when they saw how the Israelites were taking it and degrading it by tying it to the bedpost from the tenth to the fourteenth of the month, and then slaughtering it and consuming it festively. By all rules of logic, the Egyptians should have been expected to attack and annihilate the Israelites. Let every Jew who stays in the exile ponder what the nations would do to Jews living under their rule if those Jews were to publicly treat their faith with contempt. Yet precisely such faith and trust did G-d demand of Israel – faith and trust that He could defend them against their foes.

Following is Mechilta (Bo, Mesechet DePischa, 5): “Hold it in safekeeping” (Ex. 12:6): Why was this said? Because it says, “Take for yourselves sheep” (Ex. 12:21), Israel said to Moses, “Could we sacrifice the sacred animal of the Egyptians before their very eyes and not have them stone us?” (Ex. 8:22). Moses responded, “From G-d's miracle for you when you took the sheep [ i.e., the Egyptians' inability to do anything while you bond their deity for four days], you can deduce G-d's reaction when you slaughter it. And Pesikta DeRav Kahana teaches (Parashat HaChodesh, page 55): This teaches that they were tied to the Israelites' bed posts starting from the tenth of the month, and the Egyptians would come in and see them, and become incensed. R. Chiyah, son of R. Ada of Jaffa said, “Take for yourselves sheep” (Ex. 12:21): “Every Israelite must take an Egyptian god and slaughter it before an Egyptian, and let whoever is angered by it, speak.” In remembrance of this bitachon [trust] and Kiddush Hashem, and by virtue of it, G-d split the Jordan for Israel, and its merit protected them in Haman's day, for everything Israel did with the lambs indicated their trust in G-d. Following is Pesikta DeRav Kahana (Ibid.): “The taking of the lamb stood by them at the Jordan, and its consumption protected them in Haman's day.”

Moreover, G-d established the steps involved in the Passover sacrifice in remembrance of the greatest bitachon that there could have been – our Forefather Abraham's readiness to slaughter his son Isaac at Mount Moriah. Following is Midrash Chadash on the Torah (220, quoted in Torah Shleimah, Ex. 12:6, letter 70):In accordance with Abraham's response to “Take your son”(Gen. 22:2), so did G-d tie the ram for him at that very moment [i.e., when G-d saw that Abraham was ready to trust Him and slaughter his son, He immediately prepared and bound the ram to replace Isaac]. Abraham delayed for three days, as it says, “On the third day” (Gen. 22:4). G-d therefore said to Israel, “Go early and tie the animal as of the tenth, so that you will be remembered before Me like your ancestors.”

Thus, true trust in G-d by the Jewish people is tied exclusively to their self-sacrifice in face of danger of death. This expresses itself also in G-d's command that they place the lamb blood on the two doorposts and the beam above the door. Here, there is a controversy over whether they placed the blood on the outside or on the inside. In Mechilta (Ibid., 6), R. Yishmael and R. Natan comment that the blood was placed on the inside, yet R. Yitzchak differs, saying, “Certainly they put it on the outside, so the Egyptians would see it and become livid with anger.” Yonatan translated verse 12:7 according to R. Yitzchak, saying, “They shall take of the blood and place it on the two doorposts and the beam above the door, from the outside.” All this was to magnify our trust in G-d while we were provoking the Egyptians.This is also the reason for the manner of consuming the sacrifice, commanded by the Torah: “Do not eat it raw ... but only roasted over fire (Ex. 12:9).

Following is Da'at Zekenim MiBa'alei HaTosafot (Ex. 12:9): Ibn Ezra interpreted G-d as saying: “Since you are sacrificing the deity of Egypt, you might say, 'Let us not roast it fully, lest the Egyptians notice'. It therefore says, 'Do not eat it raw.' Lest you say, 'Let us cook it and hide it in a pot,' it therefore says, 'Do not cook it in water'(Ibid.). Lest you say, 'Let us cut off the head and legs to make it unrecognizable,' it therefore says, 'including its head, legs and internal organs' (Ibid.).”

Clearly, G-d wished to establish for Israel the principle of trusting in Him against all the power of mortal man. He wished to emphasize that there is no power on earth that can stand up to Israel when Israel does G-d's will, and that we should not fear the nations at all, even the strongest king or kingdom. A fundamental principle of trust in G-d is that complete faith and trust in G-d include a person's readiness to sacrifice himself, to give up his life, for the sake of Kiddush Hashem, where such a duty exists. Many righteous, G-d fearing people who indeed trust in G-d, have succumbed in this matter of completeness of trust in G-d, i.e., regarding their readiness to sacrifice their lives for this trust. Even Aaron the Kohen, holy from the womb, the first Kohen Gadol of Israel, who was the symbol of faith and trust in G-d, as we shall see, failed in this matter of self-sacrifice, such that he needed rectification for what was lacking. Shemot Rabbah (41:7): At that moment [when Israel sought to fashion an idol because Moses was delayed], Chur faced them and said, “Headless people [referring to their having no memory, or having incurred a death penalty]! Do you not remember what miracles G-d performed for you?” They immediately accosted him and killed him. Then they turned to Aaron ... and said: “Just as we did to that one, so shall we do to you.” When Aaron saw that it was so, he feared, as it says (Ex. 32:5), “Aaron saw and he built an altar [mizbe'ach] before him.” What is meant by “mizbe'ach”? “Motivated by the slaughtered one [min hazavuach] before him.” Aaron had a reason for doing this.As our sages said (Sanhedrin 7a): Aaron saw Chur lying slaughtered before him, and he said, “If I do not heed them, they will now do to me what they did to Chur. Through me will be fulfilled (Lam. 2:20), 'Shall a Kohen and Prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the L-rd?' and their sin will never be rectified. Better they should worship the calf. Perhaps they will find atonement through repentance.”

Even so, Aaron sinned by doing this. This is the substantive difference between Aaron and Chur. Certainly, both trusted in G-d, but Chur trusted in G-d completely.Such trust includes willingness to sacrifice one's life for G-d's name and for the sake of preventing His name from being profaned. Chur took hold of this faith and trust and it led him to perfection: he sacrificed his life for Kiddush Hashem. By that same merit, G-d chose precisely Betzalel to construct the Tabernacle, the earthly seat of perfection. Certainly Betzalel was not chosen because of his artistry or expertise, for he was only thirteen at the time, as our sages said (Sanhedrin 69b), and he lacked experience in craftsmanship. Yet it says in Shemot Rabbah, 48:8, “'I have filled him with a Divine spirit [and with wisdom]' (Ex. 31:3): Where was all this wisdom from? From G-d. And all of Betzalel's Divine spirit ... and understanding were from G-d as well.” Rather, he was chosen by virtue of his grandfather Chur, who sacrificed his life for Kiddush Hashem, thereby demonstrating complete and perfect faith. Betzalel, therefore merited to construct the complete and pure place where the Divine Presence was confined. This was the reason it says, “I have selected Betzalel son of Uri son of Chur, of the tribe of Judah” (Ibid., v.2). Only very rarely does the Torah mention someone's father and grandfather. The reason for it here, however, is that Chur's name had to be mentioned, for only by his merit was the thirteen year-old lad selected to be the architect of the Tabernacle.

Most certainly, when G-d [...] decrees that we must perform some deed, one must not look for reasons, however pious they may be, not to do that deed. Rather, if G-d or Jewish law requires us to fulfill some decree, then we must sanctify His Name and sacrifice our lives for it, this being the fullest expression of Kiddush Hashem and bitachon. It says, (Lev. 22:32-33), “Do not profane My holy name. I shall be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel. I am the L-rd who is making you holy and bringing you out of the Land of Egypt,” and our sages comment (Torat Kohanim, Emor, 9), “Sacrifice yourself and sanctify My Name,” and (Ibid.), “I took you out of Egypt on condition that you sacrifice yourselves to sanctify My Name.”

Self-sacrifice is the ultimate proof of trust in G-d, it is bitachon in its fullest form. Let a Jew not evade his duty, claiming that today there is no Divine revelation, no heavenly voice or prophecy of any other sort by which G-d could decree the need for an act of self-sacrifice. Surely, the whole Torah, all the deeds of our ancestors and of the judges and prophets, and the words of our sages, were meant to be a lamp unto our feet and to show us the path we must follow. These deeds and G-d's ways were set down in our sages' homiletics as eternal guidelines, presenting our duty regarding how we must act when there is no Divine Revelation.


BENADOR: I am NO feminist!


Today, is March 8th. And the communist, socialist, liberal, world is celebrating "women's day", which is the day of feminists. 

I am therefore, proud and glad to declare that I am NO feminist. 

I have nothing against men, whom I really love, and from whom I hope one day, my partner for life will come to me... 

I respect those men who deserve my respect and, furthermore, my admiration and love. 

Women and men are the eternal partners, not competitors for power. 

And ever since G-d created us, we are part of the other. 

We are partners in love and in life. 

And, if love is for life, that's even better, because I definitely believe in marriage... 

So, may G-d continue to bless men and women together and forever ♥

Friday, March 1, 2013

RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Parashat Ki Tisa – For My Name's sake

Moses pleaded before Hashem, his G-d, and said, “Why, Hashem, should Your anger flare up against Your people, whom You have taken out of the land of Egypt, with great power and a strong hand? Why should Egypt say the following: 'With evil intent did He take them out, to kill them in the mountains and to annihilate them from the face of the earth' ? Relent from Your flaring anger and reconsider regarding the evil against Your people. (Ex. 32:11,12) Hashem reconsidered regarding the evil that He declared He would do to His people. (Ex. 32:14)

[similarly, we find in Ezekiel 20:5, 21-22]: But the children rebelled against Me. They walked not in My statutes nor kept My ordinances which if a man do, he shall live by them. [...] I said I would pour out My wrath on them, to spend My anger on them in the wilderness. Yet I withdrew My hand and acted for My Name's sake, lest it be profaned in the sight of the nations in whose sight I brought them forth.

This last quotation, regarding Israel's sins in the wilderness and G-d's decision not to destroy them lest His Name be profaned, relates to the sins of the golden calf and of the spies. The golden calf was an unbearably grave sin, and part of its punishment attaches itself to every single punishment brought upon the Jewish People, as our sages said (Sanhedrin 102a): There is no punishment that comes to the world which does not contain a minuscule portion of the [punishment for the] golden calf, as it says (Ex. 32:34), “On the day I visit, I will take this sin of theirs into account.”G-d was furious at a nation which, less than forty days after He revealed Himself at Sinai and they said they would first fulfill the Torah and only then seek explanations, exchanged their glory “for the likeness of an ox that eats grass” (Ps. 106:20). G-d decided to destroy this sinful nation, as it says (Ex. 32:10 ), “Now do not try to stop Me when I unleash My wrath against them to destroy them” and (Deut. 9:14),“Leave Me alone and I will destroy them, obliterating their name from under the heavens.” Moses, in his infinite love for the Jewish People, prostrated himself in prayer and entreaty for forty days and forty nights to tear up the evil decree, and none of his arguments had any effect – except for one!

It says (Deut. 9:25-29): Because the L-rd said He would destroy you, I threw myself down before Him for forty days and forty nights. My prayer to the L-rd was, “L-rd G-d! Do not destroy Your nation and heritage, which You liberated with Your greatness and which You brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Pay not attention to the stubbornness of this nation or to their wickedness and sin. Do not let the land from which You took them say, 'The L-rd brought them out to kill them in the desert, because He hated them and was powerless to bring them to the land He promised them.' After all, they are Your people and Your heritage. You brought them out with Your great power and Your outstretched arm.”

“Powerless!” Moses, the faithful shepherd who sacrificed himself for his love of Israel, entreated G-d on behalf of his people and cried out his last argument: “What will the nations say, in ridicule and mockery? Surely they will curse and blaspheme G-d , scornfully claiming that He is 'powerless'”. Israel were the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, chosen to be G-d's holy treasure, His special nation. Their destruction would have constituted G-d's reneging on His covenant due to inability to fulfill it. For this reason alone, “G-d refrained from doing the evil that He planned for His people” (Ex. 32:14).

[About 1400 years later,] R. Yishmael ben Elisha was the last Kohen Gadol before the destruction of the Second Temple. It was clear to R. Yishmael in his holiness and divine inspiration that G-d was about to pour out His wrath on His nation, His land and His Temple. [See] Berachot 7 a: One time I entered the Holy of Holies to bring the incense, and there I saw Akatriel Y-H, the L-rd of Hosts, sitting on a high and lofty throne. He said to me, “Yishmael, My son, bless me!” and I said to Him, “May it be Your will that Your mercy should conquer and override Your anger, and You should treat Your children with mercy, going beyond the letter of the law,” and He nodded His head to me. These words are hard to understand [...]. Does G-d need a blessing from mortal man on Yom Kippur, when He judges and rules over the whole world? Even stranger is R. Ishmael's blessing. How did he know that G-d would find it favorable? R. Yishmael knew that G-d was about to destroy His Temple and exile His children, which would lead to terrible Chilul Hashem. The nations' derisive question, “Where is their G-d?” would deprive G-d of His sovereignty, and He, too, would be in exile and servitude, so to speak. R. Yishmael understood that in this “zero hour”, G-d desired a solution that would spare His having to profane His name through the exile of His children and destruction of His Temple.

[We learn from this that for the sanctification of His Name G-d is even willing to forgo strict justice. But if so to speak, G-d can overcome himself and bridle His anger for His Name's sake, this must be reciprocated by us overcoming ourselves, even our love for others and our personal values, for His Name's sake and His eternal values]

When Moses saw the terrible Chilul Hashem of the golden calf episode, in which “they exchanged their glory for the likeness of an ox that consumes grass” (Ps. 106:20), he immediately understood that only self-sacrifice and Kiddush Hashem would save Israel from G-d's ire. It therefore says (Ex. 32:26-27, 29): [Moses] announced, “Whoever is for the L-rd, join me!” All the Leviim gathered around him. He said to them, “This is what the L-rd G-d of Israel says: Let each man put on his sword ... Let each one kill [all those involved in the idolatry], even his own brother, close friend or relative”... Moses said, “Today you shall be spiritually completed as a tribe dedicated to th L-rd, with a special blessing. Men have been willing to kill even their own sons and brothers [at G-d's command].”

Because of the self-sacrifice and Kiddush Hashem of the Leviim, which demonstrated their complete trust in G-d, G-d replaced the firstborn, chosen originally to be G-d's priests, with Leviim: “I have now taken the Leviim in place of all the firstborn Israelites” (Num. 8:18) G-d did this only because they had reached the pinnacle of self-sacrifice and Kiddush Hashem, when they were ready to kill their relatives and parents. This act demonstrated that their love of G-d superseded even their love for their most cherished relative. Following is Ramban (Ibid., v. 26): Seeing that the people were an object of ridicule in their neighbor's eyes, this being a Chilul Hashem, he stood at the gates of the camp and cried out, “Whoever is for the L-rd, join me!” (Ex. 332:26). He publicly killed all those who worshiped the calf, so that Israel's enemies should hear and the Name of Heaven should be sanctified through them, instead of the Chilul Hashem they had perpetrated.

Or HaChaim (Ex. 32:29) relates to the killing of Israelites: We might think that someone who did such a thing was spiritually flawed, possessing cruelty associated with wickedness. Moses therefore said, “Today you shall be spiritually completed” (Ex. 32:29). This is not a command, but an announcement that this day their spiritual powers would be made complete. Their deed was not a sign of any spiritual flaw. Quite the contrary, their “willingness to kill even their own sons” (Ibid) signified their approaching spiritual perfection.

The pinnacle of bitachon, sacrificing oneself for Kiddush Hashem, involves being ready to elevate one's love of G-d above one's love of people. [Similarly] G-d commanded us regarding the apostate city. If we hear of a city led astray by evildoers, such that its inhabitants went and worshiped idols, we must destroy that city and all its inhabitants with their property, until it remains an eternal ruin. Kill all the inhabitants of the city by the sword... Burn the city along with all its goods, entirely, to the L-rd your G-d... The L-rd will then have mercy on you, and in His mercy he will make you flourish... (Deut. 13, 16-18)

No mitzvah in the Torah is harder for the Jew than to destroy an entire Jewish city, and his whole nature rebels against this command. [If this goes even for aJewish city, please understand its implications regarding non-Jewish entities in the Land of Israel!] If, all the same, he overcomes his selfishness and suppresses his evil impulse via this mitzvah, how great shall be his reward! How fully has he brought G-d, the Supreme King, to reign over him and accepted G-d's yoke. It is truly as if he has fulfilled all the mitzvot.

Imagine how hard it is, how cruel it is for a person to obey G-d with such self-sacrifice as this! Yet, only in this way will G-d sanctify His Name and bring the redemption. Our sages, likewise, said (Pesikta Rabbati, 31): “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its cunning” (Ps. 137:5): R. Elazar HaKapar envisioned G-d saying: “My Torah is in your hands and the end of days is in My hands, and we both need each other. Just as you need Me to bring the end, I need you to keep My Torah, to hasten the rebuilding of My house and of Jerusalem. Just as I cannot possibly forget the end, as it says, 'Let My right hand lose its cunning,' so have you no right to forget the Torah, which stated, 'From His right hand went out a fiery law for them' (Deut. 33:2).”

Listen well, O Israel! G-d, Himself, decrees His dependency upon Israel, so to speak, our “both needing each other.” Had our sages not said this, who could have dared express it? Yet, once they did say it, how can we continue our rebellion against G-d, a rebellion rendered foolish and inane in light of these words? After all, G-d admits, so to speak, that in order to hasten the building of Jerusalem and the Temple, in order to return once more as King, thereby sanctifying His Name and eliminating the terrible Chilul Hashem, He needs Israel. That is, it is enough if Israel resume Torah observance, and then, for His own sake, to sanctify His Name, He will return to Eretz Israel and bring the redemption. Thus, G-d is “dependent” on us, and why should we not understand this? One might ask: Why does G-d enable flesh and blood to dictate decrees to Him?

The answer is simple: G-d fiercely longs to sanctify His Name, profaned daily by the nations, but He demands that Israel sanctify His Name first through complete and perfect faith and trust in G-d. They must take hold of the dangerous, frightening mitzvot which leave them isolated and alone with the nations opposing them, for only this can prove their real trust in Him.