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Divrei Yoel Chanukah


1. "In the tefillah of Al Hanissim, we say as follows: 'You delivered the impure into the hand of the pure, the resha'im into the hand of the tzaddikim.' We are taught here an essential aspect of the miracle. The army of the Chashmona'im was composed entirely of tzaddikim, for the resha'im of Klal Yisroel were not involved in this war. The Yevanim were defeated only by the pure tzaddikim of Klal Yisroel, for if there had been resha'im fighting with the ehrliche Yidden in this war, the entire neis of Chanukah could not have been. Additoinally, if wicked Jews had been the ones to rise up against the Syrian-Greeks, the tzaddikim would have been prohibited from fighting in this war, for it forbidden to join with the resha'im, even to fight against the haters of Klal Yisroel. This is explained in the Gemara (Mesches Gitten 56), which teaches that the Chachamim did not want to join with the Biryonim to fight againt the Romans. (The Biryonim were a militant sect of Jews who wanted to fight against the Romans and drive them from Yerushalayim at the end of the Second Temple Era.) The truth is that it is difficult to understand why the Chachamim did not want to join with the Biryonim against the Romans, for at the time when the Beis Hamikdash stood, there was room to say that it would be a mitzvah to fight against the enemy of Klal Yisroel for the sake of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash, and it is only now in galus that we are forbidden to fight against the nations because of the oath prohibiting us from rebelling against them. This would not have been the case in the time of the Beis Hamikdash. To the contrary, to fight the Romans would have been a mitzvah. We also cannot answer that the Chachamim saw with ruach hakodesh that such a war would not be successful, for 'The Torah is not in heaven.' One cannot rule halacha based upon what he sees with ruach hakodesh. Therefore, we must say that what we learn here is that although it would be a mitzvah to fight against the persecutors of Yerushalayim, the Chachamim did not join in this war with the Biryonim ,for it is prohibited by the Torah to join with the wicked. We are taught this also from the fact that, before going into battle, the Kohen anointed for war would announce that anyone who was afraid should turn around and leave. Chazal (Meseches Sotah 43) explain that this means "Anyone who is afraid due to sins he may have commited, even a minor sin such as interrupting between the donning of the arm tefilin and the head tefillin. It was necessary for the Bnei Yisroel going out to war to be completely clean of all sin, so that they would not be in danger due to their sins....and now, in our times, the sinners have spread ideas of heresy in the world to convince people that through wars and physical means, they can bring the salvation of the Jewish People. No one heeds the words of the Sages regarding the three oaths -- that we must not attempt to take redemption for ourselves, but rather, we must sit and wait for Hashem Himself to redeem us. Certainly, the geulah of Klal Yisroel will not come through the resha'im, chas v'shalom. To think such a thing is heresy from which we must distance ourselves...." (Divrei Yoel, Chanukah)

2. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Mikeitz, pp. 323-325) compares Yosef Hatzaddik's method of serving Hashem -- specifically in the area of emunah and bitachon -- with that of other tzaddikim. The Midrash tells us, for instance that Rivkah insisted on going with Eliezer to Eretz Yisra'el, even if her family would protest. The Midrash goes on to say that in this merit, the Jewish People were redeemed from Mitzrayim. The Rebbe explains this further. Rivkah wanted to go with Eliezer so badly because she wanted to leave -- as soon as possible -- the evil environment in which she was currently living. She wanted to marry Yitzchok Hatzaddik! She did not want to be surrounded by evil influences any longer. The Rebbe explains that Rivkah's actions set the model for the Jewish People many years later during Galus Mitzrayim. The Rebbe explains that the Jewish People emulated Rivkah and separated themselves from the resha'im, not letting the evil people come into the midst of the righteous. The Midrash here teaches us that it was in Rivkah Imeinu's zechus that the Yidden were redeemed from Mitzrayim. However, in other places, Chazal give us other reasons for the redemption.

1. In the merit of the fact that Klal Yisroel in Mitzrayim did not change their language, dress, or names, they were redeemed.
2. In the merit of the righteous, modest women of Klal Yisroel, the Jewish People merited redemption from Mitzrayim.

The truth is that these three different reasons do not contradict each other. This could be explained simply as follows. Because Bnei Yisroel were careful not to let any negative and spiritually damaging forces into their environs, they were able to keep their distinctive language, mode of dress, and names. This, in turn, caused them to give birth to daughters who would grow up to be the righteous, modest mothers, in whose merit Klal Yisroel would eventually be redeemed from Egypt.

This is the genuine Torah-true path followed by our parents and grandparents. The only way that the Jewish Nation can exist is if we follow the blueprint passed down to us by the previous generations. Many people believe that the Rebbe's insistance on a system of chinuch that was entirely free of all foreign elements was unrealistic, unnecessary, and even oppressive. Many believed -- and still do believe -- that it is impossible to run a yeshivah or kollel in Eretz Yisroel without accepting funding from the Zionist goverment. The Rebbe did not feel that this was necessary. He simply trusted in Hashem to provide him with the needed money. In the end, the Rebbe's way was proven possible against every prediction.

Additionally, many people are convinced that the Rebbe imposed upon his followers a system of chinuch to stifle their dreams and creativity. They complain that the Rebbe denied his followers, especially the women, "mentally stimulating" activities such as the reading of secular books, internet, movies, etc. We stand up and, without shame, say the following: Yes, the Rebbe did ban these destructive forces so as to preserve the neshamos of our precious children. These activites are not "mentally stimulating" -- they stimulate nothing but the Yetzer Hara. It can be seen clearly that virtually every person who left the derech had their fall precipitated by one thing: they read secular books. The Rebbe's holy foresight has been proven true time and again. It is high time that we reject the notions of the heretics and take to heart the teachings of genuine Torah-true values without compromise.