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לימוד תורה

Let's win together, forever! -  לְנַצֵּחַ יַחַד לָנֶצַח 

Parshah and its implementation - Parshat Va'era - and the war of the 'Iron Swords' 5784

Rabbi Eliezer Haim Shenvald

Dedicated to the IDF soldiers' success, to safeguard them lest any harm come to them, to the healing of all the wounded and the return of the abducted.

A little over a week ago, the IDF spokesman responded to a question saying: "It is likely that Hamas' decision to launch an attack was related to the rift in the nation and the readiness of the army to capture Hamas". (Israel Hayom). The IDF spokesman is an official who bases his assessments on facts, on intelligence information and the investigation gathered from the captured terrorists. For the first time he comes out with an official statement saying there was a direct connection between the timing of the great tragedy that befell upon us on Shabbat Simchat Torah and the rift and calls for refusal created by the people. Once again, we realized like many other times in our history, that harming the unity of the people may have a heavy price.

The public understood this that same day. The change was immediate. The manifestations of unity we have seen since then have been unprecedented. Now the reservists are demanding from public figures and the media to preserve this unity forever, even after the victory! This tragedy burned us like fire on living flesh, our being Jews, brothers, with a common fate and destiny, forever. The reservists will not forgive those who return to the poisonous discourse of division, factionalism, and poking at the shortcomings of others.

The first Parashot of Sefer Shmot deal with the enslavement of the Jewish people in Egypt, and the process of leaving slavery for freedom and redemption. Studying these Parashot teaches about the past and the future. The model of the redemption and future progress of the people of Israel is similar to the model of the exodus from Egypt, as we mention in the Shabbat prayers:

הֵן גָּאַלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אַחֲרִית כְּרֵאשִׁית

"Behold, I have redeemed you from this final [exile] as from the first…".

According to the Sages, Moshe Rabbeinu was uncertain of what caused the people of Israel to be so severely enslaved. After the incident with דָּתָ֣ן וַאֲבִירָ֑ם - Dathan and Abiram's quarrel, he understood: the difficulty of the enslavement stemmed from the damaged people's unity:

וַיֹּאמַ֔ר אָכֵ֖ן נוֹדַ֥ע הַדָּבָֽר..... היה משה מהרהר בלבו ואומר: מה חטאו ישראל, שנשתעבדו מכל האומות? כיון ששמע דבריו, אמר: לשון הרע יש ביניהן, היאך יהיו ראוין לגאולה?! לכך אמר: אכן נודע הדבר, עתה ידעתי, באיזה דבר הם משתעבדים:

"Indeed, the matter is known''. (Shmot 2:14) Moshe was pondering in his heart and saying: What sin did Israel commit that caused them, more than all the nations, to be enslaved? When he heard his response, he said: ‘There is slander in their midst, how can they be deserving of redemption?’ Therefore, he said: “Indeed the matter is known” – now I know the reason for their enslavement." (Shmot Rabbah 1:30) 'Lashon Hara (detraction)' - in this context means that there was negative speech between them and slander that caused internal discord. The Egyptians took advantage of this dispute which allowed them to enslave and subjugate the people of Israel, lest they resist enslavement.

According to the Sages, the future redemption, and the gathering of the exiles from among the nations to the Land of Israel, depends on the redemption:

וְכֵן אַתְּ מוֹצֵא שֶׁאֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל נִגְאֲלִין עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כֻּלָּן אֲגֻדָּה אַחַת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה וּבָעֵת הַהִיא נְאֻם ה' יָבֹאוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבְנֵי יְהוּדָה יַחְדָּו וְגוֹ' (ירמיה נ, ד). כְּשֶׁהֵן אֲגוּדִים, מְקַבְּלִין פְּנֵי שְׁכִינָה.

"…So also you find that Israel was not redeemed until they became one group, as stated (in Jer. 50:4), “’In those days and at that time,’ says Hashem,’ the children of Israel, they and the children of Judah, shall come together.’” When they are united, they shall welcome the face of the Divine Presence." (Midrash Tanchuma Nitzavim Siman 1)

Sages emphasized that throughout the generations, unity was the key to victory over our enemy:

דּוֹרוֹ שֶׁל אַחְאָב עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים הָיוּ וְהָיוּ יוֹצְאִין לַמִּלְחָמָה וְנוֹצְחִין, וְלָמָּה כֵן, שֶׁלֹא הָיָה בֵּינֵיהֶן דֵּילָטוֹרִין, לְפִיכָךְ הָיוּ יוֹצְאִין לַמִּלְחָמָה וְנוֹצְחִין... אֲבָל דּוֹרוֹ שֶׁל שָׁאוּל כֻּלָּן הָיוּ דֵּילָטוֹרִין... לְפִיכָךְ הָיוּ נוֹפְלִים בַּמִּלְחָמָה..

"Achav's generation were pagan worshipers, yet they went out to war and won. Why was this so? Because they did not have informers amongst them. Therefore, they went out to war and won. …But in Shaul's generation, they were all informers... Therefore, they fell in war". (Devarim Rabbah 5:10)

During Achav's period there was unity among the people, therefore even though they were idolatry worshipers, G-d was by their side. In comparison to them, in the days of Saul people were righteous in the obligations of man towards G-d but there was no unity therefore they failed in their wars.

For this they said:

אומר [אהוב את] השלום ושנוא המחלוקת. גדול השלום שאפי׳ עובדין ע״א ויש שלום ביניהן כביכול אין שכינה יכולה לנגוע בהן שנאמר (הושע ד) 'חֲבוּר עֲצַבִּים אֶפְרָיִם הַנַּח לוֹ'. אם יש ביניהן מחלוקת מה נאמר בהן (שם י) חָלַק לִבָּם עַתָּה יֶאְשָׁמוּ הוּא יַעֲרֹף מִזְבְּחוֹתָם יְשֹׁדֵד מַצֵּבוֹתָם:

"Love peace and hate dissension. Great is peace, for even if [Israel] were to practice idolatry but maintained peace among themselves, the Divine Presence, as it were, would be unable to do them harm, as it is stated in Hosea 4:17, 'Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone'. But if there is dissension between them, what is stated of them? 'Now that his boughs are broken up, He feels his guilt; He himself pulls apart his altars, smashes his pillars' - Hosea 10:2". (Tractate Derech Eretz Zuta 9)

Rabbi Charlap wrote: "In every period and era there is a special point which radiates goodness and contains all the existence of Torah and Mitzvot. If the blooming of that point is delayed, it will prevent the influence of light and sanctity that comes through, etc." ('Mei Merom' 6). Rabbi Charlap writes there that in the generation of revival -independence- the main point is the Land of Israel. Recent events have shown, even if in a difficult way, that the main point receives special emphasis, as there is no Land of Israel without unity. Even and despite the differences of opinion and the quarrels:

"סָמוּךְ לְעִקְבָא-דִּמְשִׁיחָא מִתְרַבָּה סְגֻלַּת הָאַחְדוּת בָּאֻמָּה, וכו'. טְמוּנָה הִיא סְגֻלָּה זוֹ בְּמַטְמוֹן שֶׁל קָטֵגוֹרְיָא וּמְרִיבוֹת, אֲבָל תּוֹכוֹ רָצוּף אַהֲבָה וְאַחְדוּת נִפְלָאָה, שֶׁמְּעוֹרֶרֶת הַרְגָּשָׁה כְּלָלִית לִצְפִיָּה לִתְשׁוּעַת הַגּוֹי כֻּלּוֹ"

"Close to the times of the Meshiach, the nation's virtue of unity is multiplied… etc. This virtue is hidden within prosecutions and quarrels, but its interior has continuous love and wonderful unity, which causes a general feeling of looking forward to the salvation of the entire nation" (Lights from Darkness -Lights of Rebirth 25:1)

Let's win this together, forever! לְנַצֵּחַ יַחַד לָנֶצַח

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