Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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Meriting Mashiach

By: Rav Yechezkel Yakovson

A derasha from Rav Yechezkel Yakobson, Rosh Yeshivat Sha'alvim, concerning Yom Ha'Atzmaut in post- expulsion times. 

The gemara in Masechet Sanhedrin (94) states that Hashem was ready to appoint King Chizkiyahu as the Mashiach (messiah) and Sancherev (the general of the Babylonian forces that put a siege around Jerusalem in that era) as Gog and Magog. However, subsequent to the miraculous defeat of the forces of Sancherev (Hashem caused the deaths of the soldiers in one night), Chizkiyahu did not sing in thanksgiving to Hashem. King David did not merit overt miracles; yet he sang and praised Hashem. If he was not appointed as Mashiach, certainly Chizkiyahu should not merit such an exalted status. A marvelous opportunity for the redemption was missed.  

Two questions emerge from this passage: A. Why did Chizkiyahu- a righteous king- not sing praise to Hashem subsequent to the great miracle? B. How does the punishment fit the crime? Why did the Jewish People endure the exile as a result of the non-praise?  

Chizkiyahu focused on spiritual matters. At a national siyum hashas he would have burst into song. Chizkiyahu was not impressed by a mere physical salvation. What will this victory lead to- spiritual elevation? At times, individuals on a high spiritual plane disregard physical matters.  

The function of the Mashiach is to fuse the spiritual and material concerns of the Jewish People. He engages in warfare for spiritual goals. The lack of song for a physical salvation displayed the lack of fusion of the two realms. King David exemplified the unity of both realms-yet he was not anointed as Mashiach.  

As we observe the founding and existence of the State of Israel we may be tempted to notice the spiritual shortcomings of the leaders of the state. If we omit thanksgiving to Hashem we repeat the mistake of Chizkiyahu. My mother was on the death march from Auschwitz in 1945. Three years later she was in Israel at the founding of the State. Can we not thank Hashem and sign His praise?!   

Another explanation for the lack of singing thanksgiving to Hashem is the fact that ten of the tribes were in exile at that time. Because the redemption was incomplete Hallel was not recited. This is flawed logic; we are required to thank Hashem for every salvation that He orchestrates. King David thanked Hashem despite the fact that his troubles were not over. Likewise we must thank Hashem despite the difficulties that we face. An eternal nation does not fear a long road.  

A great debate exists if we should celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut this year. This is a tremendous mistake. We must thank Hashem for the tremendous benefits that he has bestowed upon us. The wicked actions of fools does not detract from our obligation to thank Hashem for what he gives us. Yes, there are those who are harmful in material and spiritual realms. Their actions do not nullify our obligation to acknowledge the great actions of Hashem as the following parable illustrates.  

A person gave a home to a homeless person. The recipient proceeded to trash the house. Does this remove the need to thank the benefactor? Certainly we must thank and praise Hashem for what He does for us.  

The following issue must be raised. We believe that the Holy One, Blessed be He, has given us a tremendous gift. This historical process marks the beginning of the redemption. However, He has not provided us with a document of security that this situation is irrevocable. The passage relating to Chizkiyahu reveals that we can- Heaven forbid- squander the wonderful opportunity that Hashem presents us.  

If we do not recognize the spiritual and physical goals of our People we may G-d forbid lose what He has bequeathed us. In physical matters, we must retain possession over the entire land and smite our enemies. On a spiritual plane, we are endangered by a constitution that is not predicated upon the Torah. We must strive to fuse the spiritual and physical needs of our people. Prayer is essential in this venture.  

I believe that as the national situation becomes more complex,  the necessity of reciting the prayer for the welfare of the State increases. We request Divine assistance to save us from the plans of knaves who function as leaders. They are in dire need of good counsel.  

May we endeavor to bring to fruition the task of the Mashiach and merit the final redemption.


Categorized under: 1: Chagim > Yom Ha'atzma'ut
2: Machshava > General
Uploaded: 6/26/2006 10:19:12 PM