emunah, tefillah, a little mussar, and a shmeck of geula

Saturday, October 24, 2015

With Mesiras Nefesh

Settling Eretz Yisroel is only accomplished through yissurim (difficulties).  Or more accurately, settling Eretz Yisroel is only accomplished by way of mesiras nefesh in withstanding the yissurim that Chazal have told us are sure to accompany any such endeavor.

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman tells us that this principle was established for all time from the get go when Yehoshua sent spies (Pinchas and Calev) to reconnoiter Yericho.  They were immediately spotted and the information was relayed to the King of Yericho.

But just forty years before, the meraglim were able to easily travel throughout the Land of Canaan for 40 days without generating any unwanted attention from the non-Jewish inhabitants of the land.

Rabbi Reisman let's us hear in the name of Rav Chaim Kanievski that the principle that settling in Eretz Yisroel is only accomplished through yissurim explains why the original band of spies sent out by Moshe at the instigation of the Klal Yisroel (Jewish nation) had no problems during their sojourn in the Holy Land. That fact in and of itself was proof positive that this group was not destined to settle the Land of Israel.

The second group of meraglim [sent by Yehoshua] was indeed serious about settling in Eretz Yisroel and that is why they immediately encountered serious yissurim such as the threat to their very lives by the agents of the King of Jericho who sought to capture and kill them.

And three thousand years further down the road we have yet to see a fundamental script change.  Only the settings and the props have been sliced and diced over the ensuing centuries but no matter how one scrambles the dictionary, when it comes to settling Eretz Yisroel  it always opens to the word yissurim.

In the context of the last hundred years these yissurim have come to those who settled the Land with great mesiras nefesh in the form of starvation (WW1), malaria (in the draining of the Hula marshes and other swamp lands), riots and massacres (1920, 1920, 1936 et al.), the brink of existential disaster (1948, 1967, 1973), the indiscriminate killings of the Intifadas, the Scud missiles of the Gulf War, the drive by shootings then and now, the stoning of cars, the kidnappings, the Molotov cocktails, the suicide bombings, and the thousands of kassim and ketusha rockets launched against civilian population centers.

And now it's knives and cars running over civilians.

So nu?

The only thing new here is the names of the victims.  It's the same old same old and will continue as such, and until Moshiach puts in an appearance (speedily in our days if not sooner).

The only change will be a variation on the theme, but the script will remain as is, for as we quoted Rabbeinu HaGaon HaGadol Rav Moshe Shapiro shlit"a, in EmunahSpeak: There is No Other Solution, "Whoever thinks of sitting and talking, to negotiate and make agreements as a “solution,” insults the intelligence of a ten year old.

Every generation has been challenged with levels of yissurim that were appropriate to it and with mesiras nefesh it always stayed the course.

No less is required of this one.