Thursday, October 06, 2005

Al Na Tastir Paneicha Mimeni, Beyom Tzar Li


This was the song sung by the people of Gush Katif as the expulsion was taking place in Neve Dekalim. The people gathered in the Shul and parts of the service from Yom Kippur davening were recited by the Rav. There was the declaration of Shma Yisroel and Hashem Hu Haelokim seven times. This service was then followed by the Bracha of a mourner, Baruch Dayan Haemes. This was followed by Kria (the tearing of the garment of a mourner). After Kria there was a heartrending painful crying out to Hashem not to hide His face - Al Na Tastir Paneicha Mimeni, Beyom Tzar Li - Please don't conceal Your Face on the day of my suffering!

In Parshat Vayelech it describes a painfully similar scenario. In Devarim Perek 31 Pasukim 17-18 it says "My anger will flare against it on that day and I will forsake them; and I will conceal My face from them and they will become prey, and many evils and distresses will encounter it. It will say on that day 'Is it not because my G-d is not in my midst that these evils have come upon me?' But I will surely have concealed My face on that day because of all the evil that it did, for it had turned to gods of others.

In the Stone Chumash commentary it says "These two verses begin with G-d's wrath and the concealment of His countenance because of Israel's sins. Then, after Israel acknowledges that its suffering was caused because G-d removed Himself from their midst - which would seem to be the sort of repentance that should inspire G-d's mercy - strangely, G-d says again that He will conceal Himself from them. In fact Rashi (Isaiah 8:17) says that this is the harshest of all prophecies; it is softened only by verse 21, which promises that, no matter what, the Torah will not be forgotten by Israel.

The question remains however: Why will G-d continue to conceal Himself after Israel has repented? Ramban explains that Israel's declaration of verse 17 falls short of genuine repentance, because even though they acknowledge their guilt, they are not ready to confess and repent wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, G-d will respond favorably, because verse 18 does not speak of new suffering; however, He will conceal Himself in the sense that He will not reveal the impending redemption, and Israel will have to have strong faith that G-d will never reject them entirely (see Leviticus 26:44) The complete redemption must await confession and complete repentance, as in 30:2.

On Rosh Hashana in shul we said in the Zichronos Vayikra 26 Pasuk (42) "Vezacharti as Brisi Yaakov, Veaf as Brisi Yitzchok, Veaf es Brisi Avraham Ezkor, Vehaaretz Ezkor". I will remember My Covenant with Jacob and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My Covenant with Abraham will I remember, and I will remember the Land. "

If you look in the Chumash in Vayikra following this Pasuk it says:
(43)The Land will be bereft of them; and it will be appeased for its sabbaticals having become desolate of them; and they must gain appeasement for their iniquity, because they were revolted by My ordinances and because their spirit rejected My decrees.

What was the covenant promised individually to each of our Forefathers? The Covenant of Yaakov is in Breishis Perek 28 Pasukim 13-16.

"And behold! Hashem was standing over him, and He said, "I am Hashem, G-d of Abraham your father and G-d of Isaac; the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it and to your descendants. Your offspring shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out powerfully westward, eastward, northward and southward; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and by your offspring. Behold. I am with you; I will guard you wherever you go, and I will return you to this soil; for I will not forsake you until I will have done what I have spoken about you."

The Covenant to Yitzchok is Breishis Perek 26 Pesukim 2-6.

"Hashem appeared to him and said, "Do not descend to Egypt; dwell in the land that I shall indicate to you. Sojourn in this land I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your offspring will I give all these lands, and establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father; I will increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens; and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your offspring. Because Abraham obeyed My voice, and observed My safeguards, My commandments, My decrees, and my Torahs.

The Covenant with Avraham is Breishis Perek 15 Pesukim 18-21.

On that day Hashem made a covenant with Abram saying; "To your descendants have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River, the Kennite, the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, and the Rephaim; the Amorite, the Cananite, the Girgashite and the Jebusite"

Then again in Parshas Lech Lecha before Hashem commands Avraham and his household to do Bris Mila (circumcision) Hashem says Perek 17, Pasuk 2 "I will set My covenant between Me and you and I will increase you most exceedingly". After Hashem changes Avrams name to Avraham He says Pasuk 7 "I will ratify My covenant between Me and you and between your offspring after you, throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant, to be a G-d to you and to your offspring after you, and I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojourns - the whole of the land of Canaan -as an everlasting possession; and I shall be a G-d to them." Then Hashem describes the covenant that Avraham should keep - the Bris Milah. Pasuk 13 "Thus, My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant."

In Parshas Vayera when Hashem decides to inform Avraham of his decision to wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah, Perek 18 Pasuk 18 "And Hashem said, 'Shall I conceal from Abraham what I do, now that Abraham is surely to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? For I have loved him, because he commands his children and the household after him that they keep the way of Hashem, doing charity and justice, in order that Hashem might then bring upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him."

Following the Akeida in Breishis 22 Pasuk 15 it says "The angel of Hashem called to Abraham, a second time from heaven. And he said, "By Myself I swear - the word of Hashem - that because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only one, that I shall surely bless you and greatly increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore; and your offspring shall inherit the gate of its enemy. And all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your offspring, because you have listened to My voice."

The Covenants and promises to the forefathers share some of the following points.
  1. Land is promised to them and to their children afterwards
  2. They will multiply as the dust or sand of the earth and as the stars
  3. The Nations of the world are blessed through them
  4. The children must keep the commandments in order to be worthy of the Land.

The Torah in Nitzavim Perek 29 Pasuk 23 says And all the nations will say, "For what reason did Hashem do so to this Land; why this wrathfulness of great anger?" (24)And they will say, "Because they forsook the Covenant of Hashem, the G-d of their forefathers, that He sealed with them when He took them out of the Land of Egypt, and they went and served the gods of others and prostrated themselves to them, gods that they knew not and He did not apportion to them. So G-d's anger flared against that Land to bring upon the entire curse that is written in this Book; and Hashem removed them from upon their soil with anger, with wrath, and with fury and He cast them to another land as this very day! The hidden[sins] are for Hashem, our G-d but the revealed [sins] are for us and our children forever, to carry out all the words of this Torah.

B"h we were not expelled by a foreign country. We were expelled in Gush Katif by our loving brothers. (Tears were flowing on both sides) We are not yet expelled out of our entire Land. We still have a chance of Teshuva. A chance to reclaim our Land. Let us delve into studying the Mitzvoth and may Hashem do as He promises at the end of this Parsha Perek 30 Pasukim 7-10
"Hashem, your G-d will place all these imprecations upon your enemies and those who hate you, who pursued you. You shall return and listen to the voice of Hashem, and perform all His commandments that I command you today. Hashem will make you abundant in all your handiwork - in the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your animals, and the fruit of your Land - for good, when Hashem will return to rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your forefathers, when you listen to the voice of Hashem your G-d, to observe His commandments and His decrees, that are written in this Book of the Torah, when you shall return to Hashem your G-d, with all your heart and all your soul.

The first step is to declare that Eretz Yisroel is promised as an inheritance to the seed of our forefathers. Let us lobby each and every Rav Chareidi, CHasidish, in Eretz Yisroel and in the Diaspora to proclaim the right of our inheritance. That must be a given. That is our Covenant. Without that given every other argument does not have a base to stand on. Was this done? This can be done. Lo Bashamayim Hi!

The second step is to emphasize that the Nations of the world will bless themselves through the Nation of Israel.

The third and most difficult step is to focus on the Mitzvoth such as Shemittah, Maaser Rishon , Maaser Sheni, Bikurim etc those Mitzvoth that are read during Hakhel (see blog on Hakhel).

May that day be eminent and may we all be zocheh to Moshiach speedily in our days.
Gmar Chasima Tova!
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