DIVREI YOEL PARASHAS KI SAVO
1. The Satmar Rebbe, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Ki Savo, p. 174), explains a very interesting point regarding the mitzvah of m'chias Amaleik. The mitzvah to destroy Amaleik is found in the Torah adjacent to the portion which begins: "Ki savo el ha'aretz", which discusses the entry of Bnei Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel. We learn from this that the main aspect of Amaleik's destruction will occur only after the Jewish People enter Eretz Yisroel in the future, in the time of Moshiach. These two events, the destruction of Amaleik and the Jewish People's entry into the Land of Israel with the coming of Moshiach, are inextricably linked to each other.
The Rebbe then underlines another point. The passuk tells us, "L'ma'an yirbu y'meichem...al ha'adamah." This verse is teaching us that one of the benefits associated with Eretz Yisroel is long life. This, however will also mainly be fulfilled only during the time of Moshiach. Today, our shuls and Batei Midrash have the same quality as Eretz Yisroel in this regard, as stated in the Gemara (Berachos 8a).
Elswhere in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Shemos), the Rebbe explains that when Chazal teach that in the times of Moshiach the Batei Kenessios and Batei Midrashos will be transported to Eretz Yisroel, the reference is not only to shuls and study halls, but also to any ehrliche Jewish home, run fully and uncompromisingly according to Torah. Such homes will also be transplanted to Eretz Yisroel when Moshiach comes. Perhaps we can extrapolate from this and understand that an ehrliche Yiddishe home brings arichas yamim also.
Since an ehrliche Yiddishe home is the bechinah of Eretz Yisroel, we can also understand that a true and proper Jewish home is linked with the mitzvah to destroy Amaleik, and although the true and main destruction of Amaleik will occur only after Moshiach, as stated here by the Divrei Yoel, Amaleik can still experience some level of destruction through the power of ehrliche Yiddishe homes today, here and now, even in galus. Additionally, the seforim explain that when a person is able to touch upon a very high madreiga of avodas Hashem, even for just a moment, he is zocheh to this level in Olam Haba, on a continuous basis. Perhaps a similar concept is at play here. If we put even just a tiny, momentary dent in the power of Amaleik, then when Moshaich comes, we will merit to see the complete destruction and eradication of Amaleik. Additionally, we will receive a rich reward for the effort that we put into the fight against this evil nation during our lifetime.
The Rebbe quotes the Chofetz Chaim who said that the Zionists are the true Amaleik of our time. What does this statement mean? If we dig a little deeper, perhaps we can gain a more profound understanding of this teaching. Amaleik's goal was to infuse both immorality and idolatry into the Jewish nation. They attempted to do this by attacking the members of Klal Yisroel who had already had some thoughts of doubt in regard to emunah. The people who allowed improper thoughts to enter their minds were the most susceptible to being profoundly influenced by Amaleik. Amaleik is so saturated with tumah, heresy, and immorality that even casual contact can cause the worst of disasters. The effects of opening the door just a crack can be more far-reaching than we can imagine. Therefore, we must guard our homes. Only when our homes will be completely pure and free from all traces of Amaleik will they have the ability to bring down Amaleik's power.
Amaleik seeks to bring impurity and traces of Avodah Zarah into every Yiddishe home. These forces of Amaleik attempt to accomplish this though encouraging pritzus. Additionally he attempts to bring weekday conversation to the Shabbos table, as well as short tempers and fights. All of these things come from the forces of Amaleik, the forces of the Zionists. All the above-mentioned ills cause Moshiach to be delayed in arriving, and give fuel to the evil Zionist kingdom and army. Every Jewish home that Amaleik is able to enter is brought down and no longer on the level of Eretz Yisroel, and hence, this home is no longer a threat to him. We must therefore guard our homes with the utmost vigilance, to make sure that no traces of the forces of the Sitra Achara are able to enter our heilige homes.
The above-mentioned tactics of Amaleik are precipitated on a spiritual level and acted out on a physical level. There are, however, other manifestations of Amaleik's power on a more clear level. When the IDF inserts themselves into the lives of innocent, ehrliche Yidden, this is Amaleik at play. When Yidden vote in the forbidden Zionist elections and defile themselves through participation in the Knesset, Amaleik is given more power. The Zionist government is the government of Amaleik, and the Zionist army is the army of Amaleik. The stated goal of the Zionists is to inject impurity and heresy into every Jewish mind and heart, R"L. It is for this reason that they are Amaleik. The Zionists expend great effort to destroy Jewish homes and to inject tumah into them. We must fight this wave of heresy with all our strength. The ehrliche Yiddishe homes are our only hope. If they still exist, we can hold out until Moshiach, but when they are destroyed, chas v'shalom, we are lost.
2. The Satmar Rebbe, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Ki Savo, p. 171), discusses the special sanctity of Eretz Yisroel versus the secularity of the other nations. He cites the Gemara (Meseches Berachos 30a), which teaches that one who is standing in Eretz Yisroel during prayer should face toward the Beis Hamikdash. One who is standing in the Beis Hamikdash should face the Kodesh hakadashim. One who is outside of Eretz Yisroel should face the direction of Eretz Yisroel while praying. The Rebbe explains this Gemara in the following light. Eretz Yisroel possesses a higher level of holiness than does Chutz La'aretz. Yerushalayim possesses a higher degree of kedushah than the rest of the land, and the Kodesh Hakadashim is the holiest area of the Beis Hamikdash. Hence, we see that the Gemara here is discussing increasing levels of holiness. This is a message for us. No matter what level we are on, even if we are on the lofty level of "standing in the Beis Hamikdash," we must always tirelessly strive for a higher level of service to Hashem. The greatest heights of avodas Hashem can be attained in Eretz Yisroel. Those of us living in Chutz La'aretz are much more prone to negative desires, influences, and obstacles in the path to our spiritual growth. Therefore, we must sanctify ourselves with a lofty and intense sanctity even here in Chutz La'aretz.
Given the above, explains the Divrei Yoel, we must also be realists. Today we are on an exceedingly low spiritual level, with the worst filth surrounding us. Every negative desire in the word assails us. Our situation is similar to the situation of the Yidden in Mitzrayim, perhaps even worse (see Mayin Ganim, Parashas Beshalach, Shalosh Seudas Derashah). In order for the Jewish People to have been able to serve Hashem properly, and to continuously grow in avodas Hashem, it was necessary for Hashem to redeem them from Egypt and bring them to Eretz Yisroel, for the Holy Land has the power to bring a Jew from level to level in a continuous ascent in Torah and kedushah.
Another interesting point in this connection is as follows. We read in our parashah that Hashem heard our cry and rescued us from Mitzrayim. The Jewish People cried out due to the oppressive burdens placed upon them by the Egyptian taskmasters. The Midrash teaches that Paroh increased the burden of the Jewish People by forcing them to go out and collect the straw for the bricks they were to make, whereas before, the straw had been provided for them directly. The catch was that despite the extra time it would take to go out, find, collect, and bring back the straw, the Jews still had to make the same number of bricks. It was this added pressure that caused the Yidden to cry out.
The Beirach Moshe, ZT"L, explains what the main aspect of this oppression was. Contrary to what most of us would assume, it was not the added physical labor. The Beirach Moshe explains that the main oppression in this new decree was the fact that now, the Yidden would be leaving their protected environment and walking about the areas that were populated mainly or exclusively by Egyptians. There, the Yidden would see the worst immorality, and be negatively affected by this.
This, then, gives us a perspective on why the Yidden cried out. They did not cry out because the physical labor was greatly increased, although this was certainly a terrible form of oppression. They cried out because they were exposed to such terrible immorality. Even though the Jews had indeed sunk to very low spiritual levels while in Mitzrayim, somewhere inside of themselves they cried out in pain over the desecration of their neshamos that was occurring on a daily basis. It was this spark that was still left in the Jewish People that was the merit for their redemption, as we are taught that Hashem redeemed us because "He heard our outcry." Perhaps it was this one point of feeling that gave the Jews the merit to be redeemed and taken to Eretz Yisroel to grow to higher and higher levels, as we learn: "Mitzvah goreres mitzvah," one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah. This purity that still lay within the souls of the Yidden gave them a power of tefillah so strong that their cry was able to ascend directly to Hashem. They thereby touched upon a concept of Eretz Yisroel, as all tefillos go through Yerushalayim before they are accepted on high. The tefillos of Klal Yisroel in Mitzrayim were so powerful that they ascended directly to Hashem, in the manner of tefillos offered in Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash.
This the fulfillment of what the Gemara here says regarding someone who is blind or cannot determine the proper direction to face during prayer. The Gemara here (Berachos 30a) teaches that one who is blind, or otherwise cannot tell what direction he is facing should simply direct his heart with kavanah toward Hashem Yisborach.
Alternatively, we can perhaps explain this statement about the blind person in connection with this piece of Divrei Yoel as well as the Divrei Yoel elsewhere. The Rebbe in Divrei Yoel al HaMoadim (Rosh Hashanah) constantly emphasizes the fact that today we have no one to whom to turn but Hashem Himself. In previous times we had the Beis Hamikdash, we had the Kohen Gadol, we had nevi'im, etc. Today, we have none of these entities. We can no longer turn to the Beis Hamikdash as a source of atonement, we no longer have tzaddikim of the caliber of previous generations. A tzaddik is compared to the Beis Hamikdash, and is, in fact, even greater, as evidenced by Chazal's teaching that the day of a tzaddik's passing is more difficult than the day the Beis Hamikdash was destoyed. Due to the low spiritual state of the masses in today's generations, the power and level of the tzaddikim is limited, and so this concept too is limited. We have no one to help us but Hashem. We must cry out to Hashem and return to Him in teshuvah to the best of our ability.
Another explanation of this Gemara can possibly be advanced in light of the previously cited teaching of the Beirach Moshe. When someone makes himself as if he is blind, by shutting his eyes to all immorality, his heart will be constantly connected to Hashem and his tefillos will be effective, as was the case with the Jews in Mitzrayim.
The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in his sefer Vayoel Moshe, discusses the Torah's recounting of the fact that the evil king Menashe placed an idol in the heichal. The Rebbe explains a powerful and fascinating point regarding this event. Besides for the simple p'shat meaning, the Rebbe explains that the Torah is indicating here that King Menashe had foreign thoughts during tefillah. For him, this was equivalent to idol worship of the worst kind.
What emerges from the above is the following. Eretz Yisroel, when utilized properly by the Jewish People in the service of Hashem, provides us with an extremely great power of tefillah. This is in addition to the countless other spiritual benefits provided by the land, through which we are able to rise from level to level in Hashem's service. However, what must precede this entry into Eretz Yisroel is a complete cleansing and purifying of our neshamos, which will, in turn, grant us a powerful voice of prayer. All this will occur when Moshiach comes. At that time, we will ascend to our land with pride, led by the King Moshiach.
As seen from the above-mentioned sections of Divrei Yoel and Vayoel Moshe, tefillah is the direct opposite and counterpart in holiness to Avodah Zarah. Therefore we must strengthen ourselves in tefillah if we desire to see the elimination of idol worship and heresy. Through prayer, we can break through the klipos and come close to Hashem, even influencing all those around us to come close to Hashem and His service.
3. "Cursed is one who leads a blind person astray on the way..." (Devarim 27:18)
The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Kuntres Chiddushei Torah u'Derashos, explains that many people today have, unfortunately, been misled and convinced not to follow acceptable norms and standards of the Torah. The Rebbe explains that by this point in time, many of the people who are doing wrong cannot be categorized as the worst resha'im, since they simply do not know any better and have acquired the status of "tinokos shenishbu," Jewish children captured by idolaters and raised as gentiles. The Rebbe applies this principle to matters of tznius, and perhaps this logic can also be applied to some extent in regard to Zionism.
Today, unfortunately, so many people have been brainwashed by the Zionists that they automatically think, almost as a reflex, that "Israel" is synonymous with "Jewish," and that an integral part of being Jewish is supporting the State of Israel. Many, many of these people simply do not know any better, and are simply spouting back what has been taught to them by their parents. We must calmly and gently explain to them the error of their ways, and that the Torah says that Zionism is forbidden.
Those who led the masses astray bear the full brunt of not only their own sins, but also the sins of every single person led astray by the evil actions of the leaders. The Rebbe explains that the Zionist leaders are and were Amaleik, both in spirit and body. These people must be shunned and fought. We must proclaim to the entire world that, as Torah-true Jews, we have no connection at all to the evil Zionist State. In this zechus, may we merit to greet Moshiach speedily, Amein!