Repentance as a Nation: The Key to Redemption
"If you follow My statutes... I will bring peace in the Land... and if you do not listen to Me... I will bring upon you disaster" (Lev. 26:14, 16)
The Torah is Israel's strength. When they guard it, G‑d strengthens them to overcome the nations, and only through that strength do the nations recognize Israel's might and submit to them peacefully. Now,... dear friend, heed a great principle for our age, when the Messiah's footsteps are so near. Place it over your eyes and heart – perhaps G‑d will have mercy. The period in which Gog goes forth to war against Israel will be a terrible time of fear and dread on earth. If Israel are unworthy of redemption "in haste", redemption devoid of terrible Messianic birth pangs, G‑d in His great mercy, will try to delay, so as to avoid bringing the world redemption " in its time". Like a merciful father, G‑d extends His deadline again and again in hopes of His children repenting and returning to Him, so that He, in turn, can return to them instantaneously, in glory and majesty.
Ponder my words well. Perhaps they will influence your emotions and understanding, dear reader, to hurry and cry out to our people, to tell them how to save themselves from awful, avoidable suffering. G‑d said, "Oh that my people would hearken to Me and Israel walk in My ways – I would soon subdue their enemies" (Ps. 81:14-15). I have already explained that if Israel would only listen to G‑d, He would bring redemption literally in a moment, for He is ready to take revenge on Gog and the nations instantaneously. G‑d also said, "Oh that you had hearkened to My mitzvot! Your peace would then be like a river" (Isaiah 48:18) Avodah Zarah 5a teaches, "If only [hebr. 'im'] you would follow My statutes (Lev. 26:3): 'Im' can only connote supplication. It thus says, "Oh that My people would hearken to Me" and, "Oh that you had hearkened to My mitzvot!" G‑d entreats Israel, so to speak, to repent and do acts of self-sacrifice, for only this will prove their faith and trust in G‑d – and through such acts G‑d will hasten redemption.Our sages said (Torat Kohanim, Bechukotai, Parsheta 1): "If only you would follow My statutes": This teaches that G‑d yearns for Israel to toil in Torah. It likewise says, "Oh that My people would hearken to Me"; "Oh that you had hearkened to My mitzvot!" and, "If only their hearts would remain this way, in awe of Me... for all time, so that it would go well with them and their children forever" (Deut. 5:26).
These verses surely refer to mitzvah observance, yet to bring redemption much more is required. The source continues: "If only you would follow My statutes": Might this refer to mitzvah observance? When the verse adds, "And be careful to keep My mitzvot" (Lev. 26:3), that connotes mitzvah observance. What then am I to learn from the first part of the verse? That we must toil in Torah.We learn a major principle here. G‑d does not suffice with mere mitzvah observance. Rather, He demands toil, hard labor, even psychological grief. He demands that we keep the difficult mitzvot which require faith and trust in G‑d. Generally, these are the chukim, the statutes, which are hard to fathom and which oppose the will of man, who is ensnared by his weak, limited intellect. G‑d says, "If you would only follow My statutes." If we follow the ways of the Torah, even regarding the difficult chukim; if we do not just study them mechanically but engage in difficult, discouraging toil, in faith and trust in G‑d, which is what G‑d yearns for, then He will bring redemption instantaneously.
G‑d fiercely longs to sanctify His name, profaned daily by the nations, but He demands that Israel sanctify His name first through complete and perfect faith and trust in G‑d. They must take hold of dangerous, frightening mitzvot which leave them isolated and alone, with the nations opposing them, for only this can prove their real trust in Him. Then, when they have sanctified His name in this way, He will go forth in His wrathful revenge against the nations who profane His name, and will thereby save both Israel and Himself, so to speak.
Thus, complete and perfect deeds of trust in G‑d sanctify His name, blot out the terrible chilul Hashem inherently associated with fear of the nations, and pave the way for majestic redemption "in haste". What, then, are these deeds? I shall enumerate them, dear friend, and you should engrave them on your hearts and proclaim them loudly in the streets to the Jewish People, before G‑d's great and awesome punishment visits us, Heaven forbid!
Those Jews who dwell in the impure exile, thereby scorning the Pleasant Land and its holiness, profane G‑d's name by their very habitation under the yoke and sovereignty of the nations. Through their dependency on the nations, they transform them and their false religion to masters over Israel, to whom Israel must lift their eyes. G‑d will not bear this chilul Hashem. He will not tolerate the assimilation and the influence of the alien culture on Israel. These destroy their souls and introduce foreign thoughts into the Jewish People and their Torah. This conquest of Jewish bodies and souls is a chilul Hashem, and also prevents the Jewish People from being a chosen, special people who dwell alone in their holy, special land. G‑d, therefore, decreed that Israel had to leave Egypt and go up to Eretz Yisrael, and that otherwise, it would be their burial place.The first exile is an omen for the last. G‑d will not give in regarding Israel's scorning the Land. When it comes time for G‑d to punish the nations for their sins, raining down upon them His wrath, He will "turn their hearts to hate His people, to scheme against His servants" (Ps. 105:25). All this will be in addition to the tragedy He will unleash upon all Jews who live among the nations, when He takes revenge on the nations for all their sins through the collapse of lands and peoples. G‑d's liquidating the exile through Israel's leaving it and going up to Eretz Yisrael is a major part of His removing the chilul Hashem and sanctifying His name.
The impoverished regime, whose conception and birth occurred in the alien culture of the nations, and who denies the Torah of Moses, has refused to apply the authority and sovereignty of the people and G‑d of Israel upon all parts of Eretz Yisrael for fear of the nations. This constitutes a chilul Hashem, a rebellion against and degradation of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael, large parts of which have remained under the control of the nations. A condition for complete redemption through Kiddush Hashem is control and sovereignty of the G‑d and of the people of Israel over all portions of Eretz Yisrael in our hands.
For many hundreds of years, Jews lifted their eyes to the Holy Temple, about which was decreed, "Any alien who comes near shall die" (Num. 18:7). Here was the Holy of Holies where only the Kohen Gadol could enter once a year. The presence at this site of impure Ishmaelite heathens who wholeheartedly hate the Jewish People is blasphemy. The impoverished regime is handing over to the impure Ishmaelites ownership and authority over the Temple Mount and simultaneously preventing G‑d's people, Israel, from ascending to the permissible places. Let all ears be spared hearing about this! For this shall Zion sit in sackcloth, in somber mourning. Could any chilul Hashem be more severe, more degrading? What can one say, knowing that the cause of all this is the heretics' fear of the nations and absolute lack of trust in G‑d? Israel are turning the Divine blessing and kindness associated with the beginning of redemption, which are a Kiddush Hashem, into an unprecedented nightmare, a sordid, abominable chilul Hashem. G‑d's wrath looms over us, and woe to the insult to our holy mountain! We bear a holy duty to remove the cursed Ishmaelites from the site of our Temple and to remove the disgrace of their mosques which daily anger G‑d, if we hope to save our souls from the day of wrath.
The call of the hour is to "drive out all the Land's inhabitants" (Num. 33:52). Woe to us for having dealt treacherously with the Land and it's owner, G‑d! Through our fear of the nations, we have refused to conquer the Land by banishing the enemies and revilers of Israel, the lowly Ishmaelites. How much innocent blood has been spilled in the Holy Land through murderers being allowed to remain in it! G‑d is imploring us, His beloved, chosen sons, to agree to accept what He desires to give us. The Messiah is knocking at our door, his footsteps can be heard in the streets, and the voice of the G‑d of Israel calls: "Return to Me – the word of the L-rd of hosts – and I will return to you" (Zechariah 1:3). Hasten! Hurry! In glory! Today! At this very moment! "Today, if you hearken to His voice!" (Ps. 95:7). Yet if, G‑d forbid, we miss our chance, and the moment arrives from which there is no turning back; if, Heaven forbid, G‑d brings the last stage of redemption "in its time", with Messianic birth pangs and tragedies the likes of which we have never known, then it will come, suddenly, out of the blue.
This is the choice, the only choice. All the rest is worthless and of no avail. Time is running out. The decision is in our hands.
[ Rabbi Meir Kahane | Barbara Sandra Ginsberg ]