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Devar Torah - Mikeitz

Thursday, 29 December, 2016 - 11:00 am

The Truth:
Eretz Yisroel was given by Hashem Echod
to the Jewish People who are Am Echod!
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

A Freilichin Chanukah!  This year on Erev Chanukah the world proclaimed at the UN that the Western wall has no inherent sanctity nor does it belong to the Jewish people, rather it is occupied Palestinian territory. As in the times of Antiochus this wasn’t only a physical struggle, it was mainly a spiritual battle over kedusha, a struggle about our identity and purpose, the struggle of the soul of the Jewish people and the Torah. 

In those days the Greeks didn’t care about learning the Torah per se, what they would not allow was if it was learned because it was the Torah of Hashem. To say that a mitzvah is divine and that it is the will of Hashem was the problem the Greeks had with the Jews.

Today this struggle has repeated itself. They are trying to forbid us from proclaiming that Eretz Yisroel and Jerusalem are holy places and that Har HaBayis is the place of the Beis HaMikdash. They are doing their best to tell us how we must live.

When we had Jerusalem and the Beis HaMikdash the Greeks tried their best to mandate how we should live and how to practice Judaism. The greatest possible form of galus is not when we have been banished from our land.  It is when we were on our land with our Torah in the place of the Mikdash, and there we were being forced and pressured to give up; this is the darkest form of galus. Chanukah teaches us to have bitachon in Hashem and to live with it.  We take our strength from Hashem; from Him we take our cues and never from world opinion.  By speaking clearly with the resolve backed with our bitachon in Hashem and His Torah we will succeed.

The message from Chanukah and from current events is relevant in our personal lives as well. Sometimes we think it’s better to give in a little here and there, after all this isn’t the shtetl. This week taught us that when we run after acceptance, more often than not it comes to stab us in the back, or in the front. Also when we stand strong we prevent these things from happening in the first place.

Rabbi Alter Ben-Tzion Metzger told a story about a trip he took to Russia in the years before perestroika. One morning while in a Shul as they were taking out the Sefer Torah, he took notice of particular Jew. (In the prayer of ‘Baruch Shmei’ which is recited by the opening of the Holy Ark it states: “I do not put my trust in man, nor do I place my reliance on an angel, but only in the G-d of heaven who is the true (in Hebrew ‘k’shoit’) G-d, who’s Torah is truth (k’shoit), whose prophets are true (k’shoit), and who performs numerous deeds of goodness and truth (k’shoit). I put my trust in Him, and I utter praises to His holy and glorious Name.”) As this man recited the ‘Baruch Shmei’ passage every time he reached the word ‘k’shoit’ he said that word very loud; with a lot of passion. Rabbi Metzger wasn’t able to say anything to the man due to the dangers of spies planted everywhere.  If he said anything to anyone he could cause him harm. Nevertheless he felt the man had a message he was trying to express, so as the man was leaving the Shul he said him: “k’shoit!” The man turned and said “At least one person here understands”. Rabbi Metzger understood him to be saying that we live in a world full of falseness and lies. What is real (true)? The G-d of heaven is true (k’shoit), His Torah is truth (k’shoit), and His prophets are true (k’shoit).We keep this in mind and by remembering these things; that The G-d of heaven is true (k’shoit), His Torah is truth (k’shoit); His prophets are true (k’shoit) that the Rebbe is true and that Chassidus is true, we are able to live truthfully. Living truthfully means to live without compromising the truth, right down to the small details. When we live with the truth we are able to overcome all difficulties because the candle of the mitzvos, and the light of the Torah guide us.

When we look back over all the words of truth the Rebbe spoke with regard to Eretz Yisroel (“His prophets are true”) we now can clearly see that had we followed then, we would be in a different, and much better position today. The Rebbe said over and over that peace couldn’t be achieved through giving away land or dismantling settlements (this would include to never to speak about a two state solution). He also said that even the discussion of giving away land is a sign of weakness and causes harm. After Secretary of State Kerry’s terrible remarks this last week, pundits defend his words by saying that Jews in Israel also agree with giving away the land and also state that it’s occupied Palestinian territory. Had we stood strong in the beginning and spoken in unison notwithstanding all the world’s pressure, the truth as the Rebbe told us, that Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Jews because Hashem gave it to us and not because of the Balfour Declaration or any statement of the UN, the world would have come to it’s senses by now. In the meanwhile they use our agreement with them against us. The Maccabees, who were true, also saw into the future. They saw that if we dismantle any part of Judaism, they would try to dismantle all of it all in the end (which is what the Greeks tried to do).

The shemen, the oil of the Torah is what gives us the strength hold on and to remain strong. It gives us the ability to see beyond the horizon, to see past the golus and to see the beginning of Moshiach, a time where the whole world will serve Hashem as one community.

A Good Shabbos, A Good Chodesh and a Freilichin Chanukah!

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