Our Parsha speaks about the reasons for the separate section delineated by the inverted “nuns” — “When the Aron (the Ark) would journey, Moshe said, ‘Arise Hashem, and let your foes be scattered, let those who hate you flee from before you.’ And when it rested, he would say, ‘Reside tranquilly, O, Hashem, among the myriad thousands of Israel.'” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 10, posukim 35-36)
Preceding these posukim are the posukim which speak about the journey of the Aron and of B’nai Yisrael from Har Sinai to their next resting place, “…a three day distance…” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 10, posukim 33 & 34).
Many commentators speak of the section delineated by the inverted
“nuns” as a separation between the aveirot of B’nai Yisrael so as to not bring about a Chazaka (recording of three Jewish sins in succession).
We learn subsequently about the people’s complaints about lack of quail and in next week’s parsha Shelach, about the sin of the Miraglim (the spies). But what was the first aveirah which brought about the separation, by inverted “nuns”, of “VaYehi B’nso’a HaAron V’yOmer Moshe…”? (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 10, posukim 35-36)
Rabbi Artscroll mentions a Ramban on posuk 35 which cites a Midrash which indicates:
that the B’nai Yisrael “… fled from the mountain of G’d like a child running away from school.” The Midrash indicates that they were “happy to leave that holy place because they afraid that Hashem might give them more and more commandments. Thus, although they traveled in compliance with Hashem’s will, their attitude made a sin of a journey that should have been the fulfillment of Hashem’s oath to the Avos.” (Artscroll Stone Chumash, page 787, commentary on Perek 10, posukim 33 & 34)
In addition, the Rashi on posuk 33 indicates that although the posuk says that the journey “… was a distance that normally would have required three days of travel, … they (the B’nai Yisrael) covered it in one day.” (Artscroll Stone Chumash, page 787, commentary on Perek 10, posuk 33)
It seems that the attitude of B’nai Yisrael in departing from Har Sinai is totally at odds with Moshe Rabbeinu’s paradigm derech of showing HaKaras HaTov such as by the Maka of Dom (the plague of blood)
where he showed his thankfullness for the water which protected him as a new-born.
As we watch today’s history unfold, we find that the functionaries of Israel’s contemporary governance, and indeed significant segments of the B’nai Yisrael have lost sight of our history and take lightly the significance of our traditions, our commemorations, our Yomim Tovim — our Shalosh Regalim.
What do we see today? We observe how the current Memshelet Yisrael, once the vehicle to build and ingather a scattered nation and make the land bloom as it hadn’t in nearly 2,000 years, has become obsolete due to the cancerous growth of it’s disdain for Torah and for its anti-Torah ways. We see how they have apparntly abandoned the MIA soldiers to their captors with little care to find conclusive proof as to whether they have remained alive or have died in captivity. We have noted their abject failure to even attempt to gain intelligence as to possible rescue of Gilad Shalit even as they resorted to trading hundreds of terrorists for body-bags containing the remains of soldiers Regev and Goldwasser.
We see how they have benignly neglected Jonathan Pollard, who saved countless Jewish lives by his actions, and left him to rot in an American prison while feigning efforts on his behalf. We see how they have lied to, misled and neglected the members of the former South Lebanon Army who previously fought alongside and supported Israel for decades.
And finally, having displayed utter disrespect to those who aligned themselves with and fought for Israel, whether in Northern Israel, South Lebanon or as members of the Republican party have fought in the halls of the United States Congress and Senate; Memshelet Yisrael now totally disrepects it’s land, a land which has bloomed and represents a significant part of it’s economy. The day when an attack on any Jew anywhere in Israel, or, for that matter, anywhere in the world was seen as an attack on every Israeli’s doorstep has passed to a time of total selfishness, self-interest and disloyalty toward our brethren and Chillul Hashem. The time has passed to a governance “too tired to win, too tired to fight, too tired, too tired, too tired.” If Entebbe were to have occurred today under a Barak, an Olmert, a Livni, etc., or, yes a Bibi Netanyahu, the 100 or so Jews saved in the raid on Entebbe would have long-since rotted to death.
It disrespects the people it is meant to govern, the Jewish people with it’s lies, falsehoods and corruption. It ditches on Eretz Kedusha, on their solemn obligation of national security and on the Jewish people in order that its leaders avoid prosecution and possible prison for their multitudes of wrongdoing.
While terrorism continues unabated, the governance of Israel instead declares war on the Jewish people. And while Jonathan Pollard languishes in jail for the “crime” of alerting his Jewish brethren as to the grave danger arising from America not holding up its treaty committments, the Israeli governance rolled over on him casting him out of their Embassy when he sought asylum, and into American legal hands some 24 or so years ago. And Tzipy Livni had the unmitigated gall and chutzpah as recently as 10 1/2 months ago to equate “Israeliness” as the reason that they what little effort they did make regarding Regev and Goldwasser resulting in how they were returned. One might therefore deduce, though unspoken, that Livni may consider Jonathan Pollard as lacking “Israeliness.”
Just as Hashem provided Moshe Rabbeinu with 70 elders — the Jewish overseers who, rather than report to Pharoh rating on their Brethren, took the lashes of Pharoh’s whippings themselves for the failure to satisfy quotas, so too, must real Jewish leadership today be morally and ethically pure, honest and beyond reproach. As such, they MUST be capable of placing the security and welfare of the Jewish people who they would govern above and beyond personal self-aggrandizement, self-perpetuation of power. Real Jewish leadership, by its very nature, recognizes the necessity of national unity and that the building and ingathering of the Jews to modern-day Israel and success in conflicts with enemies bent on our destruction are in the Hands of Hashem, not merely in the plans and hands of moral man.
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 kidnapped captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashen 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.