The State of Israel & Redemption

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Yanky55

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In a speech delivered at New York’s Yeshiva University forty four years ago by HaRav Aharon Soloveichik Zt”l on the 18th anniversary of the State several key arguments were addressed. What follows is an excerpt of this lecture from 1966 (printed in Gesher, Vol. 4) captivating the creative message so relevant to contemporary times as well.

“Those who do not recognize the importance of the establishment of the State of Israel (????? ?????) give several reasons. The first argument raised is that non-observant Jews led the movements which culminated in the establishment of the State. They argue that the results of such leadership cannot be of great historical significance for the Jewish people. These results cannot be considered a step towards redemption (?????), but rather as a step away from redemption.

Chapter seven of II Kings has a bearing on all these arguments. Samaria (??????), the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, was besieged by the mighty armies of Syria and was in the throes of famine. Ordinary food was unobtainable and articles of food which, under normal circumstances, would have been considered repulsive were obtainable only at fantastic prices. Samaria seemed doomed.

Desperate as the situation of the inhabitants of Samaria was, the condition of the four lepers outside the city (II Kings 7:3, above) was infinitely worse. According to our Sages, these four lepers were none other than Gechazi (????) and his three sons who were afflicted with physical leprosy as a penalty for their spiritual leprosy [described by Rambam as heretics]
[??????????? ????? ??? ??????? ??? ??? ????????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ???? ????????? ???? ??????????? ????????? ??????????? ??? ???? ???????? ??????????? ?????? ???????? ????? ????????? ??????????? ????? ?????????:] Consequently, they entered the city of Samaria and conveyed the good tidings to the inhabitants. We thus see that the miracle of deliverance of the inhabitants of Samaria was carried out through the medium of four lepers: physical lepers, yes, but above all, spiritual lepers.

The first argument as to how any relief to the Jewish people could be realized through the medium of heretics can easily be rebutted by the precedent of the deliverance accorded to the people of Samaria through the medium of the four lepers. This episode shows that no Jew can be excluded from the grace of G-d, that “????? ??”? ????, ????? ???”, and that there is an innate tendency towards altruism even in the hearts of spiritual lepers; it also shows that G-d does not exclude any Jew from salvation and He may therefore designate even spiritual lepers as the messengers of relief and deliverance for the people of Israel. Consequently, we cannot ignore the significance of the establishment of the State of Israel simply because Jews who stand a substantial distance from any form of observance of Mitzvot were in the forefront o the movements which established the State and are in the forefront of the State itself. Perhaps the fact that non-observant Jews are in the forefront today is a penalty for Orthodox Jewry’s failure to play the most important part in the formation of the State.”

In a subsequent passage, Harav Aharon Soloveichik Zt”l continues

“The State of Israel represents not the “break of dawn” (“???? ????”) of redemption, but the “appearance of the morning star” (“???? ????”) of redemption. The “???? ????” of redemption must be part of the actual day of “?????”. Unfortunately, we have not yet attained that. Perhaps, if in the course of the last fifty years all observant Jews had dedicated themselves to the up building of the land and would not have allowed spiritual lepers to take the lead, then we might have attained the “???? ???? ?? ??????” (“the dawn of redemption”) and perhaps even more.”

EDITED

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