Parshat Re’eh 5776: The Importance of Eradicating the Altars of Idol Worship and Paganism From Eretz Yisrael

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Re’eh is being sponsored by Steven and Debra Glanz and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for the success of their chldren. To the Glanz 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.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Re’eh 5776: The Importance of Eradicating the Altars of Idol Worship and Paganism From Eretz Yisrael

by Moshe Burt

Our Parshat Re’eh, early on, reinforces a theme discussed previously in Parshat Masei:

“When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all of the inhabitants of the Land before you; and you shall destroy all their prostration stones; all of their molten images….” (Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer BaMidbar, Perek 33, posukim 51-52 and commentary, pages 922-923)

…Apparently, …the meaning here: If you allow the pagan inhabitants to remain in the Land, they will become a hedge [a guard, a protection] around their pagan practices; the nature of these practices will be concealed from your perception and insight, and you will not find fault with them. Tolerance toward the pagan inhabitants will beget tolerance toward paganism. If you tolerate paganism and find justification for it within Hashem’s Land, you will cease to belong to Hashem alone, and… you will be deprived of your right to exist in the Land, and you will not be worthy of protection …. When Hashem removes His protection of you…, those toward whom you have been so tolerant will become your enemies and will oppress you in your own land.

R’ Shimson Rafael Hirsch z”l provides commentary on posuk 52 in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Rabbi Daniel Haberman, pages 666- 667):

You must first make the Land fit to be your yerusha [inheritance] by removing all traces of polytheism, and only then will you be able to settle in it. You are not inheriting the Land by your own power and might; rather, Hashem’s will and Hashem’s power are giving you the Land…. Hence, you will not be able to avoid fulfilling the first basic condition on which Hashem makes the [this] gift of the Land dependent.

Sefer Shem Mishmuel (by R’ Shmuel Bornstein, as translated by R’ Zvi Belovski, page 392) provides a summary of Sefer Devarim, Perek 12, posukim 1-3:

…The sidrah describes the actions which Klal Yisrael were to take against the idols they would find in Eretz Yisrael. Hashem commanded them to utterly destroy them and to… uproot idolatry from the land.

The Artscroll Stone Chumash provides further commentary on these posukim (pages 999-1000):

…Idols must be destroyed totally (Mizrachi). This is why it is not sufficient merely to chop down an… idolatrous tree; even its roots must be removed from the ground (Rashi).

Rabbi Akiva inferred… that whenever one saw a high mountain or verdant tree, it should be assumed that an idol or an altar had been placed there (Avodah Zarah 45b). Apparently, the Canaanites set up their idols wherever the surroundings manifested the powers of nature, powers that they associated with their idols.

Not only should the idols themselves be removed, Jews are not even to refer to them by their proper names. Instead, they should use derogatory nicknames for them (Rashi).

All of this may well sound “politically incorrect”, “subversive” or “seditious” in our contemporary secular “western morality”-based governmental environment. But there seem to be lessons to be learned and applied in a Jewish State in OUR Eretz Yisrael regarding objects and texts of Avodah Zarah and their adherents, lest “those toward whom you have been so tolerant will become your enemies and will oppress you in your own land.”

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 two 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!!!

Good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov!

Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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