19 November 2009

R Levi Hazan Parsha Commentary

4 Kislev 5770/20-21 November 2009


"This is very grave, very grave indeed", said the President as his voice echoed throughout the rose garden. "Get me Hillary at 'State' at once", and a moment latter Ms. Clinton was on the line. "Yes, Mr. President", said a very tired Clinton at 3 AM. "We have a 'situation' Hillary", said the President, "the CIA has just informed me that MK Michael Ben-Ari will be delivering a speech in the Israeli Knesset in just a few short hours on the life and times of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane." "Ahh", said a stunned Ms. Clinton, "this is very grave indeed, we must stop him at all cost." "But how?" asked the President, "you know these people, they are not like the rest of them, they do not listen to us." "I know", said the Secretary of State, and after a moment she said, "Let's call Rivlin over at the Israeli House and have him stop Ben-Ari." "Great", said the President, and now, for the first time in over an hour since he heard the report his hands stopped shaking. Get-it-done Hil!

And later that morning: “Rivlin, this is special envoy Mitchell here”. Wow, said Rivlin to himself, George Mitchell himself actually calling me, I must be important. "W-w-w-what can I do for you, sir?" said a shocked Rivlin. "Well," said Mitchell, "we have a problem here. You see, MK Ben-Ari is scheduled to speak today in the Knesset about Rabbi Kahane, and I don’t have to tell you how this can derail the peace talks." "Oh," said Rivlin, finally understanding the gravity of the situation. "Tell the President that I will take care of it." "The President will not forget this", said
Mitchell, hanging up, "and maybe you will receive the next Nobel Prize for your help."

In this week's parsha we are introduced to the character of brother Esau selling his birthright for a pot of soup, hunting, killing, adultery, just to name some of his nicer traits. These and more the Jewish people have felt on their bodies for the past 2000 years, while we were guests in the home of Esau's descendents. But at the end of the day, Esau claims that he did it all out of brotherly love, with the best intentions.

Esau was given the task by Isaac to rebuke and bring Jacob back to the right path when he strayed, as the Torah tell us: “By your sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve, yet it shall be that when you will be aggrieved you may remove his yoke from upon your neck.” But Esau and his descendents went beyond the call of duty - way beyond. As the Tanchuma teaches us" “In the world to come G-d will sit in judgment over the kingdom of Edom (Esau) and ask them: Why did you subjugate My children? They will reply: Was it not You who delivered them into our hands? G-d will then say I delivered them into your hands, but you showed them no mercy. As the prophet tell us: “Upon the aged have you very heavily laid your stroke.”

Another cunning response by Esau is brought down by the Talmud. In the future G-d will ask Edom: How did you occupy yourselves? They will reply: Master of the universe, we established many marketplaces, built many bathhouses and amassed much silver and gold, all just for Israel so they would study Torah. G-d will retort: Fools, everything you did, you did for your own sakes. You established marketplaces to set harlots in them, bathhouses to pleasure yourselves. As for silver and gold, they are Mine.

Daily we say in our prayer books: “The saviors will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom will be Hashem's.” The day is not far off when judgment on brother Esau will take place for all of his deeds against Jacob, and then the words of the prophet Obadiah will be fulfilled:“The House of Jacob will be fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for straw, and they will ignite them and devour them. There will be no survivor in the house of Esau, for Hashem has spoken.”

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen