13 Tamuz 5773
Parashat Balak – Israel alone, a precious blessing – Rabbi Meir Kahane
by Tzipora Liron-Pinner
“Behold! It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations.”(Num. 23:9)
[It is] G-d's decree that the Jewish People must remain apart, separate from the nations, so as to be cut off from their abominations, and their alien culture. Toward that end, G-d established for the Jewish People a special land of their own, the Land of Israel. There and there alone they would live lives of G-dliness and build a perfect state and society based on Torah and holiness.The concept of a Jewish People alone is tied to the concept that G-d is alone. G-d is alone and cannot be compared or equated to anything else. He is One and Unique, as it says (Deut. 4:35), “You are the ones who have been shown, so that you will know that the L-rd is G-d and there is none besides Him”; and, “To Him Who alone does great wonders” (Ps. 136:4).Just so, the Jewish People are alone, set apart from all the nations, as it says (Lev. 20:26), “I have separated you from the nations,” and, “It is a people that shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23:9).
Just as G-d stands apart from every concept in the world, so must Israel remain separate from all the other nations of the world. This is the intent of Ps. 148:13-14: “Let them praise the name of the L-rd, for His name alone is exalted... He has raised the honor of His People, the glory of His faithful followers, the Children of Israel, the nation close to Him. Praise the L-rd!”Although G-d is alone, and Israel are obligated to remain alone, they are still “the nation close to Him”. Between G-d and Israel there exists intimacy amidst total isolation.G-d is close to the nation set apart; ready to help them against every trouble and foe. As it says (Deut. 32:12), “G-d alone guided them. There was no alien power with Him”; and,“Israel shall thus dwell securely, alone” (Ibid., 33:28).He [G-d], alone, determines the fate of individuals, nations and kings, and we need not fear mortal man and his armies or being alone.
[As we find in Peirush HaMaccabee,] the Gentile sees physical greatness and might, and measures his chances of success accordingly. Balak, for example, told Balaam, Now, come and curse for me this nation, for it is mightier than me (Numbers 22:6). The Jew, however, knows that he is the fewest of all the nations (Deuteronomy 7:7) – yet he is exalted above all those nations if he is faithful to G-d’s covenant: Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand (Leviticus 26:8).Nonetheless, for those of no faith, or even of little faith, isolation is a frightening concept. Even observant and G-d fearing Jews are fearful of this concept. The person of weak faith longs for friends and allies, for help from strong nations against the surrounding dangers. Yet whoever relies on the non-Jew and his aid, and fears that without such aid the Jews and their land will be unable to survive, has been caught by lack of complete trust in G-d, bordering on denial of His existence. The individual Jew and the Jewish People as a whole will not be forgiven if they abandon their faith in G-d, the Supreme, Omnipotent King, Who rules over the world and over the nations. He, alone, is our salvation.Precisely this proves one's true faith and trust, for it is impossible that one who fears mortal man really believes in G-d. Real trust in G-d requires the Jew both to trust in Him and cast off all fear of mortal man and reliance on human aid.When one scorns the non-Jew's aid, this necessarily makes him trust in G-d. Conversely, as long as a Jew lifts his eyes in hope to the non-Jew and his aid, it is impossible that he will completely believe in the existence of G-d as a Supreme Power.
In conclusion, true bitachon (faith) means believing that G-d is all-powerful and is not impeded from saving the many or the few. It also means that if we obey G-d and His most difficult, ostensibly dangerous commands and mitzvot, no mortal power on earth can defeat us as a nation. Not only do we need not fear flesh and blood, but we are forbidden to lift our eyes to the nations and ask them for help.Whoever accepts this principle of bitachon unreservedly, truly believes that G-d is the One Supreme Power, G-d of heaven and earth. Whoever hesitates, whoever fears the non-Jew, shows that he questions G-d's ability to help His people. It is doubtful whether he completely believes in G-d as an Omnipotent Supreme Power.“It is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num. 32:9)The nations have no say regarding Israel's future. The non-Jew is only a tool in G-d's hands, as it says, “O Assyria, rod of My anger” (Isa. 10:5). That is, Assyria and the other nations are nothing but a tool in G-d's hand, a rod and a staff with which to smite anyone targeted by G-d's anger. Neither Assyria nor any kingdom or monarch can rule by themselves over others, or even over themselves, for indeed, “Like watercourses, the king's heart is in G-d's hand. He turns it whenever he desires” (Prov. 21:1). It thus says, “He shall drive the enemy before you and shall proclaim, 'Destroy!' Israel shall thus dwell securely, alone” (Deut. 33:27-28). Following is Or HaChaim (Ibid.):“Israel shall thus dwell securely”: When? When they are alone. “They shall dwell” naturally follows “He shall proclaim, 'Destroy!'” G-d commanded Israel to annihilate every soul of the inhabitants of the land. By doing so, “Israel shall dwell securely, alone”.
To our sorrow, those who try to pervert the separatist faith and trust of “a nation that shall dwell alone” (Num. 23:9) by claiming that it is forbidden to rile up the nations, and that the Jewish People, even when powerful, still depend on the nations, have no faith and distort the whole concept of trust in G-d. The Jew who believes and trusts in G-d, will arrive at truth and faith and tranquility, whereas he who trusts in man, in human strength, will arrive at falsehood and tragedy. This is because someone who trusts in G-d will attain the spiritual level of, “Israel shall thus dwell securely, alone” (Deut. 33:28); whereas someone who relies on his own arrogance or on the nations will arrive, G-d forbid, at, “How does the city sit alone” (Lam. 1:1).We must know and grasp this great principle, which is the key to speedy, magnificent redemption, without suffering or tragedy. A brilliant redemption, in which G-d's promise of “haste” (Isa. 60:22) is fulfilled, will come only when the Jewish People are alone, set apart, in isolation, and trusting fully in G-d to defeat our enemies.We must never forget the following great principle: Whoever relies on the non-Jew and seeks his aid, repels the Messiah, pushes off the redemption and brings upon us G-d's wrath and ire. Redemption will come only when Israel are alone, without any outside protection or help. Only when the nations see, with wonderment and mouth agape, how mighty and strong G-d is without help, will G-d's name be magnified and sanctified on earth. Then shall the vision be realized before the eyes of the nations that “The L-rd alone shall be exalted in that day”(Isa. 2:17).
Moreover, Israel , stubborn and insolent, will never believe that G-d is their Redeemer, so long as they have even one gentile nation standing at their side. Only when “the L-rd alone is exalted on that day,” only when Israel sees that “G-d, alone, will direct them” (Deut. 32:12), will Israel believe in G-d and in the Torah of Moses His servant. Indeed, this is how it will be: a nation alone with G-d alone, and both of them alone facing the whole world. Only in that manner will Israel's redemption come, and so to speak, of G-d, via, “Thus will I be magnified, sanctified and become known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the L-rd” (Ezek. 38:23).
[Source: Compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from “The Jewish Idea" and "Peirush HaMaccabee- Shemot" of Rav Meir Kahane, HY”D]