DIVREI YOEL PARASHAS RE'AY
1. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Re'ay, pp. 89-90) explains extensively the responsibility that we have, as guardians of the Torah, to watch over this precious gift and to guard ourselves from sin. The Rebbe brings from Chazal the following statement, "One must guard himself from improper thoughts during the day, so that he will not come to impurity at night." All safeguards that we enact around the Torah, are for the sake of fulfilling our obligation to guard the Torah. The Torah is our most precious gift, and we must work very hard to keep it properly.
If we desire to see the elimination of heresy, we must work to safeguard our own fulfillment of the Torah and mitzvos. If we will work harder to properly perform the mitzvos that are, R"L, being trampled upon by the heretics, we will see increased observance of these mitzvos across the entire world. Unfortunately, chilul Shabbos is a very common aveirah, one perpetrated by the Zionists. We, therefore, must be even more careful in our observance of the mitzvos related to Shabbos. We must be extremely careful to learn and observe all the basic halachos of Shabbos as well as its strictures.
The Gemara (Meseches Shabbos 118a) teaches that if the Jewish People would properly observe two Shabbasos, they would be redeemed immediately. The meforshim explain that the word "Shabbos" means "to refrain." The Chida explains that when the Gemara tells us that if the Jewish People would observe two Shabbasos properly they would be redeemed, it is referring to two different types of rest and abstention that must be observed on Shabbos. We must refrain from melachah and also from speech that is prohibited on Shabbos. Frum Yidden strictly observe the first form of abstention. However, there unfortunately is increasing laxity regarding the second aspect of shemiras Shabbos. Many people thoughtlessly sin through speech on Shabbos by asking non-Jews to do melachos and through discussing secular matters. The above is all discussed by the Chida in Batei Nefesh (quoted in Shabbos Secrets by R' Dovid Meisels).
The stark reality is that discussions of politics, world news, or sports, R"L, on Shabbos desecrates the Holy Shabbos, tarnishes the precious Neshama Yeseirah granted to us by Hashem, lends strength to the forces of the Sitra Achara and causes the heretics in our Holy Land to perpetrate ever more destruction through chilul Shabbos.
Chazal famously explain the passuk: "Hakol kol Yaakov v'hayadayim yedei Eisav," to mean that only when the "voice of Yaakov," is in proper order can he be victorious, but if voice of the Jewish People is not proper, the hand of Eisav is dominant. The Chofetz Chaim explains similarly that although we, as a nation, have a tremendous power of prayer, if we, chas v'shalom, contaminate our mouths with improper speech, our power of prayer is taken away. All these forms of improper speech strengthen the forces of Amaleik and the Sitra Achra. We must guard ourselves from all these pitfalls.
Further, perhaps it is reasonable to say that when the Jewish People are not satisfied with the power given to us through the bracha of Yitzchok Avinu, the power of effective prayer, and instead attempt to emulate Eisav, by creating a forbidden army that prides itself on physical strength, the power of tefillah is lessened, at least for the sinners themselves. Rather than glorifying the sinners and heretics who dare to call themselves a "Jewish Government" and a "Jewish Army," we must fearlessly condemn them, and explain to everyone that that it is completely forbidden to have a "Jewish State" or "Jewish Army" today, while in galus.
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The infamous Zionist Hershel Schachter wrote that the establishment of a state in Eretz Yisroel is a fulfillment of the mitzvah to appoint a king over the Jewish People. This is utter foolishness and nonesense! A legitimate king over Klal Yisroel is only a descendent of Dovid Hamelech, who rules in accordance with the Torah. Obviously neither of these conditions apply regarding the Zionist State. Rather, such a statement is absurd heresy and thoughtless drivel. With Hashem’s help, we will discuss this further next week in Parshas Shoftim, where the mitzvah of appointing a king is written.
2. The Torah teaches that when an entire city was seduced into performing avodah zarah, the members of the town are put to death, and the property of the city's residents is burned. The Satmar Rebbe in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Re'ei, p. 91) sheds some light on the concept of the Ihr Hanidachas. The Rebbe explains that the idol worshipers of the Ihr Hanidachas engaged in geneivas da'as (lit. theft of the mind, deception) and it is very dangerous to allow the property of such people to remain in existence. Additionally, the Rebbe quotes the statement of Chazal: "Whenever there are wicked people on the earth, there is divine anger on the world." The Rebbe explains: the holy Torah was given to the residents of this subverted city -- as it was to all of Klal Yisroel at Matan Torah -- but they went and strayed after idolatry and "stole the minds" of others, bringing so many others to avodah zarah as well. This creates a stir of divine "anger," which is only "appeased" by the total destruction of the Ihr Hanidachas, the city from which the very source of impurity and evil emerged.
The emphasis placed by the Torah on the obligation to destroy all the vessels and utensils of the idolatrous city is not unique to this Torah portion. The Torah teaches that on the night when Yaakov Avinu fought with the malach of Eisav, Yaakov had left his encampment and gone back to retrieve some small vessels that he had left on the other side of the river. Chazal tell us that in the merit of the fact that Yaakov Avinu went back to retrieve the small vessels, Klal Yisroel merited the neis of Chanukah. Two questions that we can ask on this are:
1. Why did Yaakov Avinu go to all this trouble -- and, in fact, endanger himself -- just to retrieve some small vessels?
2. The words “pachim ketanim” – small vessels – is reminiscent of Chanukah, when the Chashmonaim found one small vessel (“pach”) of oil still sealed with the seal of the kohein gadol. What is the connection between Yaakov's actions that night and the neis of Chanukah?
Perhaps we can answer the above questions by explaining as follows. Yaakov Avinu knew that even the physical possessions of a person are affected by their owners. Everything in this world has a neshamah, and this neshamah has yet a higher neshamah also. This progression continues until we reach Hashem Himself, Who is, so to speak, the neshamah of the entire world.
Therefore, it is clear that every object in the world, even the most mundane utensil, has a spiritual quality to it. When a person acquires an object, his neshamah becomes connected, in some sense, to the Neshama of the object he has acquired. The neshamos of Yaakov Avinu's utensils could be raised to great spiritual levels merely through the fact that they were owned by this great tzaddik. This brought about great rectifications of the neshamos of these objects, and perhaps great tikkunim were even effected in all objects of the same type, through Yaakov Avinu's possession of his vessels. Yaakov therefore feared greatly that if he would not retrieve his vessels, they, or their neshamos, would be acquired by the angel of Eisav, who was on the prowl that night. For this reason, Yaakov endangered himself, going back in the dark of night to save his vessels, so that they should not fall into the power of Eisav, chas v'shalom. We see from the above that vessels do, in fact, have the power to contain spiritual energy, either for the good or for the bad, and this has great bearing in Shomayim.
The Yevanim were masters of geneivas da'as. They were completely warped in their thinking. The Yevanim were totally immersed in Greek philosophy and physical pleasures. When they entered the Beis Hamikdash and defiled it, they did more than smash the crucibles of oil. They overtook the neshamos of the physical objects in the Beis Hamikdash, injecting tumah into the most holy items. The Beis Hamikdash was the center for all Kedushah and Yiddishkeit for all of Klal Yisroel in the whole world. The Syrian-Greeks hoped that through the tumah they would inject into the Beis Hamikdash, they would be able to weaken Torah observance in the entire world.
The essence of tumah is a lack of the ability to do mitzvos and come close to Hashem. One who is tamei is forbidden to enter the Beis Hamikdash. A Kohen who is tamei is forbidden to eat terumah. Ezra enacted that one who is a Baal Keri is forbidden to learn Torah or daven verbally. One who comes into contact with a meis, becomes tamei to the most severe degree possible, because a dead person is incapable of performing mitzvos, as it stated, "Lo hameisim y'halelu Kah." However, tumah only prevents one from serving Hashem in action. A Baal Keri is permitted to serve Hashem in his mind, as the Mishnah (in Meseches Berachos, daf 20b) teaches: "A baal keri should think the words of the prayers in his heart." A meis cannot perform any physical mitzvos, but the neshama lives on forever and continues to serve Hashem in Shomayim.
The lack of action in avodas Hashem is a sign of tumah. This is the tumah of Yavan. The Yevanim desired to poison the Jewish People with an ideology that decried physical service of Hashem, claiming that it is only necessary to serve Hashem in the mind, and that one could do so by contemplating philosophy day and night in an attempt to become smarter. This is contrary to the Torah's way. The way of the Torah is to first perform the mitzvos in action, and the proper thoughts, intentions and feelings will follow. (This is discussed by the Beirach Moshe in Parashas Shelach.) The Greek philosophy, which eschewed action for Hashem and embraced only useless mental gymnastics, was, therefore, the essence of tumah, a tumah they hoped to inject into the Jewish nation through the destruction they wreaked in the Beis Hamikdash.
We can now understand the concept of taharah -- the elimination of Tumah -- with greater clarity. The Satmar Rebbe, in Divrei Yoel al Hamoadim (Rosh Hashanah), quotes the Midrash Rabbah that at the time of the creation of the world, when Hashem separated the lower waters from the upper waters, the lower waters cried out in distress, for they did not want to be separated from Hashem. Hashem comforted the waters by telling them that they would be used in His service through the water libation in the Beis Hamikdash. He uses this midrash to underline our own obligation to strive to be close to Hashem.
The waters represent the concept of taharah and desire to serve Hashem. These two features become a reality in the realm of neshamos. When water is gathered in a mikvah, it may not be brought in a bucket or through some other human device. Therefore, the water of a mikvah consists of water directly from Hashem; in a sense, the upper waters come down to the lower waters without human interference, which would cause a hefsek in the connection between the upper and lower waters. This means that the water comes to its spiritual completion through the attachment of the upper waters to the lower waters, allowing the neshama of the water to become so powerful as to effect the physical. Since the neshamah of the water is, in essence, taharah, which allows one to engage in avodas Hashem through action, when we immerse in a mikvah, our neshamah becomes connected with the neshamah of the water, allowing us to rise to a spiritual level whereby we gain a greater awareness of our own neshamah, propelling us to more active service of Hashem.
When we perceive our neshamah with a greater vividness, we see how pure it is, and how much it loves Hashem. We are able to tap into those inner feelings buried in the heart of every Jew. We suddenly have a strong feeling to distance ourselves from sin, for how can we dirty our precious neshamah with the filth of sin? We return to our "right minds" and will not fall prey to any geneivas da'as. Since the physical possessions of the Ihr Hanidachas bring the impurity of avodah zarah into a physical form, they must be destroyed, for if these objects would be kept in existence, the forces of impurity within the neshamos of these articles block the taharah that we seek to attain through the physical actions involved in the performance of mitzvos.
Let us gather our strength and gird our loins! We must serve Hashem, and through this we will be able to reach purity. We must fight against all ideologies that claim that the main path to Torah and Yiddishkeit is through the study of philosophy. This is the path of the Yevanim. We must act with much mesirus nefesh to fight this apikorsus.
3. "You shall completely destroy all the places where the nations that you are driving out worshipped their idols...you shall break their altars and smash their pillars. You shall break their altars and smash their idols, in fire shall you burn their idolatrous trees, their images you shall cut down; you shall obliterate their name from that place." (Devarim 12: 2-3)
Eretz Yisroel is the palace of Hashem. As stated explicitly in many places in the Torah, Eretz Yisroel cannot tolerate aveiros. Hashem especially detests avodah zarah and immorality. As a nation, we must step back and take a serious look at how we relate to Eretz Yisroel. If we would truly appreciate with the proper seriousness the holiness of Eretz Yisroel, we would have zero tolerance for the Zionists who disgrace the Holy Land at every moment, R"L. How can we stand by and watch terrible atrocities being perpetrated in our land every day and not cry out in protest? It is clear that anyone who can remain silent in the face of such horrifying events that occur daily in the holiest place on earth is obviously numb and deadened to the sanctity of the Land.
Chazal teach that Hashem said, "Why did I give Eretz Yisroel to the Jewish People? Only so that they should learn Torah there." Today, Eretz Yisroel is, unfortunately, the most difficult place for a religious Jew to live. Even the Jewish community in Iran is not as oppressed as the Orthodox community in Eretz Yisroel. Religious Jews in Eretz Yisroel are beaten, imprisoned, harrassed, and abused on a daily basis. Like wild beasts, the Israeli police break down the doors of innocent people in the middle of the night, terrorize the inhabitants, and haul young yeshiva bachurim off to prison, where they are mercilessly tortured. This how low the heretics have fallen. This is what occurs in our dear, precious Holy Land. Nowhere else in the world are Jews oppressed in such a fashion on such a constant basis. Despite this disgusting brutality and vile depravity, the Zionists continue to claim that the "State of Israel" is the only country in the Middle East that operates with freedom and democracy. This is a lie! The Zionist State is a police state where the modern-day gestapo enforces "martial law" in order to oppress and destroy the lives of innocent G-D-fearing Jews.
How can anyone hear this and not be pained? This is the greatest disgrace to our land! This is what is delaying Moshiach! It is our responsibility to stand up to the animalistic brutes who dare to call themselves Jews and proclaim that we will never bow to the heresy of Zionism. May Hashem soon send us Moshiach and the long-awaited day when the pride of the wicked will be smashed and the pride of the righteous will be uplifted, Amein!