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Divrei Yoel - Tazria / Hachodesh


1. The Gemara in Meseches Megillah (29a) teaches that in the time of Moshiach, all of the shuls and batei medroshos of galus will be re-established in Eretz Yisroel. The commentators explain that these structures will return to Eretz Yisroel since the Holy Land is their original source. A shul is considered a "mikdash me'at," a small Beis Hamikdash. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel, takes this a step further. He explains that not only will the synagogues and study halls fly to Eretz Yisroel, but also every Jewish home that is conducted properly, in accordance with uncompromising Torah values, will also fly to Eretz Yisroel for the very same reason as the holy places of worship and study: because the source of an ehrliche Yiddishe home is also rooted in Eretz Yisroel.

In Parashas Vayechi, we learn that Yosef brought his two sons, Efrayim and Menashe, to his illustrious father Yaakov for blessings. Yaakov placed his right hand on Efrayim's head and his left hand on Menashe's head despite the fact that Yosef had arranged his two sons in the opposite way: Menashe on Yaakov's right (since Menashe was the firstborn) and Efrayim on Yaakov's left. In response to Yosef's surprise at this exchange, Yaakov explained that Efrayim would become greater than his brother. Rashi comments that Efrayim would become greater in that Yehoshua would descend from him. Yehoshua would apportion Eretz Yisroel to the Jewish people and teach them Torah, while from Menashe would come Gidon, for whom Hashem would perform miracles. Now we must understand this: teaching Torah and apportioning Eretz Yisroel seem to be actions performed in the natural course of events, while miracles are an obvious display of Hashem's might. So how are we to understand Yaakov's statement that greater things would come from Efrayim than from Menashe? Let us examine what we are being told about Menashe and Efrayim, and, b'ezras Hashem, come to a clearer understanding of what we are being told here.

From Menashe would come miracles through his descendant Gidon, who would lead an army of only 300 men who would wipe out the huge Midianite army of 135,000. This would truly bring about a great Kiddush Hashem. However, there is one catch. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in his seforim, explains that miracles can also come from the side of the Satan, and he warns that this can lead to great confusion for the ehrliche Yidden. While there is no doubt that the miracle brought about by Gidon was a miracle from the side of holiness, if our faith is based on miracles, we can be misled by the heretics who may be able to point to miracles performed for them. In light of this, we may be tempted to follow these evil heretics and praise them, mistakenly thinking that Hashem must be supporting their actions by performing miracles for them. What we would be failing to understand, however, is that evil people may experience miracles, but these nissim are not from the side of holiness and G-dliness, but rather from the side of impurity. We can only understand the difference between a G-dly miracle and, lehavdil, a satanic miracle, by learning Torah with clarity and wisdom, attributes which are represented by Efrayim. Without Efrayim, Menashe's concept was in danger of being hijacked by heretics and manipulated to lead innumerable people away from the genuine Torah path, chas v' shalom! From here, it is only a hop, skip, and a jump to being convinced by the heretics that miracles were performed for them when, in truth, no miracles occurred, not even satanic ones.

When we look into what Efrayim represented, we find something interesting. Rashi tells us that Efrayim would be greater, since from him would descend Yehoshua, who would teach Torah to the Jewish People and allot them their portions in Eretz Yisroel. We find an inextricable link between Eretz Yisroel and the Torah, and in light of the above explanation, we can understand this connection. Today, Eretz Yisroel is, unfortunately, at the center of the heretics' claims of divine approval based upon so-called miracles performed for the Zionists and their defiled army. Many people were and still are swept up into this heretical and illogical frenzy. There is only one way to avoid these errors. We must learn Torah and attach ourselves to the true tzaddikim of our generation and to those of past generations.

Today, there are so-called "religious" Zionists who claim to study Torah, perform the mitzvos, and even to be avidly observant. But the Torah tells us that this cannot be. They establish army "yeshivas." They call them "hesder yeshivas." These so-called "yeshivas" distort the Torah-true path for the participants and poison their minds with heresy. Rashi tells us that if true Torah study were taking place there, the students would understand the way of the Torah. They would understand Eretz Yisroel. Instead, the opposite occurs, and the students are spoon-fed satanic heresy and taught to serve the Zionist idols until these unfortunate souls appear more like heathens than like Jews.

Rashi goes on to comment that Yehoshua's fame will spread to all the nations. Through what means will his renown be disseminated? Through the miracles Yehoshua performed by stopping the sun and moon in their tracks. Doesn't this contradict everything we have said until now, that miracles should not be the main source of belief? The answer is very simple. We must look at the order in which Rashi arranged the great aspects of Yehoshua. First, he discussed the idea of the Torah and a genuine understanding of Eretz Yisroel, and only then are the miracles discussed. Rashi is telling us something very powerful. First came the internalization of the Torah-true path and only then came the miracles. Through these holy, G-dly miracles, everyone could see the truth, and Yehoshua's fame spread to all the nations, creating a clear and awesome Kiddush Hashem, untainted by any drop of heresy. Because Yehoshua had already come to the true understanding of Eretz Yisroel through his study of Torah and constant attendance to Moshe Rabbeinu (connecting himself to the tzaddikim), this sanctification of Hashem's name was pure.

Perhaps, this is one of the lessons the Rebbe is trying to convey to us when he says that a proper Yiddishe home is from Eretz Yisroel. By building proper Jewish homes, based on Torah and tznius, we will merit reaching a true understanding of Eretz Yisroel. We will merit seeing through the mask of the heretics and know when the true and G-dly miracles are occurring and when, lehavdil, the heretics hold up satanic, or even non-existent, miracles in their attempt to sway innocent, ehrliche Yidden from the Torah-true path.

Through the actualization of the aforementioned concepts, we will merit to bring the light of Hashem to everyone around us, even to the non-Jews. This idea is, perhaps, alluded to by the fact that Ya'akov represented the concept of "tiferes," usually translated as "splendor" (the fusion of chesed, kindness, and gevurah, strength). Tefillin are also called "tiferes," and what do Chazal tell us about Tefillin? Our sages, in their great wisdom, applied the passuk, "V'rau kol amei ha'aretz ki sheim Hashem nikra alecha v' yiru mimeka (All the nations of the world will see that the name of Hashem is called upon you and they will fear you)." When we tap into what Yaakov foresaw and understood, and run a proper Jewish home with the warmth of Torah, everyone can see the glory that emanates from such a structure, and when Moshiach comes, all will understand that the Zionists were nothing but heretics and deniers of our sacred belief.

This week, we read Parashas Hachodesh. We usher in the month of redemption, the month of Nissan. Chazal tell us: "In Nissan we were redeemed, and in Nissan we are destined to be redeemed." In Nissan, we clean out our houses. Metaphorically, we are cleaning our homes of all the spiritual chametz so that we can transform our homes into proper, Torahdik, Yiddishe homes, and if we do this, we infuse into our very beings, and into the beings of all around us, the emunah to wait patiently for the true redemption, which will occur in Nissan. We clean from ourselves the negative aspects of our souls so that we are purified through our ehrliche, precious homes to have the spiritual sensitivity to understand that the true geulah is only from Hashem. May we merit these and all great levels!

2. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Ki Sisa, p.336) explains that through the sin of the golden calf and the Satan that was infused into the calf, doubts were created in the minds of the Jewish People that all the miracles of yetzias mitzrayim came from Hashem, and they thought that, chas v'shalom, the miracles came from sorcery.

Perhaps, we can understand a certain aspect of this section of Divrei Yoel by looking at a famous statement of Chazal. Chazal tell us that the Jews merited redemption from Eygpt because they adhered to three special aspects of the faith:

1. They did not change their names.
2. They did not change their language.
3. They did not change their distinctive mode of dress.

We see that, obviously, these three practices are lifesavers for the Jewish People. Perhaps, the reason for the great importance of these three aspects of our lives can be explained in brief as follows: Our sages teach us that a Jewish name is something more than a personal designation. Every Jew, no matter how simple, merits a spark of ruach hakodesh when naming his child. A Jewish name reflects the divine source and mission of a person.

Regarding language, Chazal tell us that a person merits being called a person, in large part, due to his ability to speak, an ability granted only to human beings. A person's power of speech is one of his most powerful tools.

Regarding clothes, Chazal teach that this is also one of the traits that define us as human. Only a person wears clothing, and we thank Hashem for this every morning in the beracha, "Malbish Arumim."

It is no wonder, then, that throughout the years, the enemies of the Jewish People have always targeted these three aspects of our religion. Today, we see this clearly. Our greatest enemies, the Zionists, have and still do target these three special practices that have kept us afloat throughout the generations. They have created "Israeli" names to go along with their made-up, Zionist language and despise anyone who dresses like a traditional Torah Jew.

As long as the Jews recognized that yetzias mitzrayim came from Hashem, they knew that Hashem had been pleased with their steadfast adherence to Jewish names, language and dress. Thus, in convincing them that the miracles had been done through sorcery, the Satan’s goal was to induce the Jews to forget the importance of that lesson.