14 February 2008

Can The Erev Rav Be "Fixed"?

I regret that the nature of blogging prevents anything more than the briefest of treatments of this subject. My hope is that something here will spark your interest to learn more in-depth from the sources.

In response to the previous post, a commenter writes:
"...that is davka one of our hardest tasks in this last generation: fixing the Erev Rav...."
I completely disagree. I reject this entire line of thought. This is precisely what has brought upon us all the trials and troubles of 3,500 years.
...Moshe Rabbeinu... because of the "Erev Rav" came to make mistakes. (Yahel Ohr, commentary on Zohar 1:28: beginning with uMoshe b'gineihu.)
All the exile, the destruction of the Temple and all the troubles - it all results from Moshe Rabbeinu having accepted the Erev Rav. (The Gaon on Tikkunei HaZohar 97, beginning v'aleihu.)
Avraham Avinu made this error with regard to Yishmael. What did Sara Imeinu do? She insisted that Yishmael must be separated from Yitzchak by being exiled from his father's home (and Hashem agreed). Yitzchak Avinu made this error concerning Eisav. What did Rivka Imeinu do? She insisted that Yaakov must be separated from Eisav and the result was that Yaakov had to endure exile from his home. (Also, Shomo HaMelekh repeated this mistake with his foreign wives.)

It is davka in a process of redemption in its time, which is exactly where we are at present, that we have no hope to rectify this klipa. Instead of unification, we need separation. And the faster we separate, the more quickly we will be redeemed. R. Hillel of Shiklov in the name of the GR"A paints an entirely different picture of what our relationship to the Erev Rav should be in these final days and hours of exile:
The general role of two Messiahs, the messiah son of Yosef and the messiah son of Dovid, throughout the generations is one of defense and war against the three leading husks - Eisav, Yishmael and Erev Rav... The Erev Rav is our greatest foe, he is what separates the two Messiahs, The Erev Rav husk operates only by deceit and indirectly. Therefore the war against the Erev Rav is the most difficult and most bitter, and we must use all our remaining forces to win this war. Whoever is not engaged in actively fighting the Erev Rav becomes an automatic partner to the husk of the Erev Rav, and whoever this may be it would be better for him had he not been created. (Kol HaTor, chapter II, part II, section II)
Lot's story might have had a happier ending had he moved to Sodom and influenced all the Sodomites to become Bnei Noach, but instead he was fortunate to escape with his own life and two daughters. Disaster was just barely held back as he was urged to separate himself from Sodom so that he would not share in their destruction. Lot's wife was still too attached to the Sodomite reality. Although she merited to escape Sodom, when she glanced back, she in essence fell back into the vale of destruction, weighted as she was with desire for that life, and did not merit to ascend the mountain with her husband and daughters.

It is each individual's job to rectify himself, no one can do it on his behalf and no one can force him to do it. When it becomes clear that one belongs to this camp---to the Erev Rav--- we must immediately erect a barrier between us and warn others away from him. He is a danger and a destroyer. Only with true and complete teshuva can one be rectified.
...there is a fourth kind: and they have mingled (in Hebrew, Vayitarvu, related to the term Erev Rav) with the nations and learned from their deeds - these are themselves Jews who adhered to the Erev Rav and became like them...and this fourth kind is the most difficult of them all, and they are our brothers who have soured - (Imre Noam, his commentary to B'rakhot 54)
It is not our job to determine who is who. Only Hashem can judge the heart. What we can do - and what we must do - is separate from and oppose whomever exhibits Erev Rav behavior, whether they be actual Erev Rav or "brothers who have soured".

When these "brothers" do teshuvah, we will quickly welcome them back among us once again.