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Divrei Yoel Acharei Mos

BS"D
DIVREI YOEL PARASHAS ACHAREI MOS

1. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Acharei Mos p. 5) discusses one aspect of the sin for which Nadav and Avihu were punished with death. The Rebbe explains that they refrained from having children, a sin which causes the Shechinah to be removed from the Jewish people as explained by the Gemara in Meseches Yevamos 64a. The Gemara explains that there could be a scenario whereby almost 600,000 Jews could be gathered together, a situation that would bring the Shechinah, but since one person refrained from fulfilling the mitzvah to have children, the gathering falls just short of 600,000. Thus, it comes about that this person who refrained from procreating has driven away the Shechinah from Klal Yisroel, chas v'shalom. For neglecting this mitzvah, Nadav and Avihu were punished.

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It is clearly evident from the above Gemara that having children can bring about the revelation of the Shechinah, and conversely, to refrain from having children can bring about terrible consequences, R"L. However, it is worthwhile to bring out a deeper point here. Merely having children is not the entire job. Chinuch is a vitally essential component of ensuring that the children grow up to be the type of people upon whom the Shechinah can rest. We see this need clearly today. Interestingly, many of the Zionists encourage having many children; these are the so-called "religious Zionists." One might think that through this encouragement, they are actually doing good and bringing about the potential for the revelation of the Shechinah. However, the truth is very different. Upon examining the deeds of these children when they grow older, it is obvious that they are not the type of people upon whom the Shechinah can rest. By acting with violence and uncalled for zealotry, they cause the desecration of Hashem's holy name, chas v'shalom, and hence, drive the Shechinah away rather than draw it near.

It is imperative for us to understand that in order for the Shechinah to rest upon us, we must be holy. When we create and accept twisted mindsets, we ruin ourselves and our children, bringing terrible destruction upon Klal Yisroel. What makes these contorted mindsets even more insidious is the fact that they are usually presented under the guise of legitimate Torah teachings. Upon close examination, however, we find that these hashkafos are nothing but fabrications by the heretics to push a Zionistic agenda. We must look to the true Torah leaders of our generation to understand the Torah-true path and to live a life free of heresy.

2. Chazal tell us that when the messenger with the goat for Azazel was on his way from the Beis Hamikdash to the cliff from which the goat for Azazel would be thrown, the people, in their eagerness for atonement, would pull the hair of the goat to hasten it along to its destination. In order to prevent this untoward behavior, an elevated ramp was constructed so that the goat could proceed on its way beyond the reach of the spectators. Why did they not simply call the police to control the rowdy crowd? The Rebbe answers as follows: The people who were pulling the goat's hair, while indeed violating Yom Tov, were ehrliche Yidden acting in distress over their aveiros. They were acting l'sheim shomayim. From here we learn that when ehrliche Yidden are acting for the honor of Hashem, one does not call out the police --- peaceful ways of enforcing the law must be utilized. (Chidushei Torah, Moadim 1962)

3. The Mishnah in Yuma 39a says that when the Kohen Gadol drew the lots for the two goats, one for Hashem and one for the Azazel, he had to stick his hand into the box and pull out the lots quickly, in one motion. The Gemara explains that we are concerned that he might feel around and intentionally pick up the lot for Hashem in his right hand, knowing that this was a good sign for the Jewish people. Tosefos Yeshanim explains that the Chachamim were not concerned that the Kohen Gadol would intentionally violate the law requiring a fair lottery. Rather they were concerned that, in his great desire for the preferred outcome, he might forget himself. This is a very important and powerful lesson for us. The yetzer hara is very clever when it comes to persuading people to commit aveiros. When someone greatly desires something, he can become blinded, and this is such a powerful force that even a great Kohen Gadol could be subject to this pitfall. (Divrei Yoel Motz'ei Yom Kippur)

We must remember this today in an age when many people have fallen for the fallacious argument that "the end justifies the means." Many ehrliche Yidden are, unfortunately, deluded into thinking that although the State of Israel was founded and is run by heretics, that in the end, more good than bad has been accomplished. This, however, is simply not true. How can anyone, much less a Torah-true, G-d-fearing Jew, justify the thousands upon thousands of Jewish lives lost at the hands of the Zionist wars? How can anyone justify the brutal treatment of innocent, religious Jews at the hands of the Israeli army and police?

The Zionist state has, additionally, brought a myriad of other problems in its wake: international conflict, terrorism, extreme spiritual decline, endangerment of Jews worldwide, exponential increases in anti-Semitism to name a few. Additionally, even the Charedi media would have us believe that the "good" accomplished by religious Jews in the Knesset somehow offsets the bad. The reality is, however, that the religious Jews who befriend and connect with the evil heretics do not change them, rather to the contrary, the heretics influence the ehrliche Yidden who have been caught in their trap. With one or two "Charedi-friendly" sentences, a terrible, satanic bill can pass with full support from Charedi politicians.

The terrible spiritual and physical dangers that this type of situation presents are clear and obvious. However, the yetzer hara is so powerful, that good Torah Jews can be brought to commit and support the worst aveiros, all the while believing that they are doing great mitzvos.

This is further represented in the terrible plague of "religious" Zionism, whose adherents believe that they are doing all kinds of mitzvos by building settlements. The truth is that they are simply attempting to satisfy their never-filled nationalistic hunger. They desire to be like all the other nations. The Torah is not their guide; the teachings of Zionist writers are their doctrine. They will live and die by "Israel," not by the Torah. They stone cars and brandish weapons, acting just like the Arabs they claim they are fighting. When word of these disgusting activities reaches the ears of the world, a terrible chillul Hashem is created, R"L. We, as Torah-true Jews, must stand up and decry this heresy. We must explain to all that the activities of these ruffians are completely contrary to the Torah, our holy heritage. We must stand up and proclaim that we have no connection with these people who are never satisfied with yesterday's destruction and who seek to perpetrate ever more.

Additionally, it is often believed by even religious Jews that the Zionist army is protecting the Zionist state and everyone who lives there. However, when we learn the words of Chazal, we find a different story. The Torah is what protects us. Learning Torah and performing mitzvos are our only shield. The Zohar tells us that Yishmael has a chailek in Eretz Yisroel, because he accepted the one mitzvah of bris milah (albeit performed in a halachically invalid way). Yishmael will only be defeated when that zechus runs out; to attempt to drive out the Arabs from Eretz Yisroel, especially through using a forbidden army, is simply nonsensical. We, on our own, will not be able to drive out Yishmael. This is something that only Hashem can do, and He will do it when the zechus of the nation of the Arabs has been exhausted. Until this point, the Israeli government is simply destroying lives for no purpose since the IDF will never prevail over the Arabs. Instead, we must distance ourselves from the heretics, and with eyes toward heaven, learn Torah, do mitzvos, and pray for peace and safety in the whole world.

Today, we are in exile: a divinely-decreed exile. Hashem has placed us in galus as atonement for our sins, so that we spread the G"dly light of Torah throughout the entire world. During this time in exile, we must bow our heads submissively to the nations of the world, because this is what Hashem, our Holy King, has commanded us, and this process of galus is, in fact, for our own good. We must realize this and not forfeit the advantages we gain through our travels in galus.

Chazal tell us that Hashem gave Avraham Avinu the choice of Gehinnom or galus for his descendants. Avraham chose galus. Through this process of galus, we are spared Gehinnom. This was the "deal" made by Avraham. However, the seforim explain that for those who refuse to except galus, this trade-off does not work, and they will, chas v' shalom, inherit Gehinnom. If we have the emunah to believe that this galus is for our benefit, and through our faithful acceptance of it, we will be spared the pain of Gehinnom, R"L, we will merit the true and final redemption, brought only by Hashem Himself without our intervention.

Chazal teach us that as Torah-true Jews, we must understand that to rise up in violence against the nations of the world is not only unwise but is severely prohibited by the Torah. Today, we are forbidden to have an army. We are forbidden to fight against the other nations. The Zionists have created an atmosphere whereby peace is no longer so easy, but as Jews who cling to the Torah, we must stand firm and never bend in our commitment to Hashem. We must always strive for peace with all our neighbors. War will simply not bring us success. We must cling to Hashem and announce to the entire world that genuine Torah Jews only seek peace, not harm or bloodshed. When the right time comes, Hashem will send us the final redemption and we will merit seeing our dream: true, everlasting, worldwide peace. May that day arrive speedily. Amein!

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The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, was once visited by a religious Zionist leader. As the Rebbe cut open an apple that appeared very beautiful, he noticed that the inside of the fruit was rotten. The Rebbe commented, "From the outside it looks very nice, but inside it is rotten."

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The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, was asked about the proper approach toward the wars fought by the Israelis. The Rebbe answered that we cannot daven that the heretical Zionist army win, but at the same time, we cannot daven that the Arabs win since this would mean terrible, horrifying consequences for the Jews in Eretz Yisroel, chas v' shalom. Instead, answered the Rebbe, we should simply daven that all Jews everywhere be safe.

Certainly then, to say a prayer for the welfare of the "State of Israel" or the "IDF" is inappropriate and against the spirit of the Torah. In fact, it is heresy. We should learn from the great wisdom of the Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, and daven with all our hearts that all Jews everywhere remain safe. This is the Torah-true path and will bear success. To veer from this path because we think we know better will not bring any beneficial results. May we all merit learning how to daven properly, and may Hashem in His great mercy protect all the Jews in the entire world, no matter where they may be. Amein!

4. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Acharei Mos p. 24) sheds some light on what was behind the sin of Nadav and Avihu. Chazal tell us that Nadav and Avihu sinned in that they did not get married and have children. The Rebbe explains that since Nadav and Avihu were leaders of the generation, they hoped that by refraining from the mitzvah of procreation, they would cause everyone else to follow suit, hence putting the entire nation in danger of extinction and forcing Moshiach to come to stop such a calamity. However, this was not proper and Nadav and Avihu were punished with death.

We learn from this a powerful lesson. Nadav and Avihu were attempting to force Moshiach to come before the proper time, a sin for which they paid dearly. However, we must understand the context of this sin. This incident occurred right after the inauguration of the Beis Hamikdash. The Beis Hamikdash brought about a tremendous revelation of Hashem's glory in the entire world, much like the situation will be in the time of Moshiach. Moshe and Aharon, prophets and supremely holy men, were leading the Jewish people. The completion of the construction of the Beis Hamikdash, in a sense, was a rectification of the sin of the golden calf. Klal Yisroel was at a time that seemed ripe for Moshiach, yet, at this very time, Nadav and Avihu were punished for their sin of refraining from the very first mitzvah in the Torah in an attempt to push for Moshiach before the proper time.

As Torah-true Yidden, it is our job to follow the Torah with simplicity and not try to make divine calculations. The Gemara in Meseches Berachos (10a) teaches us that when King Chizkiyahu fell deathly ill, the navi Tzidkiyahu came to visit him, bearing a message from Hashem. The navi told King Chizkiyahu that the great king was destined to die, because he had refrained from performing the mitzvah of procreation. King Chizkiyahu answered that he had refrained from this mitzvah since he saw with ruach hakodesh that evil would descend from him. The navi famously answered him, "What business do you have with the secrets of Hashem?" Even a great tzadik such as Chizkiyahu was forbidden to act based upon what he saw with his ruach hakodesh when it contradicted halacha. We must learn from the two incidents mentioned above that we must follow the Torah strictly as ordained and not attempt to act based upon anything else.

This point applies all the more strongly when we are discussing people who are not on the level of prophecy. As simple Jews, we must surely not be swayed by the arguments of those who claim that due to certain conditions or scenarios, we must bend the rules of the Torah. We must not attempt to force the end and bring Moshiach on our own. We must wait patiently for Hashem's redemption. It is imperative for us to look into the mistake of Nadav and Avihu and learn to distance ourselves from any similar error.

5. In Divrei Yoel (Acharei Mos p. 101), the Rebbe discusses the optimum way that the Jews and non-Jews should live: in peace. When Klal Yisroel does the will of Hashem, the non-Jews are kind to them, allowing the Jews plenty of time to learn Torah and serve Hashem free from distraction. This is the ultimate partnership between the Jews and the surrounding populace.

As ehrliche Yidden living in a modern society, it would be wise for us to take this message to heart even before the coming of Moshiach. Although we do not, unfortunately, live in a time when we fulfill Hashem's will to the full extent, we must understand that peace with our non-Jewish neighbors is still a very desirable, Torah-true accomplishment.

As G"d-fearing Jews, we must know that Hashem desires that we keep a low profile during this era of galus. We must strive to live peaceably even with our enemies and do our best not to antagonize them, even if his means giving up some things that are "rightfully" ours. Even if it is not possible to live in peace with the hostile nations around us, we must nevertheless make the gesture. In this way, we can turn to Hashem in complete faith, having done everything humanly possible to bring peace.

The Zionists claimed that establishing a state would solve the problem of anti-Semitism. The reality is, however, that the Zionists' pushy, elitist attitude has only served, understandably, to increase anti-Semitism both in quantity and in "quality." Unfortunately, so many people were swept up in Zionist rhetoric that few could see behind the mask. Only our great Torah sages and pious leaders were able, through their great wisdom, to remain 100% untainted by the heresy. In their unfathomable greatness, they saw to the future and warned us to guard ourselves. Unfortunately, only a small minority heeded their words.

Today, more than ever, we must strengthen ourselves against the Zionist heresy and explain to the whole world that we are Jews, not Zionists. We do not wish to dominate or rule, but rather to be good citizens of our host countries and live as kind, peaceful neighbors with all mankind.

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The holy Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, was once walking down the street with his gabbaim. Seeing a non-Jew approaching, the attendant walked ahead and asked the man to wait as the Rebbe walked by. After arriving home, the Rebbe rebuked his gabbay, "Why did you do that? It's his street!"

6. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Acharei Mos p. 96) discusses the "affection" of the other nations and the heretics toward Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe explains that when the non-Jews and the apikorsim have a connection to and claim love for Eretz Yisroel, this is, in truth, completely different than the love that we, as ehrliche Yidden, have for Eretz Yisroel. To simply control the land without Torah and mitzvos brings about terrible aveiros like those performed by the seven nations of Canaan. However, when we have the land together with Torah and mitzvos, we have a precious gift. Let us all take this to heart and act accordingly.

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We find in this week's parasha the prohibition of "Uv'chukosaihem lo sailaichu," not to follow in the ways of the non-Jews. However, the Satmar Rebbe explained that there are actually some things that we can learn from the non-Jews and use in the service of Hashem. For example, the Rebbe explained, in the world of secular education, a person receives a diploma to hold in his hands after a certain period of time studying and completing a given number of courses. L'havdil, students of Torah should set goals in their learning, and a system should be established so that the servants of Hashem can have something to hold in their hands, representing and proving their accomplishments in Torah learning. (Heard from Rabbi Dovid Meisels)

We must strive to distance ourselves from the evil people who pervert the Torah and wish to follow the other nations. We find that the Zionists, without any sense of guidance from the Torah, built a State to attempt to be like all the other nations. This is complete foolishness, and we must not be connected at all to such an evil entity as the State of Israel. May we merit seeing the dismantling of the demonic regime of the Zionists with the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days. Amein!