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haaros

Haaros

ParshasToldos 5758 - '97

Outline Vol. 2, # 5

by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein


Toldos

Dedication Versus Terrorism: The Service

The Torah places great importance on human life, more so than other religions. Life comes before mitzvos, with the exception of the "cardinal transgressions": Murder, Incest and Adultery, Idolatry. At a time of forced conversion, a Jew may have to give his life in order to preserve Judaism. This was the story of Chanukah, where the Kohanim revolted against the Greek-Syrian oppression because of religious persecution. Against the vast resources of the most powerful army of that time, the untrained Kohanim apparently didn't stand a chance, but were willing to die for their religious freedom, if need be. Many of them did die; but the miracle of the Chanukah story is the story of the survival of Judaism against the greatest odds.

The point of our discussions regarding Mesiras Nefesh and Kiddush Hashem is a positive one. Nothing could be further from Judaism than the terrorist acts of extremists, which entail murder, suicide, and Chilul Hashem (profaning Hashem's name). But the Mitzvos of Mesiras Nefesh and Kiddush Hashem teach self-dedication, consistency, and the importance of the preservation of Jewish practices.

As Arachim has so poignantly demonstrated, during the same time that the Chinese have grown to a populace of over a billion, the Jews have barely increased in population. Everyone knows why this is so. By honoring those who have died for living as Jews, we give glory to those who live, meaning and vitality to our ongoing Jewish practices.

Remember our quote from the Shlah, that a Jew should flee rather than face the necessity to give his life? (Outline Vol. 2 #2) Such is the view of the Shevus Yaakov. Herein lies the difference between the faithful Jew and the terrorist. The Jew is ready, if and when the time comes. He has constantly recited "You shall love Hashem with all your heart, soul and might..." However, if he could have avoided confrontation, he would have.

"Cast your burden to Hashem; He will sustain you." (T'hillim [Psalms 55:23].) The Shlah says that this is the mitzvah of davening, prayer. Throw your concerns to Hashem, for He alone is in charge.


The Service

Why is prayer "service?" What does it "serve?" To whom are we "serving?" Prayer is a statement: He alone is in charge. From here, we can understand the crime of idolatry: To imagine that anything else has any say, has any independent power, is tantamount to denying the basic principle: He alone is in charge. "Cast your burden to Hashem," based on the realization that "He will sustain you..." is serving the Creator!

When the Patriarch Yitzchak felt Yaakov's hands, he said, "The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are Eisuv's." The holy perception of Yitzchak is disturbing. The voice sounds like Yaakov, but the domain of power belongs to Eisuv... which will have ascendancy?

Rebbenu Bechaye quotes a Medrash:

Yaakov only rules with the voice, Eisuv rules with his hands. "The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are Eisuv's." So it states: (T'hillim [Psalms 20:8].) "They trust in their chariots and horses; but we will mention Hashem's name!" When Moshe told the King of Edom, "We cried unto Hashem and He heard our voice," the nations went before their philosophers for advice. The philosophers said: "If you find the voices of the children calling out, you have no chance against them. So their father assured them: `The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are Eisuv's.' When Yaakov is found in the Batei Knesios (synagogues) and Batei Medrashos (Yeshivos -- houses of study), the hands are not those of Eisuv."


Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
Kollel of Kiryas Radin
11 Kiryas Radin
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Phone: (914) 362-5156
E-mail: yaakovb@torah.org

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © '97 Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis, Inc.



 


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