Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Serious Purim Dvar Torah by Mike Guzofsky. Milchemet Mitzva, Pidyon Shvuyim

This letter is not only a Dvar Torah. If you read till the end you will see it  also has personal relevance to a man, Yekutiel ben Yaakov, aka  Mike Guzofsky, that is scheduled to being sentenced on March 25th for his activism in raising awareness that this is a Milchemet Mitzvah and we are obligated to fight our enemies that wish to destroy us.  There is a Mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim, but the writer goes beyond his own personal threat to freedom and desires that we address and validate his cry that we go as a Nation and literally fight our enemies as per the Mitzva of fighting Amalek.  Is Hamas, Fatah, Hizbollah on the same plane as Amalek?  Their roots show  alliance and allegiance with Nazi Germany. Their ideology is no different than Nazi Germany.  By nature, the Jewish people do not like to fight and kill.  It is abhorrent to our very nature.  Yet this is a mitzva that we must do in spite of our Nature.  Hashem Oz LAmo Yiten Hashem Yevarech es Amo Bashalom! 
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A day does not pass without us being reminded that there is no possibility to achieve peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and that we must decide: "us or them!" G-d willing, we will review here some basic questions and answers from contemporary Torah sources that will all lead us to the above conclusion and to the rationale behind this assertion. In truth, if Israel's short history is not sufficient evidence that there exists no relevant "peace partner" with whom Israel could talk peace, it is hardly likely that sources and logic will play a role in proving this to the "blind Hebrews". However, there are far too many Jewish lives at stake to free ourselves of the monumental task to attempt persuading even those Jews who still prefer sacrificing themselves, their homeland and their children on the altar of the false peace Gods such as "Oslo", "Annapolis" and "The Roadmap".
Is there logic to support the determination of the Ramban and others who state that the mitzvah of living in the land obligates us to be the sole and exclusive rulers in Eretz Israel? (Additions to Ramban's positive commandments 4)
The Torah declares (Bamidbar 33:55) "If you do not inherit the land from them, the ones who remain will be thorns in your eyes.." Rashi explains on the preceding verse, "Inherit the land and settle therein" – Inherit the land - Disinherit its inhabitants, and dwell therein – and then you shall be able to dwell there, if not, you will not be able to survive there."  Must this be the case – is there no hope of reconciliation, where we can all live together in peace and in harmony?
The Gemarah (Megillah 11A) and the Midrash (Intro to Esther Rabbah 7) brings down the view of R' Levi who summarizes the whole holiday of Purim and the entire Book of Esther with the verse in Bamidbar 33: "If you do not inherit the land…" What is the connection? That verse is referring to conquering and settling the land of Israel, whereas the story of  Purim is unfolding in the Exile, in Persia?
The Book of Esther (9: 26) informs us that the source for "Purim" being the name of the holiday is based on the fact that lots were drawn to determine the day slated by Haman and Ahashverosh for the annihilation of the Jews which was to be the 13th of Adar. The word used to describe the lottery is "pur". Why then do we refer to Purim in the plural, we should be celebrating "Pur" the singular use of the word in reference to the "Pur"?
If we review the story of Purim closely we will learn that Ahashverosh already signed on Haman's proposal of a "final solution" to annihilate all Jews at their meeting on the 13th of Nissan, Erev Pesach. In other words, the decree was passed down 11 months before it was to be implemented. Mordecai then warns Esther, and she calls for a three-day-fast which was held 13, 14, and 15 of Nissan. On the third day, she risks entering Ahashverosh's chambers in the palace, inviting Haman and Ahashverosh to a festive party on the 15th of Nissan. There she says to Ahashverosh, "come tomorrow and I will do as the king instructs." On the eve of the16th of Nissan, Ahashverosh could not sleep, and he is reminded of the incident when Mordecai rescued him. It is on the 16th of Nissan when Mordecai is dressed in his Majesty's garb and given the honorable display by none other than Haman - who is given the task, to parade Mordecai through town, while Mordecai rides atop the king's horse and Haman, walks leading the horse to honor Mordecai. Immediately following the tour through metropolitan Shushan, on the first day of Hol Hamoed Pesach, Haman is hung. Haman remains hanging for 11 months, until the Jews were given license by the king to take revenge against all of those who wished to harm them. The Jews kill 75,000 of their enemies and the ten sons of Haman.
In other words, Haman was killed 11 moths before the decree to kill the Jews was rescinded. While Mordecai was given Haman's house in Nissan, it was not until close to one year later when the Jews are able to celebrate their victory. Esther spent 70 days until the 23rd day of Sivan, to no avail, beseeching the king to rescind Haman's evil decree. The king is still dead set on annihilating the Jews. What was Esther's mistake? Why was she still as of yet unable to abolish the wacko decree left behind from the now deceased Haman?
Rav Shmuel Eliyahu offers the following answer: The story is told in the Zohar (Zohar Tosfot 304) Rabbi Elazar, son of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai was standing with friends in the field when he saw a dangerous snake that was about to pounce on a Jew. Rav Elazar approached the snake and told him that the Jew who he is going to bite has already repented and is no longer deserving of his death-bite. The snake stopped in his tracks, but refused to leave the area, still posing a clear threat. Rav Eliezer then repeated his words over and again to the snake who still refused to leave. It was only then, when Rabbi Elazar realized what his mistake was. "I know what you want, return to your cave, where you will find an evil gentile who has caused tragedy to Jews, go and bite him!" The snake quickly followed Rabbi Elazar's dictate and went to bite and kill the evil gentile.
Rabbi Elazar then went to explain to his friends this strange discourse with the snake, explaining that a decree can not be rescinded "on empty" without being given an alternative direction and recipient to receive that end verdict.
Rav Eliyahu explains the connection to Esther: What took Rav Elazar three times to realize, also took some time for Esther to understand. You can't nullify a decree "on empty". The decree is rescinded only after Esther requests to annihilate and destroy those who oppress us. Then, and only then, is her request simply granted.
Rabbi Eliyahu wrote those prophetic words on the eve of the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and in the Shomron. He added, "Perhaps the best way to fight the expulsion order is to redirect it agains the evil gentiles…we must learn to state our case with clarity from Esther. This will draw an end to the needless bloodshed on both sides that has been going on for too long."
The time has come to understand that there is no such thing as an empty void or vacuum in this world. Israel is not an empty area open to absorb all. Eretz Israel does not belong to us and to them. There is no hope of coexistence with two nations dwelling on the same tiny parcel of land. As Rashi explains, we will never be successful in settling the land with peace and security as long as they are here. It is only with this mindset that we will be able to overcome the decrees and challenges placed by Ishmael as well as those decreed by our own government. As long as the modern day Amelekites remain in our midst we will not achieve peace or security. And this explains Rabbi Levi's use of the verse referring to disinheriting the inhabitants of the land to summarize the essence and lesson of Purim. While the verse is speaking of all of the inhabitants of the land and not necessarily Amalek, the principle remains the same. One can not expect to live in peace and harmony with those who seek to destroy them. One needs to internalize the need to destroy their enemies before they destroy them. Shaul had mercy on Aggag the King of Amalek and Haman, Aggag's descendant, in afar away land, will later threaten to annihilate every Jew in the world.
Why doesn't Rabbi Elazar use the verses in Samuel that refer to the direct sin of Shaul which could be used to trace the history of Haman? Because he wishes to introduce the idea and the concept of the connecting theme to all of our tragedies throughout Jewish history – the psychological national illness that will plague the Jewish people until they are able to break out of the shackles of fear of the Exile; the fear of the reaction of the gentiles if we do that which G-d has commanded us to do, and in this case that which logic dictates – to drive out our enemies before they drive us out.
There are two choices, and only two choices. It is us or them. We will either have the faith to do those "dangerous" mitzvoth which truly test our faith in G-d or continue to march down the path of self-destruction, capitulating before the very gentiles who seek to destroy us.
Next week, on the 18th of Adar, (25th of March) I am scheduled to be sentenced before a Jerusalem court (Judge Rivkah Feldman) for holding an independent national referendum before the disengagement expulsion where I offered these two alternatives; The Sharon plan to expel 10,000 Jews from their homes or the Jewish alternative to expel our enemies and to distance the threat of  kassams and terror. I was convicted of "incitement to racism" and can be sentenced on Tuesday March 25th at 10:00 AM to as much as five-year's prison for my outrageous crime. According to the confused courts of Israel, it is not considered racist to actually drive thousands of Jews out of their homes, however to hold a mock referendum where people are given a choice to cast their vote on the subject, is considered racist. In the meantime, the Kassams are falling on our heads, with greater intensity and range, and the murderers are intensifying their efforts to murder us and our children.
I would like to call upon you all to join me in the court room or in protest outside of the court building at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem Tuesday morning 9:30 AM, March 25th. If you can't be there then send a contribution to help me appeal and publish this insane verdict. This is not about the freedom of Yekutiel Ben Yakov (Mike Guzofsky) I will feel greater freedom in a prison cell than most of the people roaming the streets of Israel. This is about saving Israel before it is too late. This is about demanding the freedom to propose the only alternative that can save Jewish lives today. This is about supporting the necessary action to prevent massacres like the one that just happened in Mercaz HaRav. This is about having the wisdom to understand that the decree will not be rescinded until we redirect it on the heads of those who dream of our destruction!
Contributions can be sent to 'Mishalot Yisrael' POBox 6592 Jerusalem Israel.

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