Monday, 26 September 2011

"And the Lord was with Yehudah..."

יט  וַיְהִי יְהוָה אֶת-יְהוּדָה, וַיֹּרֶשׁ אֶת-הָהָר:  כִּי לֹא לְהוֹרִישׁ אֶת-יֹשְׁבֵי הָעֵמֶק, כִּי-רֶכֶב בַּרְזֶל לָהֶם.19 And the LORD was with Yehuda; and he drove out the inhabitants of the hill-country; for he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
כ  וַיִּתְּנוּ לְכָלֵב אֶת-חֶבְרוֹן, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה; וַיּוֹרֶשׁ מִשָּׁם, אֶת-שְׁלֹשָׁה בְּנֵי הָעֲנָק.20 And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses had spoken; and he drove out thence the three sons of Anak.
כא  וְאֶת-הַיְבוּסִי יֹשֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם, לֹא הוֹרִישׁוּ בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן; וַיֵּשֶׁב הַיְבוּסִי אֶת-בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן, בִּירוּשָׁלִַם, עַד, הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה.  {פ}21 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwelt with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem, unto this day. {P}

When the HaShem is with us we are victorious.  We have come home to dwell in our ancient homeland...we have been victorious in expressing the divine will of the prophets and yet we fail to recognize it.  HaShem is with us, but we act like Binyamin and let our enemies dwell among us.  They throw rocks and kill and we do nothing. They live and prosper and grow and more of our Nation suffers.

Both the tribe of Yehudah (including Shimon) and Binyamin remained after the exile of the Northern Kingdom.  They in a sense merged together and so too these two aspects as well. There is part of our Nation which dwells alone, willing to fight for our Land and their are others who wish to have our enemies dwell among us.  This not a malicious desire, but one of misplaced focus.  We are not yet in final throes of the Geulah process where "the wolf will lie down with the lamb."  We have yet to conquer our Land fully and so we have a struggle within.

Interestingly when we returned from our first exile (both Yehudah and Binyamin) we united in vision and purpose against our internal adversaries and despite this unity we became weak and our building was frozen:

א  וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ, צָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִן:  כִּי-בְנֵי הַגּוֹלָה בּוֹנִים הֵיכָל, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple unto the LORD, the God of Israel;
ב  וַיִּגְּשׁוּ אֶל-זְרֻבָּבֶל וְאֶל-רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת, וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָהֶם נִבְנֶה עִמָּכֶם--כִּי כָכֶם, נִדְרוֹשׁ לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם; ולא (וְלוֹ) אֲנַחְנוּ זֹבְחִים, מִימֵי אֵסַר חַדֹּן מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר, הַמַּעֲלֶה אֹתָנוּ, פֹּה.2 then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers' houses, and said unto them: 'Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up hither.'
ג  וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם זְרֻבָּבֶל וְיֵשׁוּעַ, וּשְׁאָר רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל--לֹא-לָכֶם וָלָנוּ, לִבְנוֹת בַּיִת לֵאלֹהֵינוּ:  כִּי אֲנַחְנוּ יַחַד נִבְנֶה, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּנוּ, הַמֶּלֶךְ כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ-פָּרָס.3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, said unto them: 'Ye have nothing to do with us to build a house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.'
ד  וַיְהִי, עַם-הָאָרֶץ--מְרַפִּים, יְדֵי עַם-יְהוּדָה; ומבלהים (וּמְבַהֲלִים) אוֹתָם, לִבְנוֹת.4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and harried them while they were building,
ה  וְסֹכְרִים עֲלֵיהֶם יוֹעֲצִים, לְהָפֵר עֲצָתָם--כָּל-יְמֵי, כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס, וְעַד-מַלְכוּת, דָּרְיָוֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ-פָּרָס.5 and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
ו  וּבְמַלְכוּת, אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, בִּתְחִלַּת, מַלְכוּתוֹ--כָּתְבוּ שִׂטְנָה, עַל-יֹשְׁבֵי יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלִָם.  {ס}6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. {S}

This is where we are now.  We have returned under the auspices of International Agreement (Balfour Declaration) just like under Cyrus and we are surrounded by our adversaries (צָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִן). They are our enemies of old.  They have an aspect of the Plishtim and filled with the spirit of Amalek (who relishes attacking women and children).  After all we know that it was in fact Haman that was called צֹרֵר הַיְּהוּדִים.

י  וַיָּסַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת-טַבַּעְתּוֹ, מֵעַל יָדוֹ; וַיִּתְּנָהּ, לְהָמָן בֶּן-הַמְּדָתָא הָאֲגָגִי--צֹרֵר הַיְּהוּדִים.

10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.

These are the only two places in the Tanach where this expression is used. Both were Amalek.

It is true that HaShem is with us and at the same time the Creator is hidden within the working of nature and geopolitics. It is hard to see how we will found our way out of this situation. We need to know one thing, one idea. Rosh Hoshanah is the time to crown HaShem the King of the world. This is not for us, but for the whole world. HaShem is guiding us to Geulah Sleima. There are enemies among us that believe we have no right to live here. They deny us our rightful place in our Ancient biblically mandated homeland. In doing so they deny the providence of the Creator and so they reveal their true hate for him and for us.

If we believe that the our G-d is the same G-d who took us out of Mitzrayim (Egypt) and is the same G-d who directs the Universe's historical forces then no matter how dark it looks and how many victims have fallen to the hands of our sworn enemies, we know that HaShem is King and he can and will bring Geulah in an instant. We just have to do our part.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

...he went down to Ahab to Samaria

ב  וַיֵּרֶד לְקֵץ שָׁנִים אֶל-אַחְאָב, לְשֹׁמְרוֹן, וַיִּזְבַּח-לוֹ אַחְאָב צֹאן וּבָקָר לָרֹב, וְלָעָם אֲשֶׁר עִמּוֹ; וַיְסִיתֵהוּ, לַעֲלוֹת אֶל-רָמֹת גִּלְעָד.

2 And at the end of years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that were with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead.

What was will be.  We know that the two kingdoms are destined to be reunited at the end of days.  More so in the beginning of our return Beit Yisrael will rule.  We learn from Rav Kook that the secular Zionists were activating the aspect of Beit Yisrael led by Achav from Beit Efraim and although their clinging to the Land was not based on Torah, they were still involved with a lofty enterprise.  Like Achav they were focused on the National structure, the vessel of our return.  Beit Yehuda was at the time of Achav led by a righteous king Yehoshephat.  Achav had the stronger army and in fact the pasukim referred to Achav as Melech even when Yehoshephat was next to him, referring to the latter by only his first name.  All homage despite his evil actions was given to Achav. There for it said that Yehoshephat descended to Achav for Achav was at a lower place spiritually.  Yet Yehoshephat still saw the need to attempt to help the King of Israel.

The first pasuk in the chapter uses the word לְקֵץ or at the end.  Now this could be taken simply like after a long time or it is like many things in the Tanach be giving us a hint to something else.  We know that the Torah and Nach uses a vav to switch the future tense to past tense.  This is the style of the grammar, but this is not by accident.  HaShem and the Anshei Knesset Gedolah are doing this to relate to the timeless nature of the events in both the Torah and Nach.  At "the End"  means both the simple meaning and the future meaning of the end of days as it is used in the Navi'em.

We find ourselves now at the cusp of the switch between the Malchut Yisrael led by Beit Efraim (the current political structure of the State of Israel) to the Malchut Yisrael led by Beit Yehuda and ultimately David.  Like Achav before who fell in war leading to the final downward trend of the Northern Kingdom, so to now, with the weight of the world upon it, the only way forward for Medinat Yisrael is to go the way of Malchut Beit Yehuda by reuniting both Kingdoms under the Creator or face a disintegration so perilous that Beit David will be forced to rise to save us all.  I pray for the former.