This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Ki Tisa is being sponsored by Tzvi and Shari Gherman of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of their son Aharon Laib Shalom’s Bar Mitzvah. To the Gherman family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
Midway in our Parshat Ki Tisa, we learn that Hashem informed Moshe of B’nai Yisrael’s sin with the Egel Zahav (the golden calf) and sent Moshe down from Har Sinai. When Moshe heard that the people had brought burnt and peace offerings to the egel, and saw their revelry as they sang and danced around it, he called for supporters to rally, and the Levi’im immediately responded.
Torah records in our Parsha that Moshe conveyed to the Levi’im:
“So said Hashem the G’d of Israel, ‘Let them place, every man, his sword on his thigh, and pass back and forth from gate to gate in the camp; and let them kill, every man his brother, every man his fellow, every man his relative.'” The Levi’im did according to the word of Moshe… (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 32, posukim 27-28)
Rashi notes on Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 32, posuk 27 referring back to Perek 22, posuk 19:
“He who sacrifices to the gods shall be put to death.”
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his Sefer “Growth Through Torah”, hits on theme to “Forego your personal prejudices for the honor of The Almighty.” He cites Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 32, posuk 26 and comments:
“And Moshe stood at the gate of the camp and he said, ‘Whoever is for the Almighty come to me.’ And all of the descendants of Levi gathered unto him.”
The Chasam Sofer notes that the Torah emphasizes the word “all,” every member of the tribe of Levi came to Moshe. This included Korach and those Levi’im who later followed him (Korach). Even though they were greatly displeased with Moshe, when it came to the honor of the Almighty they joined him to fight for the Almighty. (Toras Moshe)
This has practical applications. There are many times in one’s life when one is called upon to make a similar decision. There will be people whom one might envy or feel have taken a position above others that they do not deserve. But what they presently want to do is clearly positive. One might have mixed feelings about joining with them for a cause or a project. One’s only consideration should be whether what one is doing is consistent with the honor of the Almighty.
The lesson learned from the unanimous support given Moshe by the Levi’im in acting for the Almighty seems readily apparent as extended, in the context of contemporary governance of Israel, to the ongoing political contest leading to elections in March and the ongoing war against the Arab/Islamic enemy sworn to nothing less than Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication.
One may not be inclined to vote for the party of the incumbent prime minister and may be totally opposed to almost everything he stands for. But does that mean that one need oppose that head of government who is trying to take steps to protect the country against the universally recognized (by all Jews) nuclear threat posed by the most powerful of Israel’s sworn enemies? Does it mean making political spin and bogus gain out of the false controversy created by Barack Hussein Obama over an Israeli prime minister’s upcoming address before a joint session of the United States Congress? By false controversy, consider recent disclosures regarding the inaccuracies and mis-characterization of the New York Times regarding the invite to Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran:
When John Boehner announced that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had accepted his invitation to address Congress, the Obama Administration reacted strongly. The criticism was not directed primarily at Boehner, who apparently did not inform the White House of the invitation until shortly before it was formally delivered, and may have acted unconstitutionally in delivering it, but against Netanyahu, for breaching diplomatic protocol by accepting the invitation from Boehner without prior coordination with the Administration.
The story of Netanyahu’s perfidy grew to the extent that the New York Times reported, incorrectly, that Netanyahu accepted the invitation before the White House had been informed of it. The Times then issue the following correction. “An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.”
This correction has circulated in conservative and pro-Israel circles, but doesn’t seem to have led to any followup, or any investigation by those who initially reported the opposite. Were senior White House aides exaggerating the story, or did the Times get caught up in its own anti-Netanyahu narrative? Or perhaps the Times was failing to distinguish between Netanyahu’s formal acceptance after the White House had been notified, and White House anger that the details of the visit had been worked out before notification to the White House, meaning that Netanyahu was planning to accept the invitation before the White House knew about it.
Let’s hope that none of this winds up interfering with what everyone seems to agree is the ultimate goal here, which is to prevent the terrorist state of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The crucial question is, Are the Israeli political, intelligencia and media “elites” capable of learning, accepting, intellectualizing and actuating the lesson of the Levi’im answering the Almighty’s call for the good of Am Yisrael, despite their political, or distorted “ideological” differences? Or are these “elites” sooo blinded to realities that they will continue to pursue their agendas regardless of the national consequences and peril of their actions.
May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and
the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May 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 to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — 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.