Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Chashmona / Chashmonaim

וַיִּסְעוּ, מִמִּתְקָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּחַשְׁמֹנָה
And they journeyed from Miskah, and pitched in Chashmonah.
וַיִּסְעוּ, מֵחַשְׁמֹנָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּמֹסֵרוֹת
And they journeyed from Chashmonah, and pitched in Moseros.

I don’t know who originally came to this realization, but I will relate it to you (someone suggested its from Maseches Shabbos 21b, but I haven’t had a chance to check) . There are naysayers who say that Chanuka is an unimportant holiday and has no basis in our Holy Torah. However amongst many other connections is this :

In Bamidbar 33 (Parshas Massey), it lists the many places that Bnei Yisroel encamped following Yetzias Mitzraim [the exodus from Egypt]. The 25th place they rested was named as Chashmona (33:29-30). As we all know ChanuKa, is the compounding of Chanu, they rested, and Ka [Kaf Hey] 25. For on the 25th day of Kislev the Maccabees/Chashmonaim [the priestly family who fought against the Hellenists ] rested from their enemies. So the 25th place Bnei Yisroel rested was named Chashmona, and the Chashmonaim rested on the 25th. The correlation is beautiful and simple.

I hope you enjoyed that small morsel, we must always remember that the significance of this holiday is the spiritual victory not the military one. In our day and age the Hellenists that we must not succumb to is the pervasive, and corruptive influences of western society. We all must search for that metaphorical bit of pure oil within ourselves and set it aflame so that it may burn until we are redeemed. If every day of Creation is equal to one millennium and the seventh millennium is the inevitable age of Moshiach, then the message of oil lasting for eight days is that we are granted a hidden stock of purity that we can magnify regardless of circumstance and it will last all the way through to Acharis HaYamim.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Gerritsen Creek - Brooklyn

Shimshon HaGibor

The story of Shimshon HaGibor in Shoftim has many parallels to the recent events in Azza [Gaza] with the expulsion of thousands of Jews from their homes. Often there are many connections that one can make between our early history as a nation and our current realities. We should seek to learn the lessons of our past, as well as seeing them as consoling guides to our future.

“for the child shall be a Nazir unto HaShem from the womb; and he shall begin to save Yisrael out of the hand of the Plishtim.”(Shoftim 13:5)

Residents of Gaza were unblemished children for HaShem coming forth from the womb of Religious Zionism and began the process through which we will be saved in Yisrael from our enemies.

“ Then Manoah entreated the HaShem, and said: 'Oh, Lord, I pray Thee, let the man of HaShem whom Thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.” (13:8)

And when Gaza was liberated the leaders sought guidance of HaShem’s directive and felt encouraged by His Torah (the ultimate teacher) that religious communities should be built (Atzmona, Bedolah, Gadid, Ganei Tal, Gan Or, Katif, Kfar Darom, Morag, Netzarim, Netzer Hazani, and Neve Dekalim).

“ And the Malach of HaShem said unto Manoah: 'Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread; and if thou wilt make ready a burnt-offering, thou must offer it unto HaShem.' For Manoah knew not that he was the Malach of HaShem.” (13.16)

The leaders did not entirely know that they were dealing with the forces of HaShem in establishing a Jewish presence in Azza and that a sacrifice would be made in His Name, that the community would be dismantled al kiddush hashem

“Manoah said unto his wife: 'We shall surely die, because we have seen HaShem.'
But his wife said unto him: 'If HaShem were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt-offering and a meal-offering at our hand.” (13:22,23)

They were both correct, the Jewish community of Azza would cease to exist because in heeding HaShem’s will they have seen Him, while not understanding His plans. He recieved the community initially, a necessary circumstance in order to fulfill his will.

“'Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Plishtim?” (14:3)

The residents unfortunately had to make use of arab workers instead of toiling in entirety with the Avoda coming of the hands of our Holy Nation.

“ But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD”(14:4)

People did not understand that this as is everything is ultimately in HaShems hands and is guiding us.

“And he scraped it out into his hands, and went on, eating as he went, and he came to his father and mother, and gave unto them, and they did eat; but he told them not that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.”(14.9)

This sacrifice being made by the community of Azza on the front line against the arabs renting them that roar like lions but fall as kid-goats yielded honey, rich sustenance for Religious Zionists but they did not truly know how it was being provided.

After Shimshon posed a riddle to the Plishtim wagering his possesions, they illicitly gained the answer through coercion.
“And he said unto them: If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.”(14.18)

The arabs deal deceitfully and use our language of Shelaima, peacefulness to gain what is rightfully ours.

“And when he had set the torches on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Plishtim, and burnt up both the shocks and the standing corn, and also the oliveyards.” (15.5)

For when the arabs gain the land through deciet the hand of HaShem does not allow for their land to be blessed as the arabs now once again call Azza cursed land [in Gerara] being unable to bring forth cultivated crops.

“And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.”(15:6)

Arabs will kill their own brothers and sisters if they even suspect them to be complicit in helping the nation of HaShem The PA even has units dedicated to this task called the mukhabarat and istikhbarat, they will often murder these people in the streets to allegedly serve as a warning to others.

“And Samson said unto them: 'Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.'
And they spoke unto him, saying: 'No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand; but surely we will not kill thee.'” (15:12-13)

Just as the residents of Azza beseeched their brothers that they should not be the ones who perpetrate such heinous actions just as the Arabs would but they continued to uproot holy communities and set them before our enemies nonetheless.

“When he came unto Lehi, the Plishtim shouted as they met him; and the spirit of HaShem came mightily upon him, and the ropes that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands dropped from off his hands.”(15:14)

We will merit seeing a future when even the bindings of our own brothers will not prevent HaShem from setting us free and avenging that which is ours.

After the deciept that had allowed them to capture shimshon
“And the lords of the Plishtim gathered them together to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice; for they said: 'Our god hath delivered Shimshon our enemy into our hand.'” (16.23 )

Just as the arabs rejoiced in the streets after the expulsion of the inhabitants of Azza proclaiming allahu akbar.

“And Shimshon called unto HaShem, and said: 'O HaShem, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O HaShem, that I may be this once avenged of the Plishtim for my two eyes.'” (16:28)

And we will come to realize that by following our straying eyes instead of that which is inscribed on our hearts, by appeasing the arabs through the folly of democracy we had erred, and will ask HaShem to redeem us .

“And Shimshon took fast hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house rested, and leaned upon them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left.
And Shimshon said: 'Let me die with the Plishtim.' And he bent with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead that he slew at his death were more than they that he slew in his life.” (16:29-30)

And so the residents of Azza through their self sacrifice and personal communal annihilation will merit to be the ones that began the process of bringing down the foreign temple built on the pillars of appeasement and vain democracy.

It is very unfortunate that the residents of Azza have been expelled from their homes, however we all know the righteous adage repeated by Rav Nachum ish Gamzu of Gam Zu LeTovah - that this too is for the best. We do not fully understand HaShem’s ways as they are infinite and we are mere mortals however we know that as HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook suggests, the process of Geulah, Redemption is an evolutionary one. It comes slowly through what appear to be natural social means inching closer and closer to a better world. We know that it is impossible to completely fathom HaShem’s ways ("Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world? Tell, if you know the understanding!"Iyov 38:3) but we also know Derache'cha darchei noam, her ways are ways of pleasantness (Mishlei 3:17). May we merit soon being able to perceive how these events were ultimately for our good.