At the conclusion of Parsha Shemos, Moshe and Aaron are confronted, upon exiting Pharoh’s Palace, by the B’nai Yisrael who are in deeper despair than before because of the increased workload which resulted from Pharoh’s fury at Moshe’s first effort to secure their freedom and exit from Mitzrayim.
Our Parsha begins with the dialogue which Moshe Rebbeinu has with Hashem prior to again speaking to the B’nai Yisrael. And so, after
Hashem rebukes Moshe for his complaint and reassures him that redemption is at hand, Moshe again addresses the B’nai Yisrael as to his meeting with Pharoh.
And Moshe spoke so [Hashem’s promise of imminent Redemption] to the B’nai Yisrael and they did not listen to Moshe for anguish of spirit and hard work. (Sefer Shemos, Perek 6, pusuk 9)
Rabbi Artscroll cites two interpretations; one was held by
“most commentators that the verse explains that their negative attitude was due not to lack of faith, but to the difficult physical and emotional circumstances under which they labored.” (Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer Shemos, Perek 6, pusuk 9, page 320)
The second interpretation was held by Sforno that Moshe’s message did not evoke in the people a faith in G’d as Avraham had. (Breish’t Perek 15, pusuk 6)
“As a result, they lost the priviledge of going to the Promised Land and their children were the ones for whom the promise … was fulfilled. The reason for their failure was their insufficiency of spirit. The pusuk concludes, however, that had it not been for the hard work, they would have overcome their impatience and heeded Moshe’s appeal.” Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer Shemos, Perek 6, pusuk 9, page 321)
To these interpretations, this author would then add recollection of a vort from Shem Mishmuel who speaks about the disconnection between intellect and vocalization, and the heart and neshama which took place during the enslavement in Egypt. According to the understanding of this vort, only once the B’nai Yisrael were redeemed, could the circuit; the connection between thought and it’s vocalization and the heart and neshama be completed and the B’nai Yisrael then be able to vocalize it’s deepest, heartfelt words and faith.
How does the above relate to our contemporary times? How does the disconnect of the Jews in Mitzrayim relate to today’s modern-day Israeli disconnect from their land and from Judaism?
For most contemporary Israelis, the horrendous Israeli secular education system has inculcated generations of Israelis with a disconnection from anything Jewish such that the current generation does not know why it is here, sees nothing Kadosh, Holy about the Land of Israel or any part thereof and thus can’t be bothered with anything not directly connected with their getting through the next day, week or month. The Israeli secular system seemingly has succeeded in creating the New Jew, the breeding ground for what Emmanuel Feldman quoted from the Book of Isaiah in an article in Jerusalem Post nearly a year ago; “Your leaders have become plunderers, associates of thieves, lovers of bribery, pursuers of payoffs.” (Isaiah 1:23).
To brainwashed secular Israelis, the Jews who live in Yehuda and the Shomron; Kiryat Sefer or Beitar Illit or the Jews who lived in Gush Katif are objects of derision and disdain because Secular Israel has been inculcated to accept as dogma that Israel stole the land from the Arabs and that religious Jews usurped the land as their own. Never mind that, as one person opined in an email to this author, that “the Right should start protesting the fact that a lot of LEFT WING areas, like Ramat Aviv and probably Savyon, are built on Arab lands!”
To Yoseph Q. Secular Israel, Hashem, Jewish history and connection to the Land seems abstract, not real, not tangible and thus meaningless compared with the government’s forced daily matzav of making ends meet and putting food on the table as well as the government’s forced feeding of Leftist agenda media drivle.
The pintele yid seems too far beneath the surface of many. This seems true even though, at various levels according to statistics, various traditions of Judaism i.e. fasting on Yom Kippur, cleaning the house of chometz on Pesach, lighting Shabbos candles, etc. are kept by many or most Israelis.
This generation’s youth know not how to recite even the Shema in their native Iv’rit peh. And they do not know their history, not 5767 years of Jewish history, not even the events and personalities of their nearly 59 years of contemporary Israeli history. Add to that, his parents are up to their eyeballs in red, that’s the red of the bank minus and Ma’as Hachnasah (Tax) bite.
And so, the average Israeli lacks erudition and does not know from the medium of internet, where there still exists the freedom of exchange of ideas. Yosef Q. Secular Israeli is a TV junkie who’s changeable ideology is spoon-fed and inculcated to him by the leftist mainstream media both in Israel as well as CNN, BBC, etc.
The brainwashing and inculcation of secular Israelis seems soo complete that the common-sense demographics argument, that in truth the Jewish population is growing faster that the Arabs in Israel and that the Israeli government relies for it’s census info on bogus “pa (sic)” demographics statistics reflective of a 1.5 million person gap, eludes the intellectual grasp of most Israelis.
And each week, we watch as dumbed-down Israelis accept the latest absurdities; i.e. Islamics ambushing and killing Jewish hikers, terrorist bodyguards “rejunvenated” and made policemen by the PA and assigned to protect President Bush during visits to PA areas. And let’s not forget about the 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate for the manufacture of explosives and Kassam rockets which were disuised as sugar from the EU. The contraband was uncovered at an Israel-Gaza checkpoint like the very checkpoints both in Gaza and in Yehuda and Shomron which the left wing protexia regime are dying to dismantle.
Sadly, the utter absurdity of these events is being lost on most Israelis for lack of erudition on the internet, government interference and censorship as well as news boycotting by the leftist agendized Israeli print and electronic media.
But even if the ramifications of these events were to surface and penetrate the consciousness of Israelis, would they then even wake up and get fired up at the length and breadth of their government’s gross deception and malfeasance regarding the land and regarding national responsibility and security?
So how or what do we do as a first step toward confronting Israelis with reality when the heart and soul are disconnected from Jewish intellect, knowledge and speech? How do we convey that the reality spelled out above and it’s consequences of destructo polices are not avoidable by a run-and-hide mentality.
And it seems that substantial Chareidi segments, perhaps even the majority of Chareidim similarly suffer a disconnect from the Land of Israel. They know that they live when the Shechinah (the direct connection with Hashem) resides, they pray and learn Torah but lack the the third dimension, the translation of tefillah and learning as well as Chesed into the necessary actions to confront the evil regime which acts to undermine Torah at every turn. It will be interesting to watch the Chareidi reaction as the on-agin, off-again litigation regarding such Chareidi areas as Kiryat Sefer and Beitar Illit proceeds in the courts.
May we be zocha in this coming year that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and the 3 captive Chayalim and the other MIAs be liberated and returned to us and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.