Thursday, October 19, 2006

BS"D Beraysheet 5767

This Dvar Torah from Rabbi Nachman Kahane was sent to Reb Chaim HaQoton by Reb Chaim Braverman.

When the Creator of heaven and earth completed the first six days of history the Torah writes (Genesis 1:31)

וירא א-להים את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאד

And God saw all that He had done and it was very good

One might be tempted to take issue with the Torah’s quality assessment of "and it was very good." For what did Adam and Chava see when they first became conscious of themselves as human beings? Autostratas filled with modern SUVs? High rises of 100 floors filling the horizon? Or graceful superliners cutting through the ocean waters while above flew huge Airbus planes with 800 passengers reclining in overstuffed seats viewing the latest entertainment on their videos?

What they saw was a naturalist’s dream world of flora and fauna living in perfect harmony; with "the wolf and the sheep living together---".

Harmony in nature is great but how can the Torah say "and it was very good" without the amenities of modern life; when Adam and Chava had to live in a cave without running water; where Chava had to do laundry by hand and Adam had to rub two stones together to create fire!

So what does the pasuk mean by "and it was very good?"

The midrash in Beraysheet quotes several opinions as to the meaning of "very good". One rabbi explains that it means the Angel of Death and another says it means the yetzer hara - the evil inclination of Man.

Amazing? Not so!!

Hashem created a world of potential. There was oil in the ground but not refined gasoline or plastics. There were lackluster, hard stones later to be called diamonds, but they were of little interest because they were uncut and unpolished. There were trees but no furniture, germs but no penicillin, physical phenomenon but no understanding.

The realization of the potential of Hashem’s creation was for now and for evermore to be the task of man. But if man knew that his days were infinite, nothing would ever get done. Why expend the energy today when it could be done 1000 years from now? Why do anything when there is no sense of pleasure from changing what now exists?

In order for Man to develop the "raw" world which Hashem had created, he had to know that his days were limited. What he does not achieve in the peak of his physical and mental years, will not be achieved in the waning years of his life.

The yetzer hara for recognition by academic or international institutions, as well as financial reward, are the engines which have driven most of humanity’s achievements.

Yes. The limit put upon our days in this world and the desire for fame and fortune fueled by our yetzer hara have indeed brought about the actualization of the potential Hashem wrought in the raw world Adam saw when waking up. These twin elements in our lives are indeed the tov me’od with which the Torah summarizes Hashem’s creation.

The greatest event which occurred as a crescendo of all human activity of the last 2000 years is the restoration of Eretz Yisrael to the exiled Jewish nation. Our physical and spiritual survival defies all the laws of human behavior and all the assumptions of sociology and the precedents garnered from the history of great civilizations which have all fallen into extinction.

But the events of our return are the results of that two-fold mechanism produced by Hashem to encourage human activity - death and the yetzer hara.

What led the Jewish nation in the struggle for national liberation in our ancient homeland was: 1- the acknowledgment 60 years ago, that to remain in the galut was to join the ranks of those civilizations which have all but vanished except from history books, and 2- The unholy drive of the yetzer hara.

Now how can it be that the holy goal of Jewish renaissance in Eretz Yisrael is the result of the yetzer hara?

At the turn of the 19th century, it became apparent to the founding fathers of Zionism that the Jews of Europe would never succeed in becoming "goyim", because the Gentile world would never open its doors to us, despite every effort on our part to convince them that the Jews would be more goyish than the Pope.

Zionism claimed that if established our own national home, then we would be accepted by the goyim. This would mark the end of anti-Jews in the world. In other words: Herzl and Ben Gurion believed that if we could not be goyim in the galut let us become goyim in Eretz Israel.

The yetzer hara of Zionism, like all others, was just a virtual reality which dissipated before the reality of real life. For we succeeded in establishing a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael, and behold, the level of anti-Jews has risen exponentially the world over.

But the fact is that Zionism, despite its fallacious premise, has succeeded in establishing a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, because of the dual factors which comprise the "tov me’od" - death and yetzer hara.

Unfortunately, Hashem had to utilize the dual weapons of "tov me’od" of Zionism, because Torah leaders at the time did not perceive that the time for return had arrived.

The return to Eretz Yisrael should have been led by the great rabbanic leaders marching at the front of a mass movement of loyal Torah Jews, just as rabbanim lead when a new sefer torah, accompanied by music and torch light are placed in the holy ark. How much more so when the holy people of Israel return to the holy ark of Eretz Yisrael.

But unfortunately that did not happen and the Medina was created not through love of Hashem but through fear of death and the yetzer hara to be like the goyim of the world.

As we enter the new year 5767, with its potential for great crisis, it is time for our great rabbinic leaders to come forward and do what they were chosen for - to lead. They did not do so in the past, but it is not too late.

As an act of love - not out of fear of death or the yetzer hara - the rabbis of the world must now issue a call for mass aliya to Eretz Yisrael, in order to assure our survival.

Failure to do so, based on lame excuses that Hashem did not whisper to them that the time has come, or that the Messhiach must come first, are no longer acceptable in the face of the dangers which await our nation in the galut.

A gadol b’Torah is not one who can turn a simple passage in the Talmud into an erudite pilpul; rather a gadol is one who can read the writing on the wall and then instruct his people on the steps to be taken.

The writing on the wall today reads that there is no future for the Jewish nation in the galut. If your rav or rabbi does not encourage you to make the move home, he is unwittingly being a partner in the grave future which await Jews who do not avail themselves of the 60-70 year window of opportunity which Hashem has provided us before the catastrophes descend on the Jewishworld in the galut.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana

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