The Peace Process Within

There is a common misnomer when speaking about “Middle East Peace” that assumes all things are political and if one can just come to some sort of compromise then there would be eternal and utopian peace. This is of course a fantasy and based on false Western assumptions about the region.

Peace is not some sort of accommodation or agreement or even an acceptance of the area, but rather true peace is a harmonious balance that exists when one recognizes the Divine quality of the other.

The Land of Israel is meant to be a vessel for the Jewish people’s Divine purpose in this world. It is not meant to be merely a political expression of some sort of Western notion of morality, but rather the State is one if approached with clarity should be seen as tool for the Kingship of the Almighty. After all, the Divine Presence we all seek is embedded within the Land itself. However, it remains just out of our reach due to the vessels of sovereignty being without rectification.

This rectification is necessary to harness the true Divine light flowing throughout the Creation. However, it has been stalled by the refusal to lead by those most suited to lead it.

The current political crisis is a message to those who have the knowhow to complete the State’s transformation from Western Liberalism to a rectified political entity with a Jewish core at its engine, to step up and take the reins.

True peace is not about domination of one group over the other or a division of the Land, which cannot be divided, but rather only by the Jewish people accepting their responsibility to be a Kingdom of Priests. The first task of the redeemers within the State is to bring true harmony to the structure of the State itself and only then can peace be achieved.

ISRAEL AFTER 70: From National to Global Rectification

“When the Lord returned the captives of Zion, we were like people in a dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter,​ and our tongue with exultatio​n: then said they among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us; so we rejoiced!​ Bring back our captives,​ O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Though he goes on his way weeping, bearing the store of seed, he shall come back with joy, bearing his sheaves. ” – Psalm 126

We have come home.

After 70 years since the British left the Land of Israel (which they sinisterly called Palestine) with their tails between their legs, the State of Israel has risen from the dreams and hopes of the Jewish people around the world to become a global leader in so many areas.

Against all odds and in a miraculous fashion the State of Israel has become a beacon to so many around the world. The number 70 is a transitional number.  It represents the end of one era and an entry to another.  After all the first exile of the Jewish people lasted 70 years exactly as prophesied. King David lived 70 years, which is seen as a paradigm for the concept of the years of kingship. 70 is also the number of root nations in the world as well as being the numerical value of Gog uMagog. The sages taught that there are 70 faces of Torah.

So What’s Next?

The Nation of Israel is meant to lead the world to a new era.  We of course are not quite there yet, but the feeling that we are heading to something incredible is all around us.  The challenge for Israel is that transitioning from a country at siege yet extremely successful to one which takes its success and transforms the world may result in altering Israel as we know it.

Anyone with eyes wide open can see that the world as we know it is collapsing.  The paradox of new advances that are literally changing how people live to the chaos across the globe with super powers preparing to destroy each other can be overwhelming.

Despite the potential carnage, there is light and hope.

It is at this juncture that Israel is meant to lead. The broken world we live in is only broken because we have yet to fix it.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said the following: “If you believe that you can destroybelieve that you can build.” 

Israel has all the ingredients to lead the world from its darkness to a state of light, yet something is holding us back, keeping us from transforming the chaotic storm winds into a new order. For 70 years the State of Israel and the Zionist movement has been rooted in classic Western nationalism. But that in its core can only take the Jewish people in Israel so far.  Our job is to bring a new, rectified order to the world. One that merges the physical and spiritual together.

Achievements in technology cannot be divorced from the traditions of the Torah.  These advances are part of a holistic redemptive process that sees an Israeli experience as one that blends multiple forces together. If we think of advances in technology as only a “tikkun olam”  (rectification of the world) in a physical sense then we are lacking a wider perspective.   Technology is a tool or vessel for the spirit or will of the Creator.

The State of Israel as an entity is a tool for a global redemption.  It is at one hand the vessel which was formed to allow the reconstitution of the people of Israel in their ancient ancestral land as prophesied more than 2,500 years ago.  This has happened in miraculous fashion, but the State of Israel is far more than that.  It is now transitioning into the activated tool for the will of “Knesset Yisrael” the mystical concept which expresses the rectified Israeli Collective, whose mission it is to ultimately repair the broken world, which still awaits its full rectification and direction.

Rebbe Nachman teaches in Likutey Moharan that the Jewish people’s role is to repair the “supernal altar” of the nations.  This means that we are to turn them away from worshipping a false notion of spiritual connection and recalibrate their yearning for a divine relationship to one which is an authentic personal relationship to the one above or better expressed, the one within. We can only do this by example.

The vessels to spread the light of the Creator have been built in the first 70 years of the State of Israel.  It is now time for Israel to rise to the occasion and steer the world out of the darkness and chaos it finds itself in.



Israel is the Foundation of G-D’s Throne in this World

In order to appreciate the full significance of Israel’s Independence Day, one must clarify what the day is meant to commemorate, as well as what this connotes within the context of Jewish history, Torah thought and halakha. One of the major reasons for the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut is to rejoice in the restoration of Hebrew independence in the Land of Israel following a long and bitter exile of the majority of Jews from our soil. Yom HaAtzmaut celebrates the liberation of Eretz Yisrael from British rule and the reestablishment of Jewish political sovereignty over our country.

In his supplement to the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot, the Ramban teaches that it is a Torah commandment in every generation that the Nation of Israel take control of and inhabit the entire Land of Israel.

“This (a war to liberate Eretz Yisrael) is what our Sages call milḥemet mitzvah (obligatory war). In the Talmud (Sotah 44b), Rava said: ‘Yehoshua’s war of liberation was an obligatory duty according to all opinions.’ And do not err and say that this precept is the commandment to vanquish the seven nations… this is not so. We were commanded to destroy those nations when they fought against us and had they wished to make peace we could have done so under specific conditions. Yet we cannot leave the land in their control or in the control of any other nation in any generation… Behold, we are commanded with conquest in every generation… this is a positive commandment which applies for all time… And the proof that this is a commandment is this – They were told to go up in the matter of the Spies: ‘Go up and conquer as HaShem, G-D of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear and do not be discouraged.’ And it further says: ‘And when HaShem sent you from Kadesh Barnea saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you.’ And when they did not go up, the Torah says: ‘And you rebelled against the Word of G-D, and you did not listen to this command.’” (Positive Commandment 4 of the Ramban’s supplement to the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot)

The Ramban asserts that the conquest of Eretz Yisrael is a mitzvah for Israel in every generation and that we are forbidden from allowing any part of our country to fall into – or remain under – gentile control. It is found in theShulḥan Arukh that all of the arbitrators of Torah Law (Rishonim and Aḥronim) agree with the Ramban concerning this issue.

“All of the Poskim, both Rishonim and Aḥronim, decide the Law in this fashion on the basis of the Ramban.” (Shulḥan ArukhEven HaEzer section 75, Pitḥei Tshuva 6)

The Nation of Israel is eternally commanded to conquer and implement Jewish sovereignty over our country. Yom HaAtzmaut commemorates the fifth day of Iyar, 5708, when Israel fulfilled this mitzvah for the first time in nearly two thousand years by declaring Hebrew independence in portions of our homeland.

Aside from renewing the mitzvah of Hebrew sovereignty, there is another essential reason to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. The Megillat Ta’anit teaches that it is a mitzvah to thank HaShem for the miracles He performs. This was the basis for sanctifying Ḥanukah and Purim. And like Ḥanukah, Yom HaAtzmaut commemorates the triumph of a small and ill equipped band of Jewish freedom fighters over one of the world’s most powerful empires.

The British had ruled the Land of Israel since World War I and had done everything in their power to prevent Jewish independence. While Israel’s political leadership grudgingly acquiesced to Britain’s imperialist designs, a courageous minority of revolutionaries launched a war of liberation that eventually succeeded in attaining independence. As Hebrew fighters displayed tenacious heroism in the face of nearly impossible odds, HaShem worked through these fighters to force the British Empire from Palestine. And it was on the fifth of Iyar – Yom HaAtzmaut – that the Union Jack was ultimately lowered from the Jewish homeland.

Throughout the period of our exile, scattered Jewish communities have had the authority to establish what is called a “Purim Katan” – a sacred day of thanksgiving meant to express gratitude to the Kadosh Barukh Hu for saving a community from danger. Since Yom HaAtzmaut is a day on which a miracle occurred for the entire Jewish people, it is a Torah precept to ordain a public festival for commemoration of HaShem’s kindness towards His people. Israel’s Chief Rabbinate declared that the nation recite Hallel on this day in order to remember the miracles performed on Israel’s behalf.

But if the commandment is really so obvious and clear, why would so many great scholars appear so unsure about – or often even vehemently opposed to – the State of Israel and the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut? The Gaon of Vilna answers this question in Kol HaTor (the Gaon’s teachings regarding the redemption process compiled by his student Rabbi Hillel Rivlin of Shklov).

“The Sin of the Spies… hovers over the Nation of Israel in every generation… How strong is the power of the Sitra Aḥra that it succeeds in hiding from the eyes of our holy fathers the dangers of the klipot; from the eyes of Avraham our father, the klipah of exile… and in the time of the Messiah, the Sitra Aḥra attacks the guardians of Torah with blinders… Many of the sinners in this great sin of, ‘They despised the cherished land,’ and also many of the guardians of Torah, will not know or understand that they are caught in the Sin of the Spies, that they have been sucked into the Sin of the Spies in many false ideas and empty claims, and they cover their ideas with the already proven fallacy that the mitzvah of the settlement of Israel no longer applies in our day, an opinion which has already been disproven by the giants of the world, the Rishonim and Aḥronim.” (Kol HaTor chapter 5)

The Torah debate over Yom HaAtzmaut is actually far more psychological than legal. Those who relate to Jewish history as having played out in ancient times, but being currently paused until the eventual arrival of a mythical Messiah, generally restrict Jewish life to matters of “religion” often divorced from public life and national developments. But those who view themselves as participants in history and active characters in an incredible living story appreciate how current events – and even the actions we take – can have the power to impact and influence the Hebrew calendar.

The most amazing miracle of Yom HaAtzmaut is perhaps the foundation for all of the others. After so many centuries of persecution in exile, HaShem placed a new spirit of valor into our people. For the first time in modern history, a generation of Jewish heroes arose – willing to lay down their lives for the liberation of their homeland. And even more astonishing than this is the fact that the Kadosh Barukh Hu strengthened the hearts of Israel’s political leaders so that they would declare independence for the Nation of Israel despite being faced with overwhelming international pressure not to do so.

Yom HaAtzmaut is the most significant world event to take place in nearly two thousand years. It was on this day that HaShem returned the Children of Israel to the stage of history so that we may lead mankind towards a better world of total blessing. It is the goal of Creation that the Divine Ideal be fully expressed through Israel bringing humanity to an awareness of HaShem as the timeless ultimate Reality without end that creates all, sustains all, empowers all and loves all. The Maharal of Prague teaches in Netzaḥ Yisrael that in order for Am Yisrael to fulfill our historic mission, we must first unite as an independent nation on our soil. Only as a strong and healthy nation living a collective life of national kedusha can Israel reveal the greatness and unity of HaShem’s Ideal in every major and minor sphere of existence. Only through the vehicle of Jewish independence can we bring mankind towards a universal blessing through illuminating the world with the light of Torah.

The modern State of Israel – the foundation of HaShem’s Throne in this world – must be understood not only as His Divine handiwork but also as an early stage in the development of universal redemption – a process that unfolds through a series of historic events. While the current Jewish state has not yet reached the greatness for which it is destined, it must be recognized that the physical vessel once again exists in our world and will eventually grow to reveal its exalted inner potential. After so many centuries as a ghost walking through history, Israel again functions as a living nation on the world stage. The Jewish people has taken an enormous step forward by reestablishing Hebrew independence in portions of Eretz Yisrael. While the mere existence of a Jewish state was never the final goal of our ancient yearnings, it is certainly a powerful vehicle with which to now achieve Israel’s deeper aspirations. The liberation of our people will continue to progress as new heroes arise to confront the challenges of our generation and advance Jewish history to the next stages of redemption.