01 January 2010

"Conclusion & Renewal"

BS"D


YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kreuser SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT VAYECHI
16 Tevet 5770/1-2 January 2010


CONCLUSION AND RENEWAL

This week sees the conclusion of the book of Genesis, and it also concludes the year 2009. In the conclusion of the book of Genesis we are given the promise of redemption, as the Torah says: "Joseph said to his brothers, I am about to die but G-d will surely remember you and bring you up out of this land to the land that He swore to you." At the conclusion of the year 2009, we find science promising us redemption, as they try to smash the atom and find the secret to creation, spending some 10 billion dollars on a machine on the French-Swiss border -that they just cannot seem to make work.

At the conclusion of the Book of Genesis, the Jews are settling down to their "good life" in Egypt, enjoying the theater, sport arenas, and movies just like the Egyptians. Yet there was something in the air which one could feel, a feeling of uneasiness was spreading throughout the land. One could not put his finger on it, but it was definitely there, some type of writing on the wall that only the few were able to see and understand; something was just not right, and who knew what was lurking right around the corner. Who in their wildest dreams could have envisioned that in a very short, while the Jews would be subjected to slavery and their male children killed in the first known holocaust to happen to the Jewish people?

At the conclusion of 2009, all is "Sababa" - well for the Jews in their "golden lands". All are enjoying the finest of "glatt kosher" restaurants, latest movies rolling out of Hollywood, and waiting to watch the big football game on Super Sunday. But wait - there is something in the air, something is just not right, although most cannot put their finger on it.

It's like a feeling that one gets as he closes his coat buttons right before a big storm approaches, and who knows what is lurking ahead for the "comfortable Jew"?

At the conclusion of the Book of Genesis, there arises a new (black) king in Egypt who did not know Joseph and all the good that he did for the Egyptians and their economy, and placed harsh decrees against them. In 2009 there arose a new (black) president in the land of who decreed new . . . .

In our parsha Joseph tells his brothers that G-d will "pakod yifkod" - remember you. Our rabbis ask why the Torah uses the word "pakod" twice - "pakod yifkod"? G-d was informing them of two visits - the first referred to the time of Moshe, and the second to the time of the future Redemption. The last Redemption will be like the first one. Just as the Jews did not want to be redeemed in Egypt and G-d had to take the Jews out with an outstretched hand - so, too, will be the case in the future Redemption.

In his book "Kol Hator" the Gra writes on the sentence "The remnants will be in Zion", that only in the Land of Israel will the escapees of the Jewish people be found, for only those who partake in the Redemption will be found. He worried about this greatly. My teacher, Rabbi Nachman Kahane, has said time and time again for all who want to listen, that the Land of Israel is like Noah's Ark, the safe haven for the Jewish people - one does not want to be caught outside!

The Midrash teaches us on the sentence, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, behold, your king comes to you. He is just and victorious, humble and riding upon a donkey", that G-d proclaims to all the righteous of every generation and says: "Righteous of the earth, although I need your Torah study, you have behaved poorly, for you awaited My Torah, but not My kingdom. I swear that I Myself shall testify positively on behalf of whoever awaits My kingdom. G-d laments over the righteous who hold on to the Torah, but who disregard His Kingdom in the Land of Israel and do not return.

For the Jew the conclusion is also a time for renewal - it is time, far past time, that the conclusion of the exile take place and and in its wake, the renewal of the Promised Land filled up with the Jewish people.

Blessings from Jerusalem.

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen