by Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio
Broadcast on Jan. 6, 2000 / Tevet 28, 5760
In This Article:
1. The Declaration
2. The Pain
3. The Joy
4. The Prayer
1. THE DECLARATION
Eretz Yisrael is being cut into pieces, and sections of it are being given
over to foreigners. Our hearts are torn apart, and the pain spreads
throughout the entire body. The soul of the nation thrashes about in its
torture, cries out in its pain, "Woe, what has befallen us."
Yet we, people of faith, lovers of the Land, declare in the most public
way, that we object with our entire being to any yielding whatsoever of
Eretz Yisrael. For this is the Land of G-d, that which He gave to His
People, the People of Israel - and there is no force in the world that can
ever change this fundamental truth.
Every attempt to do so has no value, no validity. Any agreement
stipulating Jewish "concessions" over the Land is null and void, and is of
less value than the dust of the earth. There is no legitimacy to an act
that is against the Torah's ideals, and "if done, it is of no account," in
the words of the Sages.
2. THE PAIN
We view these painful sufferings as part of our Redemptive process. It is
regarding these troubles that the verse states, "It is a time of
tribulation for Jacob, from which he will be delivered" - from the trouble
itself will come the salvation. We are imbued with faith in the G-d of
Israel, Who promised Abraham, "To your descendants I have given this land,
from the Egyptian river up to the great river, the Perat river." We have
eternal trust in the G-d of Israel, Who promised Jacob, "The land on which
you lie I will give to you and to your descendants." The word of the G-d
of Israel will stand forever.
3. THE JOY
Together with the sorrow we feel over the tearing asunder of Eretz Yisrael,
we also feel joy in our hearts on the continuing process of the Ingathering
of the Exiles, over the building up of the Land of Israel and Jerusalem.
The people continue to stream back to their Land, and the Land returns to
its children. The Torah returns to Eretz Yisrael, and the people return to
their origins, their foundations. The People that was "scattered and
separated among the nations," is now becoming re-united at home, in Eretz
Yisrael. True, this joining of the various parts of the nation is somewhat
painful at times, as in a life-saving operation, but this pain is an
integral part of the regrouping of the "dry bones" into one body.
Yes, there is sadness and pain, yet we can still say unequivocally, "How
fortunate we are to have merited living in this generation of the
Redemption. How fortunate we are to have merited that which many great
leaders of Israel throughout many generations did not merit. We have been
granted our return to Eretz Yisrael, the end of foreign rule over the Land
and the Nation therein." With all the suffering that we are experiencing
at the hands of both internal and external elements, we are in a more
favorable situation than we have known since we were exiled from our Land
over 1900 years ago.
We are called upon to have an "open heart," one that can accommodate
strongly contradictory emotions at one and the same time: To feel the pain
of the Land that is being cut apart, on the one hand, and to rejoice in its
settlement and building, on the other hand; to mourn the spiritual
breakdown and split in the nation, and at the same time to rejoice in the
Ingathering of the Exiles and the strengthening of Torah and people of faith.
4. THE PRAYER
It is hard for our hearts to embrace the full overflow of these
contradictory sensations. But this is the reality of our times - "a
generation that is both totally liable and totally sin-free" [in the words
of Rabbi A. I. Kook, of saintly blessed memory, referring to the words of
the Sages that the Redemption would come in a generation that is either
totally liable or sin-free]. It is exactly our ability to thank G-d for
all the great goodness that he bestows upon us, that gives us an opening to
beseech Him and ask that He have mercy upon us and His Holy Land, and give
us the strength to preserve the Land in our hands, and return to us those
parts of the Land that are not in our hands. With the help of G-d, "from
[the troubles] we will be delivered" and speedily merit our total Redemption.
Rabbi Melamed is Rabbi of Beit El, Dean of Beit El Yeshiva Center
Institutions, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arutz Sheva.