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Parsha Pearls: Parshas Bereishis

So What If the Nations Call Us Robbers?
The Satanic Redemption

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In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth. (1:1)

Rashi says: The Torah should have begun with the words, “This month will be for you the first of months” (Shemos 12:2), which was the first commandment given to the Jewish people. Why does it start with the creation of the world? So that if the nations say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you conquered the lands of the seven nations of Canaan” they can reply, “All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed is He. He created it and gave it to whomever He wanted. He gave the land to the Canaanites, and then He took it from them and gave it to us.”

The Kli Yakar asks: So what if they accuse us of being robbers? Is that so important that it warrants a change in the order of the Torah? He explains that the accusation of robbery would lead to a complete denial of G-d and the Torah. The nations would say, “How can your G-d and His Torah be true if He did nothing to stop you from stealing the land?” This, says the Kli Yakar, is why robbery was the sin that sealed the decree on the generation of the flood. Thus without the preface of creation, the rest of the Torah and all the fundamentals of emunah would be worthless to the nations.

The Satmar Rav says that even if we were to dispute the Kli Yakar’s contention that robbery in general implies denial of G-d, in the case of the Jewish people taking Eretz Yisroel he is certainly correct. The exile and redemption of the Jewish people are processes that must be left to the control of G-d, with no physical effort on our part. All areas of life are under G-d’s control, yet the Torah teaches that we may work for a living, as it says, “So that Hashem your G-d may bless you in all the works of your hands that you do” (Devarim 14:29). We may consult doctors, as it says, “He shall surely heal” (Shemos 21:19). We do not sit back and leave these things up to G-d. But in the matter of occupying our land, the Torah gives us no such permission to make efforts on our own. (See Mishpatim and Tetzaveh, p. ??.) “Because of our sins we were exiled from our land,” we say in the Musaf prayer for festivals, and the Torah promises that we will be redeemed only after we repent (Devarim 30:2).

Thus, all other sins do not necessarily imply a denial of G-d. Sometimes a person follows his desires and commits a sin, but still recognizes G-d. The fact that G-d does not prevent him from sinning will not lead to denial of G-d, for everyone knows that G-d grants humans free will. And even regarding robbery we could say, in contrast to the Kli Yakar, that it is nothing more than an effort to make a living in a forbidden manner, by exercising one’s free will. But the redemption from exile and restoration of the Jewish people to the Holy Land is strictly G-d’s domain, and any effort in that area is a direct affront and denial of His mastery over the world. This is why it was crucial to begin the Torah with creation – to teach that the Jewish people did not take the Holy Land on their own, but rather G-d created it, took it from the Canaanites and gave it to them. (Vayoel Moshe 1:44).

As an analogy, if a person evades taxes or violates the traffic laws and is caught, he will be punished or fined, but the punishment will not be too severe. Even as he was committing the crime, he was not denying the legitimacy or authority of the government; he was just attempting to save himself money or time. But if he gathers together an army and, in the name of his country, declares war on another country, this is an offense of the greatest severity. Declarations of war are strictly the government’s domain, and when this person claims to declare war in the name of his country, he is thereby denying the legitimacy of the real government.

And the earth was emptiness and nothingness, and the darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of G-d was hovering on the face of the waters. (1:2)

The Midrash says that Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish explained these verses as referring to different exiles: “And the earth was emptiness” – this is the exile of Babylonia, as it says, “I saw the land and it was emptiness” (Yirmiyahu 4:23). “And nothingness” – this is the exile of Media, as it says, “And they hurried to bring Haman” (Esther 6:14). “And darkness” – this is the exile of Greece, who darkened the eyes of Israel with their decrees, for they said to them, “Write on the horn of the ox that you have no part in the G-d of Israel.” “On the face of the deep” – this is the exile of the Evil Kingdom [Rome], which has no calculable end like the deep ocean. Just as the depths of the ocean cannot be fathomed, so too the wicked. “And the spirit of G-d was hovering” – this is the spirit of the king moshiach, as it says, “And the spirit of Hashem will rest upon him” (Yishaya 11:2). In what merit does this hovering spirit come closer? “On the face of the waters” – in the merit of repentance, which is compared to water, as it says, “Pour out your heart like water” (Eichah 2:19). (Bereishis Rabbah 2:4)

Thus the decree of exile is not something secondary or ephemeral, but is a major part of the Jewish people’s role, and part of G-d’s plan when He created the world. Only through the fulfillment of this plan can we achieve our success.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller said, “Some people make a very great error. They think that what happened to us was a big misfortune. We’re supposed to be in our land all the time. A landless people is not a people. And all the history of the Jewish people since leaving their land is just an unfortunate appendage added to the real Jewish history. Jewish history is only when we were a nation with a land and were all together, independent and proud. Now that we’re in exile, we can only hope for the days when we will get it back again. In the meantime it’s just a tragedy. This approach is fundamentally wrong, and based on atheism: on a lack of understanding that Hashem is King, and that whatever happens in this world is only His plan. Hashem would not make such a plan.

“Somebody writes a book, and after it’s printed, he wants to make a second edition. He sees he left out a few things, so he puts in some addenda at the end – a few pages in the back of the book. But did you ever see a book in which the addenda are longer than the book itself? So can we say that Hashem, the Author of history, would keep us in Eretz Yisroel for a limited time, and then when we are expelled for 2000 years, that’s just a misfortune, an addendum to history? Don’t make this serious error. This exile is our history. Even today, we’re fulfilling that history, whether in Yerushalayim, Bnei Brak, Williamsburg, Borough Park or Flatbush. In Oshkosh, Wisconsin where there’s a single Jew fighting the environment – he is also making history. History is not only up to the destruction of the Temple. The Jewish people is creating history today, and who knows what part of history is greater?” (Tape #533)

And it came to pass at the end of days, that Kayin brought from the fruit of the ground, an offering to Hashem. And also Hevel brought from the firstborn of his flock and their fat.” (4:3)

The Zohar (Bereishis 54a) speaks about Adam’s two sons Kayin and Hevel. It states that Kayin came from the left side, from the side of tumah, and Hevel came from the right side, the side of taharah. The name “kayin” comes from the word “kein,” nest, a nest of evil habitations – demons and spirits from the unclean side. When Kayin and Hevel brought offerings, each brought from his own side:

Rabbi Shimon said: “And it came to pass at the end of days [Kayin brought from the fruit of the ground an offering to Hashem]” (Bereishis 4:3). What is “mikeitz yamim”? This is the end of all flesh. And who is this? The angel of death. And Kayin brought his offering from that “keitz yamim”. There is a hint to this in the words, for it says, “mikeitz yamim” and not “mikeitz yamin”. And therefore it says regarding Daniel (Daniel 12:13): “And you, go to the End, and stand by your portion.” He said to him: To the keitz hayamim or to the keitz hayamin? He said to him: To the keitz hayamin. But Kayin brought from the keitz hayamim.

The Zohar seems to say that there are two Ends, one from the right, clean side and one from the unclean side. Daniel asked the angel which one he should go to, and the angel replied, to the one on the right.

For seven hundred years, Jews studied the Zohar and did not know the meaning of this passage. Now, unfortunately, we know. We are living in the time of the “keitz hayamim” – the false end of the exile presented by the angel of death, the Satan.

Just as the Satan came to the Jews at the end of the forty days of Moses’ absence and “mixed up the world,” showing them a vision of Moses dead and convincing them to worship a golden calf, so too the Satan in our century has turned over the entire world in order to bring us the Zionist state. His goal is to convince the Jews that their original hopes of Divine redemption are dead and now they must throw their lot with the state.

Let us emulate Daniel and wait only for the keitz hayamin, the true end of exile promised in the Torah!



Rabbi Avigdor Miller