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Divrei Yoel on Parashas Emor

1. "For a soul, one shall not contaminate himself amongst his people." (Vayikra 21:1)
The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (L'Shabbos Shuva, p. 253) explains one of the dangers involved with falling into sin. The Rebbe explains that people who habitually commit a sin intentionally, such as reading secular literature or breaching tznius, eventually fall into the category of a "shogeig," someone who transgresses unintentionally because he becomes so used to the aveirah that he views it as permissible. This is an exceedingly dangerous trap that we must vigilantly avoid.


Unfortunately today, many people have fallen into the trap of heresy and other sins and have become so used to them that they no longer understand that they are doing wrong. We can learn two things from this: firstly, we must build our spiritual fences ever higher so that we do not, chas v' shalom, fall into the depths of depravity, and secondly, we must do all that we can to raise a true awareness of authentic Torah beliefs and values. We must explain to all those around us that as G"d-fearing Jews, we hope only in Hashem and not in some government or army, especially when that entity is nothing but a satanical, false "replacement" for our Holy Torah.

2. In a brilliant discourse in Divrei Yoel, the Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, discusses the nature of the mission of an ehrliche Yid. The Rebbe discusses the concepts of pru u'revu, yishuv haolam (settling the world), and yishuv Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe explains that these are very great and meritorious ideas, but they must be performed properly. The Rebbe explains that when children are raised with proper chinuch and love for and attachment to Torah and mitzvos, Hashem's glory is elevated, and this is the creation of the world; however, if, chas v'shalom, children are not raised in a Torahdik way, a terrible destruction of the world occurs, R"L.

The Rebbe quotes the Midrash Rabbah, which quotes R' Simon, that Noach found favor in Hashem's eyes in the zechus of his descendants. Additionally, R' Shmuel bar Yitzchok (Medrash Rabbah Parashas Toldos) teaches that Avraham was saved from Nimrod's fire in the zechus of Yaakov, who would descend from him.

After this, the Rebbe tells us something phenomenal:
"And this is the explanation of what is written: 'You shall safeguard my charge to not perform any of the repulsive ordinances that were performed before you, and you shall not be contaminated by them. I am Hashem your G"D.' and 'Let not the land vomit you out as it vomited out the nation before you.' These verses come to admonish the Jewish People to be vigilant in observing the Torah and mitzvos and to educate children in the way of the Torah and in the way of purity. This is the intent of what is written, "that I have them to dwell there," that is, the Holy One Blessed is He brought the Jewish People to Eretz Yisroel for a purpose: they are to reveal Hashem's glory and omnipotent G'dliness to the entire world. If our goals are to sanctify Hashem's holy name, accept upon ourselves the yoke of heaven, and observe the Torah and mitzvos, Hashem's great and holy name will be called upon us. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Jewish People to raise generations that are true to the Torah of Hashem, so that through them, Hashem's name will be sanctified in the world! However, if, chas v' shalom, the Jewish people do not rise to their task, to raise upright generations that are true to the Torah, this is not a proper "yishuv ha'aretz." We are also taught something along these lines in the Gemara. (Meseches Kiddushin 40b) The Mishnah tells us, 'Anyone who is not involved with either the study of Scripture, Mishnah, or the practicing of refined and proper behavior is not from the members of society (aino min hayishuv.)' Behold, this is the destruction of the world --- when they raise in Eretz Yisroel children who deny belief in the Torah and desecrate the Name of Hashem!" (Divrei Yoel, Parashas Emor, pp. 184 - 185)

What amazing words! Our mission in life is to raise ehrliche generations to serve Hashem. How great is our responsibility toward chinuch! We must take these words to heart and be concerned for future generations. Our holy father Avraham was saved from the fires of Ur Kasdim in the merit of his grandson Yaakov. To raise ehrliche, Torah-true children is surely the greatest blessing there can be, a goal for which we must all strive.

Today unfortunately, we see the opposite of this wonderful accomplishment. So many people do not understand that our goal is to raise upright Torah generations. They do not understand that Eretz Yisroel is a place meant for learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and serving Hashem. From the tremendous effort that the yetzer hara puts into attempting to thwart this great goal, we can see how precious is the attainment of good children. Regrettably, myriads of young Jewish souls have been consumed in the fires of Zionism and secularism. Especially in the holy land of Eretz Yisroel, the Satan has taken aim to destroy the innocent Jewish souls. How many thousands of neshamos have been destroyed by the IDF, a repulsive arm of the heretical Zionist regime? How many neshmos have been consumed by the flames of idolatry and immorality burning in an inferno at universities? These young people have been destroyed by parents who were destroyed by their parents, and if we do not merit redemption, we fear that the next generation will be even lower than this one.

The Zionists have always focused their evil energy on the children and young people in Klal Yisroel. Preying on their tender minds, they seek to remove them from the level of ehrliche Yidden and pull them down lower and lower. These demonic reshaim, however, are not satisfied with destroying the Yiddishkeit of all those around them. They seek to pull them to a level of sin and complete disconnection from Hashem and His Holy Torah through their forbidden army, the only goal of which is to fight against Hashem and His Holy Torah. It is forbidden for us to have an army today while we are in galus, so the very foundation of this army is nothing but heresy. Meanwhile, the IDF itself is a completely anti-religious and anti-Torah institution.

Many will argue that the IDF accommodates religious Jews by having so-called "Charedi divisions." This is utter nonsense. It does not matter how religious the soldiers in a unit may be. This army is forbidden by the Torah! To glue a few peyos onto this heretical institution and call it Charedi is simply a farce. As sensible people, we are supposed to have the intelligence not to be led into a deadly trap by a few pieces of candy. The very fact that there are IDF soldiers with beards and peyos is the greatest disgrace of all. These are people who have been so terribly misguided that they have joined the most demonic forces on the planet, R"L.

The same applies to the Zionist institutions of education. Sometimes these schools are advertised as yeshivos with the best of both worlds: Torah learning and college credits! This again is nothing but unadulterated idolatry --- paganism and hedonism at its "best." The Rebbe is warning us: do not fall into this terrible pit of destruction. Cling to the Torah! Distance yourselves from all this immorality and you will raise genuine generations who will bring honor to Hashem and His Holy Torah! Guard your children from all these places of heresy. We learned last week the prohibition against offering one's children to Molech. We may think that Molech was an idolatrous cult of the past. However, the truth is very sadly the opposite. Molech worship is alive and well today, personified by those who send their children to the IDF and universities.

When Yidden with beards and peyos involve themselves with these institutions of heresy a terrible chillul Hashem is created, R"L. This is the exact opposite of the way that we are supposed to live in Eretz Yisroel. We must work to create a kiddush Hashem and to spread the glory of His holy name. This is true life, and as the Rebbe tells us, this is the creation of the world, whereas those who engage in the above-mentioned destructive activities destroy the world. When we contemplate this terrible situation, we gain a profound understanding of the galus in which we find ourselves. We cry over the terrible destruction wrought by the evildoers upon themselves and upon thousands and thousands of innocent bystanders. May we soon merit Moshiach, in whose time we will be redeemed from all these terrible tragedies! Amein!

3. "You shall call a gathering on this day, a holy summons to assemble it shall be for you, you shall do no laborious work; an eternal decree in all your dwellings for all your generations." (Vayikra 23:21)
The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel, explains that we are able to accept the Torah wholeheartedly through our link to our forefathers. Without this link, we lack a great aspect of connection to Hashem. We cannot truly discern the wisdom of the Torah and are apt to stumble into mistaken conclusions.

Many people may feel that our bond with the previous generations of scholars is not so important and does not, in fact, affect us that much. The Rebbe, however, tells us something else: we must maintain this connection to our great forefathers if we want to stay connected to Hashem.

Perhaps, we can look at this statement of the Rebbe from the following angle: When a person is connected to the previous generations, he is able to look at life through the lens of the Torah. This is the Torah-true path. If, however, we do not connect ourselves to the previous generations and, chas v' shalom, think that we are smarter than they were, we will meet a downfall brought on by our own arrogance, R"L. We may think that we are following the Torah, but in truth we are following the advice of the evil inclination. We must work hard to connect ourselves to our holy predecessors by learning who they were, attempting to emulate them to the best of our ability, and revering them for their great piety so that we do not stumble into the clutches of the evil inclination.

4. "In Sukkos shall you dwell for seven days...." (Vayikra 23:42)
It is a mitzvah from the Torah to build a sukkah so that one can live in it during the holiday of Sukkos. Although the mitzvah to build a sukkah is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, common sense tells us that since the Torah commands us to live in a sukkah, it is also a mitzvah to build a sukkah. (Shailos Uteshuvos Divrei Yoel Yoreh De'ah 57:2)

Chazal tell us that the air inside the sukkah is the air of Eretz Yisroel, so perhaps we can extend this concept, brought out by the Divrei Yoel, to the idea of living in Eretz Yisroel. If we do not build sukkos for ourselves, we will have no place to fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah when the holiday arrives. So, too, if we do not prepare ourselves to live in Eretz Yisroel by learning Torah and doing mitzvos, we will completely distort, chas v' shalom, the concept of "yishuv Eretz Yisroel" (settling Eretz Yisroel). The end goal is not the only goal. Without preparation, our mitzvah may come to naught.

5. The Zohar tells us that Avraham Avinu had a special tree outside his tent that would tell him the thoughts of all his guests. If his guest believed in Hashem, the tree would spread out its branches, providing cool shade to the guest; however, if the visitor was an idol worshipper, the branches would fold inward. (Zohar I 102b) In line with this concept, the Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel draws out a beautiful point regarding the yom tov of Sukkos. Hashem gave us the holiday of Sukkos in the merit of Avraham's hospitality. On Sukkos, we celebrate the miracle of the divine clouds of glory that protected the Jewish People during their travels in the desert, and just as Avraham's tree distinguished between the worthy and the sinners, so too, the clouds of glory separated the Torah-true Jews from the eirev rav, who were not encompassed by the clouds of glory.

6. As Jews in galus, we are constantly in need of mercy from Hashem. Many of the nations around us are unfriendly and even hostile toward our observance of Torah and mitzvos. We must have firmly and clearly established in our minds our real source of protection. After so very many years in exile, we can be easily deluded into believing that our safety and protection come from the strength of our own hands, chas v' shalom. We must know, however, that the truth is, in fact, very, very different. Hashem is the only one who protects.

The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Emor, p. 279) explains the dangers and prohibitions involved with joining together with the wicked. The Rebbe explains that in times of peace, it is forbidden to join with the wicked, and certainly in times of war this is forbidden; to fight together with the wicked will, rather than help protect Klal Yisroel, only endanger them, chas v' shalom.

One of the many sins involved in joining the IDF is the violation of the prohibition against joining together with the wicked, and specifically in an army. Many people are fooled into believing that the IDF protects the Zionist state, and therefore, the Charedim should join this army. The reality, however, is that this Zionist army is doing nothing but endangering the Jewish People in Eretz Yisroel and, indeed, worldwide. We should have absolutely no gratitude toward these misguided individuals who have joined the heretics and commit terrible sins. We look only to Hashem