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Divrei Yoel Nasso


1. "So it is regarding the Jewish People. The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of our sins, and because of our transgressions, we were exiled from our land and taken away from our soil. The exile that we are currently experiencing has two aspects: we are in galus as a punishment for our transgressions; however, as a result of our dispersal among the nations, there is a second aspect to galus --- that galus is the concept of shlichus. The Omnipresent, Blessed Be His Name, sent us to every place we go outside of Eretz Yisroel in order to bring a rectification to every place that needs a tikkun, according to His plan. It is known that the holy Arizal explained Chazal’s statement “the Holy One, Blessed Be He, only exiled the Jewish People to enable converts to join them” (Pesachim 87b) to mean that through the exile, the Jewish People will collect and elevate all the sparks that fell from the klipos and return them to their original place and source.

“If the Jewish People had not sinned, they would have had the power to rectify the holy sparks and return them from all the places to which they are scattered, back to Eretz Yisroel, and there would have been no need to go into exile to accomplish this task. However, after the Jewish People sinned, they lost this capability and had to be dispersed throughout the world in order to rectify the holy sparks. This is also stated by the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh in Parashas Behar.

"We find that [as explained above] the galus contains two concepts: Firstly, we incurred galus due to our transgressions, and secondly, ... we now must travel throughout the world and rectify the holy sparks. [Due to our sins, we cannot accomplish this rectification from Eretz Yisroel, but must, instead, go to the places that need rectification. Throughout galus, Hashem leads us to certain places, and it is there that we have a responsibility to effect positive change.] Therefore, wherever we are, we are on a mission from the Creator, may He be blessed, to rectify all the holy sparks that need repair. It is necessary for us to understand that in any place in which we find ourselves, this shlichus from Hashem is an obligation upon us, and we do not journey without a purpose. This is also alluded to in Tehillim 37:23, “The footsteps of a man are fixed by Hashem” - that every wandering or traversing that we must experience is in order that we rectify something, and even in wandering from place to place, this is an arrangement from heaven in order that we rectify something that is in need of a tikkun there. We must know that no wandering is without purpose." (Divrei Yoel Parashas Nasso, p. 141; this concept is also discussed by the Rebbe in his Sefer Vayoel Moshe Maamar Alef, Siman 19, p. 30 and Maamar Beis, Siman 110, p. 315)

Here, the Rebbe gives us an often unheard perspective on galus. The reason we are in galus is so that we can bring about corrections in the spiritual realms. This exile was brought about by our sins. If not for our sins, these tikkunim would have been effected without our traveling in galus, but since we sinned and were, hence, expelled from our land, we must now go about making these rectifications through traversing galus. Perhaps, this is one of the keys to fulfilling the process of galus, thereby acquiring the merit to return to our land. Even though we sinned, Hashem gave us another chance to prove ourselves by sending us into galus with the mission of collecting the holy sparks. If we fulfill this mission, we will merit Moshiach. The fact that we were given this task is a clear indication of Hashem's great love for us as His chosen nation. Even when He expelled us for our sins, He gave us the key to our redemption within the very punishment.

Perhaps with this perspective, we can understand a seemingly enigmatic statement of Chazal. Chazal tell us that if not for the sin of the golden calf, the Jewish People would have received only the five books of the Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua (Nedarim 22b). The Meforshim ask the obvious question: Can it be, as it would seem at first glance, that all other Torah learning is a punishment for the cheit haeigel? They answer that, in truth, the other Torah learning is most definitely not, chas v' shalom, a punishment; rather, if not for the cheit haeigel, there would have been no need for any other books of the Torah, since the Jewish People would have had the clarity of mind to understand every aspect of the Torah just from the five books of the Chumash and Sefer Yehoshua alone. While we were suffering from our aveirahs by losing significant understanding in Torah, Hashem gave us a wonderful opportunity to correct the world and bring Moshiach specifically through our struggle and effort to understand the Torah that would have been understood with clarity and relative ease if not for the sin of the golden calf. (Incidentally, the Beirach Moshe, ZT"L, in Parashas Tzav, discusses how through total dedication to and focus on Torah study, the world is brought to a great tikkun.)

Perhaps with the perspective from the above section of Divrei Yoel, we can explain a contradiction. On the one hand, the passuk that discusses the Jewish army going out to war (Devarim 20:3) begins with the word "Shema," a fact from which Chazal teach that even if the Jewish People have only the merit of Krias Shema, they will be victorious in battle. However, later on in the Torah, we learn that anyone who was scared to go into battle was exempted from military service. Chazal explain that the fear referred to by the Torah means fear due to sins that were committed by the individual in question. What type of sin would render someone unfit for military service? Even the sin of speaking between the berachos of Yishtabach and Yotzer Ohr (Beis Yosef, Orach Chaim 54, quoting the Yerushalmi). Now at first, this seems like a major contradiction. Seemingly, by the first criterion for victory, the Jewish People need only one merit, the recitation of Shema, while the criterion for disqualification due to sins is one fairly minor aveirah. How can this be resolved? Perhaps, we could suggest the following answer: What is Kriyas Shema? Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim (the acceptance of Hashem's Kingship). In essence, what is the idea that the Divrei Yoel is conveying here regarding galus? Kabbalos Ol Malchus Shamyim. We must know, understand, and accept the fact that it is the divine will for us to be in galus now, and we must exert all our efforts to fulfill the task of galus: to gather the holy sparks. This submission to Hashem is a massive form of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim.

Now we can, perhaps, understand a different meaning of Chazal's teaching that with only the merit of Kriyas Shema, the Jewish People will be successful in battle. With the Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim to understand and accept galus, we will know when it is permissible to fight wars and when it is not. All the wars mentioned in the Torah were wars commanded by Hashem. Today, this concept does not exist, and any war we wage against the other nations is absolutely forbidden. Through our acceptance of Hashem's Kingship, we will come to understand this and not stumble into sin by participating in or supporting wars waged by Jews against the laws of the Torah.

This explanation helps us also to understand the definition of sin that would disqualify one for army service: an interruption between Yishtabach and Yotzer Ohr. Our sages ask why the beracha of Yotzer Ohr is phrased "yotzer ohr u'vorei choshech." Could not the Anshei Kenesses Hagedolah have used a word that is more positive than "choshech"? Our Rabbis answer that this terminology was intentional. Many people used to and still do believe that good and bad come, chas v'shalom, from two different divinities. In order to make the point that this misguided philosophy is absolutely false, and everything, whether clearly good or seemingly bad, comes only from Hashem, the Anshei Kenesses Hagedolah established this exact phraseology for the beracha, "Who creates light and makes darkness." It would seem, therefore, that this beracha is also the concept of Kabbalas Ohl Malchus Shamayim, especially relating to the dark times of life. Yishtabach, by contrast, is praise of Hashem when his kindness is readily apparent.

With this understanding, it would follow that when Chazal make reference to someone who interrupts between Yishtabach and Yotzer Ohr, perhaps the reference is to one who cannot make the connection that just as Hashem is there for us in the good times, so, too, He is there for us in the dark times. He does not see that everything that happens to a person comes directly from Hashem and is good, even if the positive side is not obvious. Such a person believes the good and bad in life come from different sources, namely his own success or failure, and therefore everything he has is attributable to his own strength, wisdom, power, etc. With the first perspective, of submission to Hashem, our whole lives will be rectified, and we will be victorious in war; however, with, chas v'shalom, the second outlook, there is no way we will be victorious.

The entire perspective we should have in galus is only acceptance of Hashem's Kingship. With this understanding, we will accept that we are in exile for a purpose, and we must not, chas v'shalom, attempt to end galus before the designated time. When we effect enough tikkunim, Hashem will redeem us Himself. We must also understand from the above discussion that while many years ago, Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim meant the opportunity to fight in Hashem's army, today Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim means to stay as far away from the so-called "Jewish army" of today as possible. The fact that there exists an IDF is the greatest lack of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim possible since this army acts in direct contradiction to the Torah-true perspective of galus, not to mention the fact that it is in any event forbidden to have any kind of "Jewish army" today. If we simply wait patiently for the true and final redemption, we will merit being among those who helped bring Moshiach. May we all merit this speedily, in our days. Amein!

2. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Nasso, p. 195) explains that when a talmid chacham sits and learns Torah, Hashem Himself, is, so to speak, learning together with him (Yalkut on Eicha, paragraph 1034), and through this, the attribute of strict justice is aroused, since Torah is pure truth and there is no room for bending the rules. However, when the Jewish people gives tzedaka and does chesed, the justice is converted to mercy.

Today there are, unfortunately, many harsh decrees imposed upon our brothers in Eretz Yisroel. If we want these horrifying decrees to be nullified, we must look to the true source of these g'zeiros: the midas hadin. To prevent the evil decrees from coming to fruition, we must do chesed and tzedaka.

If we lose sight of the fact that everything that the world experiences comes only from Hashem, then we will, chas v'shalom not be able to overcome the harsh g'zeiros. Perhaps these decrees come in order to teach us to trust only in Hashem. We must not look to flatter politicians and government officials in order to achieve our goals; instead, we must look only to Hashem for our salvation.