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Divrei Yoel Parashas Bechukosai

1. "...With this, we can understand that due to the strength of the exile and subjugation among the nations, a person is not able to serve Hashem at every moment and every time, for the exile and the subjugation ruin us. Even for the great tzadikim, there are many difficulties, setbacks, and hardships in their service of Hashem. How much more so is it beyond the ability of most people to be constantly involved in serving Hashem, due to the many hardships. Rather, sometimes a holy spark is ignited in the hearts of the ordinary people, and this holy spark becomes a holy flame, but then afterward, they fall back to their previous level.

"Therefore, all of the obstacles and difficulties have come because of the power of the bitter galus into which we were placed. However, in time to come, when we will merit the redemption of the world from galus, all the obstacles to the Jewish People's service of Hashem will be removed, and we will be able to serve Hashem every moment and at every time without any obstacle at all. This is the intention of the Mishnah that teaches: 'The Holy One, Blessed Be He, found no vessel more suitable to give blessing to the Jewish People than peace,' that He did not find any way to allow the Jewish People to constantly be involved in Avodas Hashem, without any impediment, other than peace, through which blessing is generated in the world. This is the true peace that will be established in the future between the Jewish People and the other nations of the world. This is also explained by the Ra'avad, Z"L (end of Maseches Eduyos).

"In this context, we should look at what is stated in Scripture: 'Hashem will give strength to His nation; Hashem will bless His nation with peace.' This passuk was said by the nations of the world at the time of Matan Torah. They prophesied, but they did not know what they were prophesying. Their intention was to have the Jews make peace with them and accept their ways, but in the end, the reverse will happen, and they will make peace with the Jews.

"We can now also explain the Medresh (quoted by the Tosafos Yom Tov on Eduyos) that Moshiach will start only with peace, for this is the beginning of the job of Moshiach, to straighten the hearts of Klal Yisroel and bring them close to their Father in Heaven. Therefore, he will begin with making peace since this will remove all the obstacles and hardships that prevent the Jewish People from clinging to their Creator. This will nullify the forces of tumah from the nations of the world and bring peace between them and the Jewish People." (Divrei Yoel Parashas Bechukosai, p. 411)

This is indeed the path that, as ehrliche Yidden, we must follow. We are told regarding the Torah: "Deracheha darchei noam, v'chol nesivoseha shalom (Her paths are paths of pleasantness and all Her roads are peace." We must strive to have peace with all our neighbors even now in galus, and when Moshiach comes, true peace will be brought to the entire world. The true and final redemption will not be a source of division between the Jewish Nation and its neighbors, but rather, everyone will live in true peace and harmony. A movement that creates strife and conflict between ourselves and the non-Jewish nations can definitely not be true redemption.

2. The Gemara in Meseches Megilah teach that in the times of Moshiach all the shuls and study halls will be transported to Eretz Yisroel since their source and essence is from the Holy Land. Indeed, the air inside a shul or a Beis Medresh is the air of Eretz Yisroel. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel, explains that there is another structure that stems from Eretz Yisroel and will be transported there when Moshiach comes: the ehrliche Yiddishe home. Such an abode is an immensely sacred place on par, at least in this regard, to a shul or Beis Medresh.

This comment of the Rebbe is thought-provoking. It would seem obvious that the Meforshim and the Rebbe, when comparing shuls and Jewish homes to Eretz Yisroel, are discussing the inherent kedusha of Eretz Yisroel, which opens the door to better service of Hashem. This is the true meaning of Eretz Yisroel. Chazal tell us that Hashem gave the Jewish People the land only so that they would learn Torah there.

This stands in complete contrast to the Zionist picture of Eretz Yisroel and especially Yerushalayim, our holy city. The Zionists have, R"L, contaminated our Holy Land with their depravity, establishing centers for heresy and licentiousness, such as clubs, colleges, and perhaps worst of all, the Knesset. The Zionists celebrate "Yom Yerushalayim" as the day when the Old City, including the Kosel, was captured from the Arabs. But what did this gain for us? The Zionists took Yerushalayim only to contaminate it, chas v'shalom, turning the Kosel Ha'ma'aravi into a symbol of nationalistic pride. For this reason, the Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, ruled that it is forbidden to visit the Kosel. This day is certainly not a day for celebration; rather, it is a day of mourning, in light of the horrific desecration of Hashem's city at the hands of the evil heretics.

There is a famous picture of three Israeli soldiers looking up at the Kosel with emotion right after its recapture. Many people may be touched by this picture, viewing it as a symbol of "Jewish triumph." This is ridiculous! It is, unfortunately, a picture of Jewish failure in every sense. The stark truth is that the Kosel was conquered in a war forbidden by the Torah, by an army forbidden by the Torah, and turned into an icon of nationalistic pride, which, of course, is forbidden by the Torah. We cry over this terrible chillul Hashem. It is such a disgrace that heretics roam the premises where the Beis Hamikdash once stood. It is a terrible shame that people who are part of an army that fights against the Torah stand next to this holy remnant of our bond with Hashem. May we soon be redeemed from all troubles. Amein!

After the Zionist victory in 1967, word spread that the Holy Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, was going to make a special announcement at shalosh seudos that week. Everyone was speculating as to what the announcement might be. Much to everyone's surprise, that week at shalosh seudos, the Rebbe announced that it was prohibited to visit the Kosel due to the Zionists' contortion of its meaning. To this day, no follower of the Rebbe sets foot in the Kosel Plaza. (The Rebbe Speaks by R' Dovid Meisels, pp. 504)
Someone once asked the great gaon and tzadik, R' Yaakov Kaminetsky, his advice on visiting the Kosel. R' Yaakov replied: "The Satmar Rav says it is prohibited, therefore you should not go." "I'm not a Satmarer," the man replied. "Nonetheless," responded R' Yaakov, "when a great person says something you should listen." "But," the man protested, "you yourself visited the Kosel." R' Yaakov replied: "My case was different since my wife begged me to go, but it is not a mitzvah. So since the Satmar Rav says you should not visit the Kosel, you should not." (The Rebbe, by R' Dovid Meisels, pp. 508-509)

The previous Skulener Rebbe, ZT"L, once said that the reason he became virtually blind later in life was because he visited the Kosel after the Satmar Rebbe had forbidden this. (The Rebbe, by R' Dovid Meisels, p. 507)

3. "...I will make you fruitful and multiply you...." (Vayikra 26:9)
The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel, discusses the great importance of fulfilling the mitzvah of "peru u'revu," to be fruitful and multiply. The Rebbe explains that through the Jewish People's fulfillment of this mitzvah, the geulah is brought closer since Chazal tell us that Moshiach will arrive only when all the neshamos currently being stored in the area in heaven known as "Guf" have vacated that celestial repository. How is this accomplished? Through having children.

This is a very important lesson in how to bring Moshiach. We must fulfill the great Mitzvah of having children and this is how we can hasten Moshiach. This is a principle: If you want Moshiach to come, have children and perform the mitzvos. This is the Torah-true path. We must not rise up in arms to attempt to bring Moshiach before the right time. To the contrary, this will lengthen this bitter galus, chas v'shalom.

4. How great is the Torah-true outlook! By viewing exile through the lens of the Torah, we fulfill the purpose of the galus and merit the true and final redemption. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Bechukosei, pp. 419-420) discusses the fact that our experience of exile is actually for our own benefit. The Rebbe explains that the purpose of being in galus is to refine the neshamos and bring about rectification in the upper worlds. With this outlook, we can live as Torah Jews, at peace with our lot.

It is imperative for us to understand that by being in galus we are fulfilling the will of Hashem. We are serving Him on a very high level by accepting galus as His decree. By working through this process of exile, we will raise ourselves and all those around us to higher levels. We will merit the presence of the Shechinah with us even in exile. We will merit having the terrible suffering of Gehinnom replaced by the suffering of galus. If we live with this perspective, we will not fall into the trap of building a so-called "Jewish state," which is completely forbidden by the Torah, during this period of exile and subjugation amongst the nations of the world.

Hashem is our Merciful Father in Heaven. He only wants the best for us and sometimes that means that we must travel through galus. It is up to us to understand this experience for what it is: a process of refinement to prepare us for and make us deserving of the final, true redemption. With this outlook, we can come to a great level of Ahavas Hashem. We accept Hashem's decree with love, and we will not, chas v'shalom, rise up against the other nations and try to end the galus on our own. We will wait patiently until Hashem Himself, in all His Glory redeems us. May that day come soon! Amein!