Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Shluchim, Simcha and Israeli Soldiers

 We will recount a story which has just taken place from which we see that when a Jew walks with his Judaism with determination, he has nothing to fear; to the contrary, not one was harmed. Information of this story has just reached us from the Holy-Land. 

Before the festival of Purim a convoy of Chabad Shluchim went out to soldiers stationed in Shechem who have the merit to protect Jews living in the Holy Land. Lately, there had been disturbances, so they were accompanied by a driver and several soldiers. As they approached the town, they saw from a distance a barricade of wood and rocks blocking the road which had been set up by Arabs who were antagonistic to Jews and soldiers reaching Shechem and its surrounding area. Those travelling in the car realized that this was not just a blockade of rocks but there were people there – Arabs. When the driver saw this he thought: ‘why should I endanger lives and undertake the responsibility of the emissaries bringing gifts of festive food to the soldiers? Let them do this another time rather than put themselves in danger by breaching the barrier and provoking the Arabs standing nearby!’ 

However, the shluchim stated with simple faith that they have a mission to encourage and bring joy to Jewish people on the festival of Purim, telling the soldiers [the story of Megillas Esther] that ‘the Jews had light, joy, happiness and dignity’, this, now also, not just in one location, but in one hundred and twenty seven countries throughout the world. We have to disregard the barricade of wood, stones and earth, even if there are Arabs there; they have no freedom of choice (to harm us). Certainly, the shluchim argued, when one does an act of good to bring joy to Jewish people, no bad will befall us. 

They convinced the driver and the soldiers accompanying them that they have nothing to fear, rather they should continue travelling forward. And lo, they broke through the barricade! The Arabs began throwing rocks and the soldiers were forced to fire at the Arabs to shock them. Actually no one was harmed neither Jew nor Arab. The shluchim reached the soldiers and burst into a joyous Chassidic gathering as befitting Purim, and later returned to the Holy City of Jerusalem healthy and well. 

Chabad shluchim dancing with Israeli soldiers
As we said, this story took place this Purim for us to take as a role model and instruction: "disregard obstacles and difficulties both from still life – rocks, wood, and human". A Jew is on a G-dly mission to bring joy to another Jew and to himself with the joy of a Mitzva, of Purim, together with the light of Torah, and the dignity of Tefillin. 

They put on Tefillin with all the soldiers and there was real light, joy, happiness and dignity. This was successful precisely because they went with the power of Torah, fearless. All barriers became null and void. 

Now with this determined power, the dread of the Jewish People will once again fall upon them. G-d assures us: ‘I will give peace unto the land’. Shalom – peace, also from the grammatical root, shleimus– complete - the Complete Land, together with all the Jewish People intact who are bound up with the Complete Torah. And this is how we will bring about the Complete Land to include Shechem, Hebron, and Jerusalem. 

                                                                                                            Public talk Purim 1976

No permission to renovate synagogue of Avraham Avinu

The following talk was given by the Rebbe in response to the government of Israel forbidding Jewish people from restoring the Abraham the Patriarch Synagogue in Hebron. This was after Professor Ben-Zion Tavgar together with members of the Jewish community of Hebron were searching for the synagogue buried under a goat shed. Through the trials endured by the professor and his helpers to expose the synagogue, they were evacuated time and time again by instruction of the Government of Israel.]  

The beautiful Synagogue of
Avraham Avinu in Hebron
The entire land of Israel was given (by G-d) to the Jewish People as an everlasting inheritance. No one has the right to cede any area of the Land of Israel. The question arises: this is a matter which is so obvious, why then do we have to review this repeatedly? The reason is: the exile is so dark that there are Jews who point a finger of accusation at the Jewish People: “You are thieves”. We need to conduct ourselves with righteousness and return the territories of the Land of Israel. They misinterpret the Torah, may G-d protect us, by saying we must confiscate land owned by Jews and give it the to gentiles to avert life threatening danger. In actual fact, the opposite is true!As we saw, after the signing of the unfortunate Camp David Accords, security experts stated that the signing was a severe blow: if they will return Judea and Samaria, it will be a cause of severe danger to every Jew in the Holy Land. 

The legal ruling in Shulchan Aruch 329.6 states: ‘even gentiles who argue that they are approaching merely for stubble and straw, it is forbidden to open the borders to them because the entire land will thereby be at risk’. Nevertheless, regardless of serious danger, the government is determined to return Judea and Samaria, but dress this in various façades such as autonomy, self-rule etc, which are concepts of no real content. One should not think that they will be satisfied with this. In this great darkness a shocking event occurred. 

All agree that Arabs may purchase land in Hebron, as may Jews. Certainly the Arabs agree that the synagogue of Abraham the Patriarch is rightfully a Jewish place. [It is irrelevant whether or not this was in fact the synagogue of Abraham]. If an Arab may renovate his own house, Jews should be permitted to renovate their synagogue. In actuality however, the government conducts itself in accordance with the words of our sages, ‘one sin leads to another’. 

The government wants to give self rule to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria regardless of the fact that this poses great danger, as attested to by all military experts. More so, they do not permit Jews to renovate the synagogue of Abraham the Patriarch because they are afraid of the Arabs, and have no shame in stating so.Similarly they do not want to interfere with the internal affairs of the Arabs. Only the Arabs benefit from this. The government of Israel comes and pats the Arab on his back and says to him: “You are our brother! Choose for yourself a leader and no one will mix into your affairs!” One sees the direct clash of these two issues– the synagogue of our Patriarch Abraham and the internal affairs of the Arabs, and no one utters a word of protest on this shocking situation! 

And as if this is not enough, they take soldiers who sacrifice themselves to protect our Holy Land and our Holy People, and make use of their self sacrifice to throw out Jews from the synagogue of Abraham our Patriarch in Hebron! Nevertheless, everyone is silent.  

                                                                                           Public talk Simchas Torah 1979

Fear of the Nations is holding back the Redemption!

 In this week’s Torah reading Balak, we are told that the Jewish People already stood on the banks of the Jordan River. All that remained was to cross the Jordan and enter into Eretz Israel. 

The very same is true of our time. We find ourselves at the final moments of the Exile, truly just before the Redemption. We must not be intimidated by the enticements and devious claims of the Nations and of Jews; it is imperative that we keep the Land intact. Due to their perverse and dishonest reasoning, they have not yet comprehended the truth, that the entire Land of Israel with all of her borders belongs to the entire Jewish People. 

Even according to international law, not one of them has the domination, the ability nor the right to enforce us to abandon parts of the Land of Israel. If this Jew imagines that by hiding the truth (regarding the connection of Eretz Israel to the Jewish People) he is fooling anybody, he should know that aside from himself he is not deceiving anyone. 

Already since the prophecy of Bilam, the nations of the entire world know that in the end of days the Land of Israel will belong to the Jewish People. They see without doubt that we find ourselves already at ‘End of Days’ by G-d performing open miracles in the Holy Land. Had we merited, the Exile would have ended and the true and final Geula would have begun after the victory of the Six Day War. 

Since however we have not merited, there have come along men of timid hearts, fearful-ones, who have an inferiority complex vis-à-vis the nations. They immediately sent a delegation to Washington to inform them of their preparedness to give back the conquered territories because they do not want to incite the ‘gentile’ (USA), rather, only to please them. This prevented the Redemption! In the meantime the multi-fold darkness of the Exile continues its path because these faint-hearted ones do not have the tenacity to hold on to the open gift G-d gave to them. They only have the strength to weaken the hearts of Jewish People as their own hearts are weak. G-d has bestowed on the Jewish people all the available strength. He has also given them the power to choose how to use it and not to be ashamed before those that mock. This was meant among Jewish People, how much more so not to be ashamed before gentiles that mock. ‘The Gentiles storm and plot’ all of which will come ‘to naught’. 

Instead, they use these G-d-given powers to weaken other Jews! The fear of the gentiles is the very factor which has prolonged this difficult and bitter Exile and the multi-fold darkness for so many years!  

                                                          Public address Moitzo’ei Shabbos Parshas Balak 1978

Do not tread on your brother’s blood

The Rabbis outside of Israel are doing nothing and raise no voice of protest that territories are being given away. When I ask them “Why?”

The Rebbe
They answer that they cannot do anything without a directive from Eretz Israel! When it is some other negative issue, they do make forceful statements. Yet when the issue is to take positive action, a protest to keep the Land intact [Shleimut Ha-aretz], they respond that they are unable to mix into matters pertaining to the Holy Land because there are many Rabbis in Israel. 

Their argument is incomprehensible: There is a negative command in Torah “Do not tread on the blood of your brother”! Also when your brother is not close by in the house, but in a distant place and in danger, the obligation is upon you to save him! 

They (the Rabbis) hear that the Israel government wishes to return the territories, thus posing a serious threat to life!  They choose to remain silent and do nothing but bury their face in the earth. The repercussions for this are most serious, as recounted in the Talmud [Tractate Shabbos 119.2]. As we have said earlier, such a path was already practiced in Egypt. Regardless of the fact that Moses proclaimed that the Geula has arrived, still Jewish People continued to bring Egyptians into their homes. Similarly now, Moses is saying that behold – Moshiach is coming, and yet, regardless, the Jewish leaders are intimidated and are running after the Nations and bringing in the enemy to be among the Jewish People G-d save us!! May it be the will of G-d that we merit the coming of Moshiach immediately in our time!  

                                                                                      Public talk Shabbos Parshat Bo 1976