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Divrei Yoel Parashas Shelach


1. The Torah tells us "you shall love Hashem, your G'd with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your means." Chazal (Meseches Berachos 54a) explain that the phrase "with all your heart" means "with both your inclinations." We must serve Hashem with both the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hara. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Shelach, pp. 341 - 342) expounds upon this idea. The Rebbe quotes the famous statement of Chazal that when the Torah enjoins us, "Do not follow your heart," the reference is to the prohibition against heresy. The Rebbe explains that not only must we rein in the Yetzer Hara and press it into the service of Hashem, but we must also guard the Yetzer Tov. What does this mean? The Rebbe explains that many times we think that we are doing mitzvos, acting under the influence of the Yetzer Tov; however, the truth is that these particular actions are driven by the Yetzer Hara, which is convincing us that we are doing mitzvos. This, the Rebbe explains, is the modus operandi of the sitra achra. The Satan convinces us that we are following the path of the Torah with the utmost devotion, while in truth we are being led toward heresy. The Yetzer Hara has a tremendous power to lead us to heresy without our even being aware of the fact that this is the slippery slope we are descending.

The above tactic is perhaps the most dangerous form in which the Yetzer Hara appears. If we firmly believe that we are doing mitzvos and have a good Torahdik outlook, how can we possibly do teshuvah and cut the cords that bind us to the Satan? This understanding can explain why one of the most dangerous movements alive today is the so-called "religious Zionist" movement. This movement comes only from the Satan but is disguised as a Torah-true movement with many extremely orthodox and devout adherents. The simple truth is quite different.

Upon a historical analysis, it becomes apparent that most secular Jews in Eretz Yisroel and even in the government are not traditional Zionists. Unlike the Zionists of old, many liberal, secular Jews are in support of land for peace, open borders, relaxed security, and other policies that stand in stark contrast to the nationalistic, militaristic policies of the true Zionists. The Zionist outlook is, today, mostly found amongst the so-called "religious Zionist settlers." These fundamentalists, while claiming to be avidly religious Jews, have continued to perpetuate the misnomer that Judaism is nationalism. They continue to antagonize the surrounding hostile nations and cause many Jewish deaths, R"L. Most of the troubles in Eretz Yisroel today can be directly attributed to these fanatical Zionists.

When judging any organization or group, it is fundamentally important for us to analyze the doctrine to which this organization pledges allegiance. The religious Zionists claim to pledge allegiance to both the Torah and Zionism, foolishly believing that the two are inseparable. When we look at the actions of these people, however, it becomes clear that they have not accepted the Torah at all, but instead have accepted Zionism, R"L, fully. Everything they do, from flying Israeli flags, to wearing T-shirts emblazoned with pro-Israel slogans or symbols, to misinterpreting the Torah to suit their heretical agenda, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that, sadly, their lives are devoid of any true Torah and are filled, instead, with Zionist propaganda.

It is disheartening to see how so thoroughly indoctrinated most of the religious Zionists are, to the extent that they believe that joining the IDF, which stands against the entire Torah, is one of the greatest forms of avodas Hashem that exists. The truth is, however, that the parents who send their children off to the army are committing a terrible aveirah, very much comparable to the Molech worshippers of biblical times. Additionally, they bear the full responsibility for the injury or death, R"L, that occurs to their children as a result of their needless and prohibited service in the IDF. May we all be saved from these terrible machinations of the Satan!

2. There seems to be a puzzling contradiction regarding the story of the meraglim. All twelve spies were great tzaddikim. The Torah states regarding the meraglim, "kulam anashim," a phrase from which Chazal derive that the spies were tzadikkim, and yet in an instant, these men turned around completely and became evil reshaim. How can this be? The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, explains (quoting the Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh) that the spies were on a shlichus from the Jews. The intentions of the Jews who sent the spies were not proper, and it was these bad intentions that caused the meraglim to turn into reshaim. (Divrei Yoel Parashas Shelach, p. 344)

We see clearly from the above section of Divrei Yoel, the great importance of not only appointing good leaders but also appointing good leaders properly. Many different political figures and organizations claim to speak in the name of the Jewish People. Some of these people are self-appointed, while others have the endorsement of large segments of Klal Yisroel. We must bear in mind that before we proclaim anyone a spokesperson for the Jewish Nation at large, we must look deeply into our intentions. Do we wish to see this particular individual appointed to a position of political power because he will help us personally? Do we support a political figure because he will give us money? Such reasons are not valid reasons at all to consider someone a spokesperson for the Jewish People.

Our only true leaders and representatives are Torah-true talmidei chachamim. They are the only ones to whom we must listen. We must cry out and let the entire world know that we, as orthodox Jewry, reject Zionism and the "State of Israel." We pledge allegiance only to Hashem and His Holy Torah. Unfortunately, many organizations, even orthodox ones, that claim to represent the Jewish Nation, in truth, do not and are only bowing to the demands of the Zionists, painting the Jewish Nation and the Torah in a completely false and inappropriate light. We must follow only our gedolim, and with their guidance, we will surely be successful.

3. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parashas Shelach, p. 371) states that in many places, Chazal say that the Satan assists the idol worshippers and other misguided people and performs great miracles for them --- Satanic miracles from the demonic forces of heresy. For example, the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 54b) says that the idol appeared to its priests in a dream, and commanded them to carry out human sacrifice. When they did so, rain came after a long drought. The Bar Kochba false messianic movement had amazing success at first, but in the end turned out to be a bitter mistake.
The righteous, too can occasionally make mistakes; however, Hashem watches over them and makes sure they have no success in their mistake so that they quickly come back to the proper path. The generation of Jews who wandered in the desert was considered righteous; therefore, after the sin of the meraglim, when they erred and decided to invade Eretz Yisroel even when Hashem commanded them not to, Moshe told them, “It will not succeed” – Hashem will not give you success in order to make sure your error is only temporary.

4. In Kuntres Dibros Kodesh (Hoshana Rabbah Chelek Alef 1950 - 1959, p. 158), a drasha from the Satmar Rebbe on Hoshana Rabbah 1959 is recorded. The Rebbe says the following: "I will say an answer based upon the teaching of Chazal (Yerushalmi Yuma 1:1; Midrash Tehillim 137:10) : 'In every generation in which the Beis Hamikdash is not built, it is considered as though it was destroyed in that generation.' The fact of the matter is that it is the heretics who are standing in the way of the building of the Beis Hamikdash, and it is therefore considered as though they destroy the Beis Hamikdash, and this awesome sin is upon them.

"This is along the same idea as what Chazal tell us: that the third Beis Hamikdash, which will descend from Shomayim in the times of Moshiach, will be constructed from the deeds of the tzaddikim, the servants of Hashem. We find that through their good deeds, the tzaddikim build the Beis Hamikdash on high, while the wicked, through their evil deeds, destroy the Beis Hamikdash. For many years, we have been waiting to be redeemed, and the time is long because even as the tzaddikim build the Beis Hamikdash, the reshaim destroy it."

We must understand that the evil heretics and sinners of today are, in truth, the ones destroying the Beis Hamikdash and standing in the way of Moshiach. The Zionists would like the world to believe that the Torah-true Jews are acting like the meraglim, slandering Eretz Yisroel. The truth is, however, that the Zionists are the true slanderers of the land. We, as ehrliche Yidden, understand that Eretz Yisroel is not like all other countries. Eretz Yisroel is an intensely holy land, given to us directly by Hashem Himself. The land is to be utilized in the service of Hashem. This is the genuine path. The Zionists, on the hand, advertise the land as a political nation, to be used to attain the goal of complete assimilation of the Jewish People, R"L. Can there be a greater disparagement of the land than this?

5. "We see the many great tests in Eretz Yisroel, that the Satan is strengthening and he aims his arrows toward the remnant that goes in the way of the Torah. He strengthens himself much more against the great people, as occurred with the meraglim, as it says in the Torah: "Kulam anashim, rashei bnei yisroel hemah (they were all great people, heads of the Jewish People)." In the end, the Satan can destroy even the great people and turn them into reshaim, and this brings on all the pain. In my sefer, Vayoel Moshe (Ma'amar Yishuv Eretz Yisroel), I brought and explained the opinions of the poskim regarding the mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisroel. There, I explained that even according to the poskim who hold that the mitzvah of settling in Eretz Yisroel applies today, this only applies when the land is in a state of holiness. When the land is in a state of impurity, R"L, the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisroel cannot be fulfilled.

"Behold! Now the honorable rabbanim, the geniuses and tzadikkim of the righteous Beis Din in our Holy City of Yerushalayim (the Badatz) have come to our country (America) in order to save the institutions of Torah in our holy land, to strengthen the holy congregation, the true guardians, the remnant that still follows in the path of our holy teachers, ZY"A. We have gathered together today, on this great day, at this awesome meeting. Let us come together with the merit of the masses to sanctify Hashem's great and holy name!" (Divrei Yoel Parashas Shelach, p. 366, from a speech delivered in Williamsburg at the founding gathering of the "Keren Hatzalah" fund, 20 Sivan, 1978)

As Torah-true Jews, we must do all we can to fight against the Zionists by supporting the ehrliche Yidden living in Eretz Yisroel who stand up to the test and do not take impure money. Let us strengthen each other and stand firm in the face of all pressure to submit to heresy.

An important rav once came to the Satmar Rebbe. The rav told the Rebbe that he was getting ready to move to Eretz Yisroel even though he had no money. He was moving anyway due to his great love for Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe asked him: "Are you moving to Eretz Yisroel or are you moving to 'Israel'?" The Rav answered: "Chas v'shalom! I am not moving to 'Israel.' I could receive Zionist subsidies and the Israeli government would pay for my trip and my apartment, which would significantly help me, but I will not accept any money from them!" Upon hearing this, the Satmar Rebbe handed the rav a large sum of money and bid him farewell amidst blessing. After the rav left, the Rebbe smiled and said to those around him: "Anyone who is not a Zionist already has a mortgage on me."