Our Purim vort is being sponsored by Mutti & Michelle Frankel of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for Hotsolocha to their entire family. To the Frankel family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.
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It pains this author greatly to feel the need to write these words in a Purim vort, as Purim is supposed to be a joyous time of commemorating Hashem’s great Neisim (Miracles) in saving Am Yehudi from Haman’s evil decree.
As of this Purim vort’s writing, at least 33 of our brethren are fatalities, with others of our brethren fighting for their lives, from this current phase of the ongoing Arab/Islamic War against us. And it goes without saying, the particular pain felt due to fatalities hitting close to home, individuals with connections to members of this author’s family, as well as acquaintance with several families resulting from losses due to murderous Arab/Islamic terror.
And, as of the setting to text of this Purim vort, young Jews remain under administrative detention, having been mentally and physically tortured due to alleged, unproven “complicity” in an arson attack in an Arab town which could have easily been the result of feuding Arab clans. The IDF Chief of Staff has taken issue with the Torah adage: “When your enemy comes to kill you, kill him first” and, with others in Israel’s secular governance, has portrayed Observant Jews as evil, for our spirituality and emunah in Hashem, for no reason other than for their jealousy of the loss of their lock on all power in Israel. The IDF Chief Rabbinate has been undermined by the IDF Chief of Staff such that religious Jews with beards are being ordered to remove them, despite fierce opposition by Rabbanim of all segments of Observance. This act alone by the IDF brass gives this author pause to rethink how, and under what circumstances Observant Jews should serve in the military.
These secular establishment powers are the very ones who, day-by-day, endeavor to brainwash Israeli governed by slandering and defaming those who love and seek Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael, accusing us of “Jewish terrorism” and of “plotting the overthrow of the government” (read: the entrenched establishment) and more.
Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal, z”l, the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, in his sefer “Inspiration and Insight”, Volume 2 – Discourses on the Holidays and Other Themes, cites Megillat Esther and writes about Esther HaMalka (Queen Esther) and Mordechai regarding Haman’s plan to exterminate the Jews (pages 116-117):
“She ordered him [Hasach, one of the king’s chamberlains] to go to Mordechai to learn what this was and why it was” (Esther, Perek 4, posuk 5)
“R’ Yitzchak said: Esther sent the following message to Mordechai: ‘Perhaps Israel has transgressed the Five Books of the Torah of which it is written (Sh’mos Perek 32, posuk 15).. on this side and on this side they [the Ten Commandments] are written?” (Gemura Tractate Megillah 15a)
Esther understood that Mordechai’s donning of sackcloth meant that the Jews were in danger, but she did not know the nature of the danger or its source. In inquiring of Mordechai…. her first concern was to learn the danger’s spiritual cause. Esther understood that
whatever happens to the Jewish people, both as a nation and on an individual level, occurs through… Divine Providence. If a decree against the Jews had been issued, then its root cause must be sin.
Chazal teach that one does not bang his finger in this world, unless it has been so decreed Above (Chullin 7b). When travail strikes…, one should look beyond the apparent cause and take stock of his deeds and ways — not in the spirit of gloom n depression,but with the realization that “as a man disciplines his son, so does Hashem, your G’d, discipline you.” (Sefer Devarim, Perek 8, posuk 5)
As denoted in the title to this vort, this author is focusing on the collective Jewish nation, in particular, the factions of Observant Jewry, in posing this question: What could be the true causes for the matzavim we face today, both the polarization within the Jewish nation and the terror war of external enemies bent on our destruction and our extermination? Could it be because of the many, the learned who smoke their cigarettes down to the filter and then casually drop the spent butt to the ground, as they enter a bus or mount the steps to Beit Knesset or Beit Medrash, disrespecting our precious Land of Israel? Could a cause be the thirty-second, no kavanah, auto-pilot Aleinu or the mumbled Aliyah b’Torah where Hashem’s name and the entire Bracha are inaudible? Could a cause be the Shaliach Tzibbor “system” which brings many into a dread race to keep up with Shaliach Tzibbor at every davening? Could it be a possible lack of care and kavod for the Beit Knesset/Beit Medrash and all of it’s rooms and accoutrements, including siddurim, chumashim and other s’forim regarding their proper replacement on their respective shelves, in either the rush to keep up with the Shaliach Tzibbor or in the even more maddening dash out of Shul after davening?
In short, could it be that our dual matzavim, within and external, are Divine Providence for what may appear as an appalling disregard for the small, Eikev mitzvot — the actions which we have gotten sooo used to doing by rote that we’re not even conscious that we are either disrespecting our fellow religious Jew who might lack the capability to properly pronounce each word in the rush to keep up with the Shaliach Tzibbor’s breakneck pace, or for possibly lacking kavod for the Beit Knesset/Beit Medrash in ways which spouses would not tolerate if done in the home?
To harken back to “Dayenu” and these words of writer Moshe Shamir at the first Pesach seder in Hevron following the Six Day War, as cited from the Sefer “Dear Brothers” by Haggai Segal, which would seem to this author to apply in the context of this vort as well:
“….The truth is that this part of the Haggadah has only one aim: to teach us how each and every generation of Jews tends to settle for the achievements of the past, to settle for what its forefathers had accomplished — and to rest on its laurels, with no aspiration for anything not achieved thus far…. That’s why we’ve got to know that we’ll be facing many more ‘dayenus’ until we reach full redemption.”
May we, the B’nei 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 brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nearly 1 3/4 years ago. 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 Al’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.