Sunday, 29 May 2011

Yosef Still Lives

 אֲנִי יְשֵׁנָה, וְלִבִּי עֵר
"I am asleep, but my heart is awake..."
-Shir HaShirim 5:2

The whole process of redemption is like a person waking up from a long slumber.  When the nation of Israel is without its own Land, it has no hope of awakening from its slumber, yet it's heart still beats.  In the Land of Israel our National awakening begins to occur.  At times we wish to fall back asleep and other times the beating of our heart is loud enough to stir us awake.

"I am Yosef..."

When Yosef, could no longer contain himself and in reality conceal himself he wailed and told his brothers who he was.  He embraced his brother Binyamin, crying.  In a sense Yosef, who had all but turned Mitzri (Egyptian) in look and speech was representative of the concealed Jew, the Jew  whose heart beats deep down, but appears asleep to everyone else.  When the brothers told their father "Yosef still lives," it had a dual meaning.  In one sense they were relaying that Yosef was physically alive, but on a much deeper level they wanted their father to understand that despite Yosef's descent into the impure levels of Egypt, his heart beat alive as a member of Am Yisrael.

Netanyahu's Speech

The Prime Minister's speech given in the halls of Congress seemed to be something out of the ordinary.  Binyamin Netanyahu spoke in a way that few Prime Ministers before him had spoke. On the outside he appears asleep, almost in a daze, but when he spoke his heart beat aloud awakening the Nation from its slumber.  We know that the heart is connected to the faculty of speech and it is this faculty above all else that Netanyahu has mastered.

In many ways Bibi Netanyahu is playing the part of Yosef.  He appears Western and assimilated.  He speaks in modern terms, referring to democracy and ethical principles, yet he said what no other Prime Minister ever said before: Judea and Samaria is our historical homeland. He was adamant that this Land is ours.  "This is the Land where Abraham brought the idea of One G-d to the World."

After all, the Land of Israel was promised for all time to the children of Israel.  The heart of the Prime Minister could not forget this and by linking our connection to the Land with Abraham, the truth of that statement revealed where Netanyahu is at his core.

In a sense every Jew can come back.  We each have a beating heart, no matter how far we appear to have fallen asleep.We learn in Devarim 32:9:

כִּי חֵלֶק יְהוָה, עַמּוֹ:   יַעֲקֹב, חֶבֶל נַחֲלָתוֹ.
For part of Hashem is his Nation; Yaakov, is a cord of his inheritence.

We are told a cord is made up of three strands woven together.  These three strands represent the Avot (Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov). Our eternal connection to the Land of Israel is by way of the Avot.  It is not something religious within us, but rather something innate and natural.  It is this connection that still beats with our Nation no matter how asleep we seem to be and it is by the way of the Avot that we awaken from our long slumber.  Just like Yosef so many years ago shrugged off the outward layers of assimilation to announce to all that he in fact still lived, so too Am Yisrael lives eternally as the Prime Minister confirmed in front of the entire world.

We must pray and hope the Prime Minister continues to awaken from his "sleep." 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

"For Out of Jerusalem Shall Go a Remnant..."

Darkness surrounds us and yet we are asleep.  The world is closing in and we continue on with our lives.  There have been warnings and these warnings have fallen on deaf ears.  And now we are all awake.  "Just pull back," that man in the White House says.  "You are occupiers. The Palestinians deserve a State."  The game was fun until now.  Now it is no longer a game.  The world wants to take Jerusalem from us.  It wants to show the Jews a lesson yet.

"For Out of Jerusalem Shall Go a Remnant..." Melachim 19:31

The Nation of Israel is eternal.  We are the Hand of the Creator in the World.  Sometimes we forget,  but G-d reminds us.  The truth is, we have seen this play before.  Leader of the World, defeater of nations, decides to take Israel. First he is successful and then he tries to take Jerusalem.  He wants what he cannot have.  The Talmud tells us in Perek Helek of Sanhedrin that Sanherev was meant to be Gog and King Hezkiyahu was meant to be the Moshiach, yet after the defeat of Sanherev Am Yisrael stumbled.  We know there is nothing new under the sun and so today's Sanherev comes for our Land and our City.  Already the Prime Minister for all of his failings has grown a backbone and has said NO.

But no will not do it, for Obama has a role to play and he cannot help himself. Hezkiahu has already taught us the way out:

15 And Hezekiahu prayed before the LORD, and said: 'O LORD, the God of Israel, that sittest upon the cherubim, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open Thine eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sanherev, wherewith he hath sent him to taunt the living God. 17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, save Thou us, I beseech Thee, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD God, even Thou only.'

Our way out is to both be prepared to fight for our Land and even more important beseech the Creator to save us; not for us, but for his Holy Name.