Divrei Yoel Matos Masei

1. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Mattos, p. 181) explains that before the Jewish People went out to wage war against Midyan, they prepared themselves greatly. Firstly, the only people admitted for service in this army were the most righteous and pious people to be found. Chazal tell us that anyone who was scared to go into battle was sent home. The fear referred to here is fear due to aveiros. What type of aveirah would disqualify someone for military service? Even so minor an offense as making a verbal interruption between the Berachos of Yishtabach and Yotzer Ohr. Secondly, even the tzaddikim who were chosen worked very hard to cleanse themselves of even the slightest failings. In addition, as part of this cleansing process, the soliders fasted before going into battle. Several interesting points emerge from this section of Divrei Yoel. Through a probing analysis, we will, b'ezras Hashem, come to a deeper understanding of the events of today, through the lens of our holy Torah. The idea of a Jewish army, and, by extension, a "Jewish State," is held dear by the Zionists. Perhaps from this section of the Torah, we can glean a true understanding of what a Jewish army is.

There seem to be two main aspects that shaped the structure of the army that waged war against the Midianites. Both of these aspects have many subcategories that mold our understanding of Hashem's army versus, l'havdil, the army of the sitra achra. Firstly, the army that fought Midyan was formed only because Hashem so commanded. Hashem directly instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to take revenge on Midyan for the fact that they ensnared Bnei Yisroel into sin. This revenge was in and of itself a mitzvah. Chazal elaborate on this command, explaining that Hashem commanded the Jewish People to go out to war against the Midyanites mainly to avenge the honor of His children (נקום נקמת בני ישראל), while Klal Yisroel had in mind to avenge the honor of Hashem (לתת נקמת ה'). The formation of this army and the war that it waged was unquestionably a mitzvah. This army was fighting l'sheim Shomayim, only for the sake of Hashem. This army could, therefore, rightfully be called a holy Jewish army.

The essence of our Yiddishkeit is based upon one single factor: the Torah. We are only Jews because of the Torah. Contrary to popular belief, one cannot be Jewish in any other way. One cannot be Jewish politically, culturally, or in any other sense. The above concept is obvious in view of the fact that we only became Jewish by standing at Har Sinai and accepting the Torah. We did not stand at Har Sinai and accept "Jewish culture" or "Jewish food." Therefore, the essential condition for an army to be a "Jewish" army is that it must be created and built only with the permission and guidance of the Torah. This single fact alone tells us that today it is simply impossible to have an entity that can truthfully be called a "Jewish army," since it is forbidden for us to have an army today (as explained by the Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Vayoel Moshe and Al Hageulah V'al Hatemurah).

The second aspect that shapes a Jewish army is who makes up the army and how this army functions. The true Jewish army in the times of Moshe Rabbeinu was composed entirely of tzaddikim. Before going out to war, they purified themselves of all sin. They fasted. They did teshuvah. They cried out to Hashem and placed all their trust in Him. Today, unfortunately, there exists an IDF. The IDF does none of the above. Not only is the very existence of the IDF a blasphemy against the Torah, but the way this army is run makes the scenario even more of a desecration, R"L. The IDF is not run according to the Torah. Boys and girls train alongside one another. Beards and peyos are removed. Non-Jewish society is completely imitated in this army. The IDF prides itself on its own strength, never turning to Hashem. How can anyone possibly imagine that this represents a "Jewish army" or the strength of the Jewish People? Many people believe that an answer to the above-mentioned problems is the creation of "Nachal Charedi," the so-called "charedi" units in the IDF. These misguided people stumble by failing to understand the fact that no matter what an army of Jews looks like, it is forbidden to have one now. This is aside from the fact that the Nachal Charedi units contain significant numbers of fringe, semi-orthodox members who influence all around them to loosen all standards of Torah Yiddishkeit, and indeed, all standards of human decency and modesty.

A clear distinction must be drawn between the army of tzaddikim, and, l'havdil, the IDF -- the impure, contaminated, and defiled army of the Zionists, which is the army of the Satan. We must stand up to the heretical army of the Zionists without fear. These days, we are faced with the terrible decrees of the Israeli government to draft yeshiva bochurim into the IDF. This is nothing but a gezeiras shmad, and we must resist this evil and horrifying decree with all our might. The sad truth is that the problem of the draft, as well as many other similar troubles in Eretz Yisroel, have been brought on by Charedi Jews who have bowed and scraped before the heretical government, making compromises right and left, just to get a few more shekels.

The truth is that the IDF, and, by extension, the Israeli government, is much more comparable to the Midyanim, than to the Bnei Yisroel. The Midyanim were saturated with avodah zarah. The very basis of the "State of Israel" is avodah zarah and denial of the Torah, R"L. The Midyanim were filled with immorality that they attempted to spread, as is the IDF. Therefore, we must learn from the true Jewish army -- the army of tzaddikim that fought Midyan -- and strengthen ourselves in Torah, mitzvos, and taharah. We must do teshuvah, cleansing ourselves of all wrongdoing. Then we will be ready to do battle full-force with the modern-day forces of Midyan.

2. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Mattos, p. 175) explains that as Yidden, the essence of our task every day is to fulfill that which we accept upon ourselves every day, twice a day, in Krias Shema. In Krias Shema, we accept upon ourselves the yoke of Malchus Shamyim, as well as the yoke of Torah and Mitzvos. Furthermore, the Rebbe explains, if we would, in fact, fulfil all that is written in Shema, the geulah would surely come and Hashem would keep His promise that we will never be under the subjugation of the other nations ever again.

What emerges from the above teaching, is that if we want to Moshiach to come, we must focus on fulfilling our divine duties to Hashem. This is the only way that we will be able to bring Moshiach, and this way is, in fact, a permissible way to work toward bringing the final geulah.

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The Satmar Rebbe in Divrei Yoel (Al Hamoadim Rosh Hashanah) teaches that, now, in this generation, we have an even stronger argument regarding why Moshiach should come now. In previous generations, we could not plead so much that Moshiach should come for the sake of Hashem's Glory since His Glory was already revealed in the world through the great Tzaddikim who lived then. But, today, unfortunately, the generations have sunk and Hashem's glory is not manifest in the world, therefore we can truly cry out: "Send Moshiach for the sake of Your Glory!".

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The Tzanzer Rav, the Divrei Chaim ZY"A, once told his Chassidim that the third Beis Hamikdash in shomayim was almost entirely completed; only the paroches remained unattached. If the paroches were to be hung up, Moshiach would come. Rabbi Yehoshua of Tomashov remarked, “We believe with complete faith that the Rebbe is able to make the paroches.” The Divrei Chaim did not reply. However, on another occasion as he sat down to the tish, he began by remarking, “How do you know that I didn’t make the paroches? It is only that a certain wicked man tore it up with his sins.” (Vayoel Moshe, Hakdama p. 9)

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On the night of Simchas Torah (5641 / 1881), the Holy Shinaver Rebbe told his Chassidim the following. One year, after leading the first Hakafah the Rebbe, R' Elimelech of Lizhensk saw that the Heavenly Beis Hamikdash was just about ready to be lowered to the ground. Only one small detail was missing. R' Elimelech asked his Chassidim to please accomplish that detail, but no one was willing to do it. The Shinaver Rebbe concluded: "Imagine! It has been over 100 years since this story, and still, no one is willing to do this one detail!" (Sukkos Secrets by R' Dovid Meisels)

3. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Mattos, p.186), explains a fascinating point regarding the time when Bnei Yisroel waged war against Midyan. The Rebbe explains that Hashem, at that time, showed Moshe Rabbeinu what would be with Eretz Yisroel in future times. Moshe Rabbeinu saw how Eretz Yisroel would pass from hand to hand. He saw that Eretz Yisroel would eventually fall into the hands of the Eiruv Rav (the Rebbe is most likely referring to the Zionists here, as in many other places the Rebbe explains that the Zionists have the neshamos of the Eiruv Rav), and all the many terrible repercussions that this would have. At that time, Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to bring about the complete Tikkun of Eretz Yisroel, in order to prevent the terrible calamities that he foresaw with Ruach Hakodesh. However, Moshe was unsuccessful, and the final and complete Tikkun of Eretz Yisroel will only occur in the times of Moshiach, the time for which we are all eagerly waiting.

The Rebbe explains in his Sefer Vayoel Moshe, that even the authorities that teach that Eretz Yisroel retains its kedushah to this day, only hold that this is true if the Yidden living in Eretz Yisroel are acting properly. If however, they are, chas v'shalom, disgracing the land through aveiros and all sorts of low behavior, the holiness inherent in Eretz Yisroel leaves. The fact that the Zionists have disgraced the land in the worst ways imaginable and polluted it with immorality and heresy only serves to drive us farther and farther away from the final Tikkun.

This disgrace of the land comes to a head in the Knesset where evil heretics and Zionists collaborate with misguided Charedi Yidden to defile the land with heresy, immorality, selfish in-fighting, and secular studies. The Charedim who involve themselves in the Knesset work alongside the worst reshiam on earth. These Charedim claim to be attempting to preserve traditional Torah Judaism, while at the very same time they are blindly helping to destroy the Torah and Yiddishkeit. We must do all that we can to support the Torah-true Yidden who live in Eretz Yisroel, not benefiting in the least from the impure money of the Zionist government.

4. The Passuk (Bamidbar 31:16) teaches that after the war with Midyan, Moshe Rabbeinu rebuked those who had sinned and said regarding the women the Jewish soldiers had spared and brought back: "Hein Heina!" meaning that these were the very women who had caused Klal Yisroel to sin. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Kuntres Chiddushei Torah Uderashos, 163 (Parashas Mattos - Maasei 5715 / 1955) explains that Moshe was referring not only to those who had caused others to sin, but also to the mazikin, the spiritual destroyers that had been created in the wake of the aveiros.

Those who cause others to stumble into sin cause terrible destruction. We must be on guard to protect ourselves from these terrible Reshaim. Be it immorality or heresy, there are many terrible winds of destruction blowing today. We must make sure to guard ourselves against being influenced by them. We must do all that we can to fight against the evil Israeli government and its satanical army. Unfortunately, some Charedim have fallen for the misguided notion that we must feel some sense of gratitude toward the soldiers of the IDF for protecting the Jews living in Eretz Yisroel. What a foolish idea! The IDF is endangering the Jewish People every moment of every day! The IDF is working its hardest to destroy the Jewish Nation from the inside.

While the Jewish People have faced many enemies throughout the generations, the Israeli Government and army are literally the worst of all. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis YM"SH are infamous the world over for their unfathomable evil and sadistic cruelty. Upon an objective analysis, however, we will find that many of the people in power in the Israeli government and in the IDF are worse than the Nazis. The Nazis mainly wanted to destroy Klal Yisroel physically; the IDF, on the other hand, wants to destroy the Jewish People spiritually, a much more severe and permanent form of destruction, R"l. The IDF is simply nothing but the modern day Hitler Youth Corps, erasing from the minds and hearts of so many thousands of Jewish Young People any conception of a Higher Authority, before sending them to their deaths in a useless war against the surrounding Arab nations.

We must mourn and cry over the thousands upon thousands of innocent Jewish souls that have been destroyed at the hands of the new Nazis of our times, the IDF. As Tisha B'av approaches, let us remember the terrible destruction and attempted genocide committed by the IDF, for this tragedy, as all of our nation's tragedies, stems from the very first Tisha B'av when Klal Yisroel accepted the evil report of the spies.

Chazal tell us that every generation in which the Beis Hamikdash is not rebuilt, it is as if it has been destroyed in that generation. Every pure neshama cruelly excised by the administration of the IDF is another brick taken from the Beis Hamikdash. How can we fix this damage? We must throw ourselves completely into Torah and mitzvos, specifically in the arena of Chinuch. We must raise our many children to be the opposite of the soldiers in the IDF. We must explain to our children that the Israeli soldiers and settlers are not heroes. They are the destroyers of Klal Yisroel. We must reinforce to our children the fact that Zionism is heresy. Above all else, we must teach them, in a thorough and in an in-depth manner, why the "State of Israel" is forbidden according to Halachah.

Unfortunately, today, we do not merit to be graced by the presence of the Rebbe, ZY"A. When the Rebbe was alive, we could hear from his own holy mouth words of truth and understanding. As time has gone by, however, it is possible that our commitment to the Rebbe's staunch, uncompromising principles has grown progressively weaker. This is an extremely frightening thought. Every father and mother must speak to their children about the issues surrounding Zionism, in a proper and Torahdik way that can be comprehended by the child, each child according to his age and level of comprehension. These discussions must be couched entirely in Torah and yirah, while delivered b'simcha. We must cry out to Hashem for help in this regard. We must daven for Divine assistance to be successful in raising our children to follow the path of pure emunah as brought down to us by our holy Rabbis and teachers.

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When the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Shlita, was a young boy his father, the previous Vizhnitzer Rebbe, ZT"L, would always pick him up from Cheder and bring him home. One day, the Rebbe was not able to come by and pick up his son, and the small child had to make his way home by himself. When his mother later asked him how he had found his way home he replied that he had asked for directions. Realizing that her son had been forced to speak Ivrit in order get home, she told him: "make sure not to tell you father, since he will be very upset in he finds out that you spoke in Ivrit." (Haggadah Yeshuos Malko)

5. The Medrash teaches that through the hands of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohein, the Torah was given to Bnei Yisroel, life was given to Bnei Yisroel, and miracles were performed for Bnei Yisroel. The Rebbe explains in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Maasei, p. 207) that the Medrash is telling us that we can gain insight into the nature of the Torah, life, and miracles from the fact that they were brought about through Moshe and Aharon, for Hashem only performs miracles for complete Tzaddikim. We learn that the miracles performed for the Bnei Yisroel through Moshe and Aharon were miracles that came directly from Hashem. Moshe and Aharon were completely righteous and therefore merited that G"Dly miracles should be performed for them.

The Jewish People must choose leaders like Moshe and Aharon for themselves. For these great Tzaddikim, Holy miracles from Hashem Himself are performed. This is in contrast, l'havdil, to evil people and corrupt leaders, for whom satanic miracles may be performed. If the person is a Tzaddik Gamur, we can be sure that the miracles performed for him, are genuine G"Dly ones, but if, chas v'shalom, the person is not such a Tzaddik, and maybe even a Rasha, we can be sure that any miracles performed for him are not a sign of Divine approval, and may simply be miracles from the side of the Satan.

6. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Maasei, p. 209) gives us a deeper perspective on the significance of the Jewish People's journeys and encampments throughout their travels in the wilderness. The Rebbe explains that in each of these places where Bnei Yisroel encamped, spiritual rectifications had to occur, and although it may not be clear now that Tikkunim took place, in the future, when Moshiach finally arrives, the holiness of these places will be elevated and these areas will be gathered into Eretz Yisroel.

The Rebbe goes on to explain this concept in a little more depth. The Rebbe brings from the sefer Zera Kodesh, who explains that through the Jewish Nation’s involvement in Torah and Mitzvos in each of these cities, the holy sparks were uplifted and the spots of encampment were sanctified with the kedusha of a Beis Medresh. The Gemara in Meseches Megillah explains that in the time of Moshiach all the Shuls and Batei Medrash will be transplanted in Eretz Yisroel. Therefore, in the times of Moshiach, all these places from which the holy sparks were gathered will merit to come to a complete Tikkun.

The Rebbe explains elsewhere in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Bamidbar) that we all are on a divine mission elevate the sparks and make rectifications wherever we find ourselves. These spiritual rectifications are accomplished through learning Torah, davening, and performing Mitzvos, no matter where we are scattered in galus. Once enough of these Tikkunim occur, Moshiach will able to come, and when he does arrive we will see the fruit of our efforts come to light with the complete rectification of the world.