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January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
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The Battle for Eretz Yisrael, Then and Now

PASSOVER

עלינו לשבח לאדון הכל לתת גדולה ליוצר בראשית שלא עשנו כגויי הארצות ולא שמנו כמשפחות האדמה שלא שם חלקנו כהם וגורלנו ככל המונם שהם משתחווים להבל וריק ומתפללים אל אל לא יושיע.

It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to acclaim the greatness of the One who forms all creation. For God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us like the other families of the earth. God did not place us in their situations, and our destiny is not like theirs.

For they bow before vanity and emptiness and pray to a god that cannot save

Yehoshua Bin Nun spoke of the unfathomable differences between the Jewish nation and all others.

There is, I believe, little difference between the “nations of other lands, and… the other families of the Earth”. Basically, the Germans are not better or worse than the ancient Egyptians. Nor are they different than the Crusaders, who decimated hundreds of Jewish communities as they swept across Europe on their journey to liberate the Holy Land. And all together they are similar to the Cambodians who murdered 2 million of their own people, or the Belgiuns who murdered 1.5 million Africans in the Belgium Congo, or the Tutsis and Hutsis, or the Turks who murdered 1.5 million Armenians, or Stalin who admitted to murdering 30 million Russians in the 1930s, or the Serbs or the Japanese or the Croats, or the Moslems who are credited to murdering hundreds of millions since their inception as the religion of peace, or even the early Americans as they cleared the frontier of Indians on their way to realizing their manifest destiny.

For the ancient Egyptians, Paro did not need any more than to raise the specter of fear that the Jews were not loyal citizens and would join with the enemies of Egypt in any impending war. He used the jealousy of the Egyptians as his platform for evil.

For the peoples of Europe, Christianity served as the platform for their evils. Hitler did not have to dig very deep into the German and Austrian souls to reveal the cesspool of anti-Semitism, since they already believed that we killed their god. And the unholy Koran with its descriptions of the Jewish people and the ranting of their Imams, serve as their platform of hate towards the Jewish nation to this day.

In total contrast to the “nations of other lands, and… the other families of the Earth, our slavery experience in Egypt, in addition to our unique souls as descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov, served as the emotional, intellectual and religious platform in preparing the Jewish nation to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai.

These differences will be expressed in the near future, when we shall witness a total breakdown of civil law and order in the Western World. What happened in Darfur, in Southern Sudan, will be just a preliminary to what will happen in Europe and in North and South America when the frustration and anger reach the critical boiling point.

What will bring about the wrath of the merciful God who created the world? The Gemara (Avoda Zara 2b) states that all people will be measured by the manner in which they treated the Jewish nation, and our return to the Holy Land.

C: As stated above, Yehoshua Bin Nun composed the “Aleinu” upon entering Eretz’ Yisrael, or after the victory over Yericho. He did not compose it while still in the desert, after receiving the leadership of the nation at the death of Moshe.

I suggest that Yehoshua waited to enter the land before saying, “… For God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us like the other families of the earth”, to teach us that we and our destiny are different than that of the gentile nations only when we are in the land given to us by the Creator.

But, when a Jew chooses to live among the other nations and drink from the cup of their civilizations, than his destiny will be like theirs.

***

SPECIAL PESACH EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK “WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT”

Picture a frum family living in any one of the great Torah centers in the galut; they could even be your next door neighbors!

The home of Reb Sender and Mrs. Rayza is impeccable; the result of the great time and energy, not to speak of the money, which the expeditious and skillful ba’alat ha’bayit (woman of the house) has devoted to it.

The sofas and arm chairs in the sitting room, which look so inviting if not for the thick plastic covers which insure that the upholstery retains its “new” look.

The five-meter-long dining room table is covered with the finest Irish linen table cloth. In the middle of the table stands the imposing sterling silver candle sticks handed down from mother to daughter for generations. The china is the finest Rosenthal, with each plate delicately rounded off with a band of gold. The silverware has been put away in favor of golden ware in honor of the great night.

About the Author: Rabbi Nachman Kahana the spiritual leader of Hazon Yichezkeil a member synagogue of Young Israel (Yisrael Hatzair) in the Old City of Jerusalem. He has founded the Institute for Talmudic Commentaries (המכון להסברת מפרשי התלמוד) through which he has published “Mei Menuchot” (מי מנוחות - Restful Waters) a Hebrew elucidation of the Tosafot commentary on several tractates of the Talmud. He is the authror "With All Your Might" of a new series of Shabbat drashot .


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