Constitutions and Reconstitutions of Judaic Statehood

The polity of Israel in its incunabular period of nation formation was a theocracy (better: “theonomocracy,” or rule of divine law) evolving under the universal sovereignty of G-d, whose existence was apodictic and whose presence intimate. The biblical constitution bestowed in the wilderness via Moses the lawgiver was established by Joshua the conqueror immediately upon the Israelites’ possession of the Promised Land.

From the outset, the Torah for Israel was the centrepiece, source of unimpeachable authority, and embodiment of divine law. Once repatriated to their ancestral homeland, and despite being in possession of such an injunctive pandect, Israelites struggled for physical survival among external adversaries even while internally rived by tribalism, rendering them unable to organize as a united polity, let alone found a Torah-oriented nation-state.

Once the land was settled, partly by means of conquest (as depicted in Joshua) and partly by peaceful reintegration among neighboring peoples (as depicted in Judges), Israelites were at greater liberty to turn their attention to matters of governance and political entities. Helpfully, means of internal conflict resolution had previously been introduced during Israel’s prolonged desert sojourn when Moses had appointed some 78,600 judges over the people, whose men numbered 600,000 [Exod. 12:37, 18:25]. But justiciable disputes between individuals were one thing, tribal interests another.

After Joshua’s death, much of tribal Israel’s turmoil resulted from the absence of a Moses figure, someone who combined lawgiver, prophet, and political leader. As a unique personage, especially in his role as lawgiver, Moses was ineluctably a revolutionary; all other prophets, however, from Joshua to Malachi, were not revolutionaries but reformers. The Judges, who succeeded Joshua, were military heroes, civic leaders, and regional notables, but rarely achieved a national following until their culminating exemplar – the prophet Samuel, whom the tribes collectively esteemed and heeded [I Sam. 2:26, 3:19-20].

King or Prince?

Necessity facilitated Israel’s amalgamation from tribal confederacy to nation-state, which polity would fatefully transition from a pure theonomocracy to a constitutional monarchy. Citing the threats from neighbors and the waywardness of Joel and Abijah, Samuel’s venal sons, the elders of Israel at Ramah demanded of the aging prophet a king [I Sam. 8:5-22]; audaciously, the chosen people now wished to do the choosing, despite Samuel’s portentous warning that they would come to regret it [I Sam. 8:18]. Henceforward, this momentous encounter – which the anti-monarchist prophet Hosea would later refer to as “the days of Givah” [Hos. 10:9] in a reference to King Saul’s hometown and capital – would be emblematic of the disloyalty Israel displayed in asking for a king, construed as evidencing their failure of faith.

Signaling the subordinacy of a worldly monarch to the divine sovereign, G-d averred that Saul was to become a “prince” (נגיד) [I Sam 9:16], and indeed Samuel privately anointed Saul “prince” [I Sam. 10:1]. But the prophet then did something well beyond inaugurating the institution of Israelite monarchy via symbolic formalities: Samuel, before all the assembled tribes of Israel in Mizpah, orated and indited a constitution for this new monarchy [I Sam. 10:25]. Though its contents were not adumbrated in scripture, its strictures doubtless were biblically derived and validated. In short, Israelite monarchy came into effect with explicit and specific constitutional restrictions.

Even as Saul was coronated at Gilgal, the people already repented of their demand for a king [I Sam. 12:19], recognizing it as a species of evil. Yet Samuel was quick to clarify that the abandonment of G-d, and not the institution of monarchy, would be the real evil, and that G-d would concede monarchy to Israel so long as it faithfully served the divine will. In other words, the Israelite polity may be a monarchy, but it must be a Judaic state.

While foremost among the monarchic restrictions is the principle of king (מלך) as subaltern to G-d, the King of Kings, there are other seminal limitations enshrined in the biblical constitution that circumscribe the monarchy and deprive the one who reigns of free rein, chief among these being the tripartite paradigm of national leadership (i.e. prophet, high priest, monarch). The Torah delineates and legitimates the institutions of governance, as well as their interrelation and interdependence. In its rudiments and fundaments, the Judaic state organically combines religion and politics since the principles and precepts of the Tanakh are all-encompassing.

In Judaism, the high priest represents the people to G-d, while the prophet represents G-d to the people; ergo, a Judaic state would not be a theocracy in the modern sense (a nation ruled by a coterie of priests or religious clerics), but only in its original sense (a nation ruled by G-d). Like the high priest and prophet, the monarch was G-d’s worldly instrument, and could not implement the royal prerogative in contradiction to the divine will.

When King Saul faltered in his obedience to divine instruction as imparted by the prophet Samuel, the latter informed the former that G-d would appoint another “prince” [I Sam. 13:14]. Judaic statehood was not imperiled, nor was the monarchic institution, but the monarchy was to be placed under new management, as it were, demonstrating the innate instability of kingship and precariousness of power. As Hosea has it, G-d derided Israel’s trust in mortal rulers: “So now, where is your king, to save you in all your cities? Where are your judges, of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and leaders’? I gave you a king in my anger, and in my fury I took him away” [Hos. 13:10-11].

Reluctant as ever to anoint a monarch, Samuel in Bethlehem anoints David for the first time [I Sam. 16:13], with a horn of oil, as G-d’s elect; Judahites in Hebron anointed David for the second time [II Sam. 2:4,7], as ruler of Judah; and all the elders of Israel in Hebron anointed David for the third and final time, as king of Israel [II Sam. 5:3]. Yet once again, tellingly, David was to become “prince” over Israel [I Chron. 11:2]; G-d plucked David from the obscurity of shepherding to be “prince” over Israel [I Chron. 17:7]. Solomon was twice anointed king, and “to be prince” [I Chron. 29:22]. From Judah comes “the prince” [I Chron. 5:2]. The subordinacy of monarchy to divinity is reaffirmed even during Israel’s golden era. While in scripture the terms “king” and “prince” are, admittedly, sometimes used interchangeably, there is nonetheless a subtilized sense of bait-and-switch, of kingship as the lure, princeship the reality.

This almost imperceptible nuance is perhaps most exposed when once again the monarchy is, at least partially, to be restarted: the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh foretells to Jeroboam ben Nebat that G-d is to make him king over Israel [I Kings 11:37], only to reveal to Jeroboam post factum that G-d had elevated him to become “prince” over Israel [I Kings 14:7]. Later, the prophet Jehu ben Hanani tells the military officer Baasha that G-d elevated him from the dust and made him “prince” over his people Israel [I Kings 16:1-2]. In response to King Hezekiah of Judah’s tearful prayers on his deathbed, G-d healed the monarch, the “prince” of His people (נגיד-עמי) [II Kings 20:5].


The Periodic Renascence of the Priesthood

Despite the Torah’s early designation of Levites as Israel’s pedagogical caste or educator class, throughout most of the monarchies of Israel and Judah the figure of the high priest was largely relegated to lesser prominence in terms of national leadership, and this lamentable absence was acknowledged by contemporaries. The prophet Azariah ben Oded explained to King Asa of Judah that Israel long lacked a “kohen moreh,” a teaching priest [II Chron. 15:3]. Early in his reign, King Jehoshaphat of Judah sent two priests and nine Levites (accompanied by five ministers) to teach Torah throughout all the cities of Judah [II Chron. 17:7-9].

There were also certain notable exceptions to the rule of priestly abeyance. After the ouster of Queen Ataliah of Judah, and partly in response to her egregious abuses of power, the high priest Jehoiada established a duple compact: a religious covenant between G-d and the king (Jehoash/Joash) and the people of Judah, and a political covenant between the king (Jehoash/Joash) and the people of Judah [II Kings 11:17; II Chron. 23:16]. This was a sequel to, and perhaps even an improvement upon, the prior constitution instituted by Samuel in Mizpah. Another noteworthy exception to the general lack of priestly leadership also serves as the best example of separation of powers in Judaism: when King Uzziah of Judah entered the Temple to burn incense on the inner altar, thereby transgressing divine law, he was resisted by the high priest Azariah and 80 other courageous priests, then punished instantly with leprosy on his forehead [II Chron. 26: 16-21].

In 538 BCE, upon Judah’s return from Babylonian Captivity, partial though it was, the tripartite leadership paradigm was promptly restored (mutatis mutandis, given that, as the autonomous province of Yehud within the Eber-Nari satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, Judah had no king, rather a provincial governor) when the prophet Haggai imparted the divine message to Zerubavel, Davidic prince of Judah, and Jeshua the high priest [Hag. 1:1]. The priestly duty of instruction was renewed [Hag. 2:11], and Zerubavel’s political rule divinely assured [Hag 2:21-23]. Later, the contemporary prophet Zechariah was divinely instructed to take gold and silver to make two crowns: the golden crown for the Davidic scion Zerubavel, and the silver crown for Jeshua the high priest; the high priest was to attend the ruler and between them would be “the counsel of peace” (עצת שלום) [Zech. 6:9-13]. The prophet thus reconciled high priest and prince while affording the prince the higher authority (by which act the prophet intrinsically reserved for his own leadership role the supreme position among the three).

A Senate of Sages

In the second stage of return, that of spiritual renewal, Ezra the scribe (who became the teaching priest par excellence) and Nehemiah the governor worked in tandem to formally reinstate the Torah as the constitution of the Jewish people by reading it publicly before the Judahites assembled in Jerusalem [Neh. 8:1-18]. The close partnership between Ezra and his younger counterpart Nehemiah did not, however, universally negate the inherent tensions between Israel’s discrete leadership roles. Four times Nehemiah asked G-d to remember him for good, and twice he asked G-d to remember for ill Sanballat the Horonite and the latter’s allies, including Noadiah the prophetess and the wayward priests.

Yet few among Judah’s primarily political leaders who followed Nehemiah were as religiously involved as he was, and the Knesset HaGedolah, which institution Ezra established, gradually assumed the national leadership and continued to guide the people even when the Judean monarchy was restored under the Hasmonean dynasty and when the high priesthood regained prominence in the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The Knesset HaGedolah, later known as the Great Sanhedrin, was a senate of sages, both legislature and supreme court. While nominally headed by the high priest as nasi (president), the institution was innovative because it was meritocratic, its conciliar instructors being religious laymen more often than priests.

Exceptions aside (since several prominent sages over the generations were also priests), the teaching priest gave way to the rabbinic scholar-sage. And when prophecy departed from Israel after Malachi, when kingship was abolished after the Hasmoneans and Herodians, and when the high priesthood (and priesthood generally) was obviated by the destruction of the Second Temple, only the sages remained among Israels leadership. It was the sages, with or without a Sanhedrin, who salvaged Judaism after the Great Revolt (66-73 CE) and Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE), who directed the national life of Jewry throughout 1,813 years in stateless exile.

Modern Times

In contrast to the founders of the Second Commonwealth, and to the various religious revivalists before them (e.g. Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoiada, Hezekiah, Josiah), the fathers of the modern State of Israel did not renew the biblical covenant, publicly read the Torah, or revive the age-old tripartite leadership paradigm. The historic events of 1948 did not include any renascence of the national institutions of kingship, high priesthood, or prophecy, though the offices of Prime Minister, Chief Rabbi(s), and State Comptroller function to some extent as approximate surrogates.

While the State of Israel is in large part modernitys secular (and formerly socialist) iteration of Jewrys whilom polities, and is governed by a series of Basic Laws instead of a formal constitution, let alone the biblical constitution, the Torah is still ingrained in the Jewish state, which may yet evolve into a Judaic state.

If it does, in a second stage of its statehood, increasingly adopt and adapt the ancient blueprint for Israelite society, enacting a biblically informed constitution combined with the sophisticated processes of modern democracy, it may give rise to and legitimate a new, hybrid form of governance, democratic theonomocracy.

Sotah and the Nazir: Today’s Spiritual War

In Parashat Nasso, we learn of the importance of teshuva (repentance). The Rambam writes that if a person intentionally or unintentionally transgresses any of the mitzvot of the Torah (either a positive command or a prohibition), they are required to verbally confess before H-shem. As found in the book of Bamidbar (Numbers), Chapter 5, verse 6, the phrase לִמְעֹל מַעַל (Lim-ol Ma-al) Ba’H-shem means to act treacherously against H-Shem. In addition, we can interpret those words as trespassing or stealing from H-shem.

How is this possible? According to our sages, when each Jewish child is born, an angel makes them swear that they will be a tzadik (righteous person). So, during a person’s life, every time they commit an aveira (sin), they are breaking the vow and therefore in violation of that oath. We can infer that his/her body does not belong to themselves but to H-shem for the purpose of doing mitzvot. If a Jew commits an aveira, they are therefore obligated to perform teshuva.

One verse discusses how in a similar manner to the thief’s transgression against H-shem, a wife transgresses against her husband. In verse 12, the phrase וּמָעֲלָה בוֹ מָעַל (Uma-ala Vo Ma’al) refers to this. From here, we learn of the sotah, a suspected adulteress who was seen going into seclusion with another man despite a warning. As part of the process to determine if she is guilty of the aveira, the woman (who denies any impropriety) is brought to the Temple and drinks a cup of holy water. If she indeed willingly committed adultery, she explodes. If she is unharmed by the water, she is cleared of any suspicion.

The next verse discusses the nazir, a person that abstains from wine and grape products, allows their hair to grow, and who may not come in contact with a human corpse. The connection between the sotah and the nazir is apparent. Our sages stated that one who saw the sotah explode should become a nazir, even if they were distraught. This witness would have an understanding that the event may have been triggered by overindulgence. By becoming a nazir and taking on the restrictions for 30 days, he created a protection for himself against that possibility. He also took on certain holiness and enhanced his spiritual character.

Since we don’t have the ceremony of the sotah today, one may ask how we can apply the lessons from the Torah. Years ago, the primary cause of the indiscretion may have been wine. Today, there are vastly different influences. While ongoing political and economic wars are relevant, perhaps the most important war is one that is spiritual in nature. The media and entertainment industry have been incredibly successful in polluting culture, destroying souls and discouraging any sort of critical thinking. A morally bankrupt society that glorifies those in the entertainment industry isn’t one that can sustain itself. Although I am still hopeful that this glorification will end, our society at large does not clearly comprehend that they are engaged in this war. For if they were to understand, this war could easily be won. Like the nazir, we can be extra vigilant to protect ourselves against these negative forces and look past what are merely distractions. Instead of pointing fingers at others, we should first point them to ourselves.

Originally posted on News with Chai.

David Dardashti: Mixing the Wisdom of the Ancients with Modern Medicine In Order to Heal

David Dardashti

Nestled away in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico is an unusual clinic focusing on opioid addiction, depression, and an assortment of other ailments.  The clinic’s founder, David Dardashti is more than just an expert in medicine and healing, he is an ordained rabbi, and a pioneer in mixing ancient Jewish wisdom with modern medical knowhow when treating his patients.

“When someone wants to change themselves they must first connect to the source of Creation.  This is really their source and in order to do that they must connect to the Torah and its mystical layers,” David Dardashti says. “When I treat someone or even counsel another person, I first use this ancient knowledge to help me understand the source of their problems.  I know that if I can get to the root of the issues and repair their connection to the source, I can ultimately heal and direct them to a more positive direction in life.”

For David Dardashti, the Torah, Talmud, and the Kabbalah form the basis of his treatment approach.  Many of his patients think they are only going to a detox center, but they soon find that their treatment does not only involve a set of unconventional components, but the deep spiritual guidance cuts to the souce of their ailment.

“I have been learning the Talmud and Kabbalah the oral and mystical aspects of the Torah for 37 years. They are the spiritual blueprint of Creation.  They contain the whole universe with deep insights to how we think and function on both a conscious and subconscious level.”

Dardashti’s idea is simple. Our bodies have within themselves the ability to heal, but as time goes on our minds and bodies become disconnected, burying the natural healing power held within. By triggering the mind with various components such ibogaine, David is able to reach the source of the patient’s challenges and direct him to unlock his potential.

“We never use medicine.  Of course we use special components to get the process going and from their we use the wisdom of the Torah to help heal the patient. We know how to treat addictions, diabetes, and depression. We are seeing great results with patients with alzheimers. ”  It is this wisdom, pulled from years of learning and willingness to challenge the status quo, which has propelled David to become the leader he has.




The King is the concentrated expression of the collective Israeli soul

Leadership has played – and continues to play – an essential role in the life of the Hebrew Nation. While Israel has at times been blessed with great shepherds who have brought our people to incredible heights, poor leadership has too often resulted in disaster. VAYAQHEL offers a glimpse of improper Jewish leadership, from which we can discern the attributes a true leader should possess.

“The leaders brought the shoham stones and the stones for the settings for the Ephod and the Breastplate; the spice and the oil, for illumination and for the anointment oil and the incense spices.” (SHEMOT 35:27-28)

Rashi cites Rabbi Natan on this verse, noting that the word “leaders” (Nesi’im) is spelled without the two yuds the word would normally include. He explains the defective spelling of their title as an implied rebuke for having not brought their gifts until everything else had already been contributed. Assuming that the general contributions would not be enough, the tribal chiefs waited to see what would be lacking so that they themselves could provide it. Because the national response was so generous, however, there was almost nothing left for the leadership to contribute.

The Talmud states that “G-D cries over three things each day… one of these is a leader who behaves arrogantly towards the public” (Ḥagigah 5b). Rabeinu Baḥyah teaches on this that “For it is the way of leaders to look down upon the rest of the people… and thus leaders brought the stones that rested on Aharon’s heart, in order to atone for the arrogance of their hearts. These leaders had been lowly slaves in Egypt and were now princes of Israel. Upon receiving their high appointment, they immediately began to look down upon their brothers.”

Because Israel’s tribal chiefs were idle in their participation, the Torah spells their title defectively. Had their exhilaration over the Mishkan been equal to that of the masses, they would have immediately joined in the national spirit of generosity. But influential people often view themselves as superior to their public and are unwilling to compromise their status in society. This contemptuous attitude is precisely what leads people in positions of responsibility to harm the national welfare in favor of advancing personal agendas.

The Maharal of Prague teaches in Netivot Olam that a leader who relates to his public with arrogance can easily begin to rule through coercion and brute force. He can become a tyrannical dictator, persecuting any who stand in the way of his ambitions. Throughout history, this type of leadership has resulted in calamity for the Children of Israel. An attitude of false superiority can often cause a person to neglect what is best for his people in favor of personal success or political gains. Such arrogance can even drive a leader to sacrifice innocent lives or portions of his people’s homeland in exchange for the fleeting approval of foreign rulers.

The ideal Torah concept of melekh (generally translated into English as “king”) differs greatly from the monarchs who rule over other peoples. A melekh is the concentrated expression of the collective Israeli soul – Knesset Yisrael– that manifests itself in our world through millions of bodies revealed in space and time as individual Jews. Themelekh does not actually rule over Israel but rather embodies the mission and aspirations of his nation to the extent that he becomes a microcosm of the entire Jewish people and his personal identity is absorbed into Israel’s collective national identity.

On BEREISHIT 36:3, Rashi quotes our Sages as teaching that just like a single person getting married or a gentile naturalizing into Am Yisrael, one who rises to high office has his previous transgressions wiped clean.

The Maharal elaborates in his Gur Aryeh on Rashi’s commentary that “The reason for all three is that they become new human beings… a prince who rises to high office – before he was an individual person and now, so to speak, he ‘is’ his entire people.”

Rashi also understands the verse “And Israel sent emissaries…” (BAMIDBAR 21:21) to teach: “When the melekh (in this case Moshe) sends, it is as if the entire nation sends. That is why when a leader takes power, he is a new person and his previous sins are forgiven.”

Unlike the tribal chiefs, who demonstrated less enthusiasm than their people for the Mishkan, a true leader of Israel leads his nation by displaying even greater passion and fervor in serving HaShem. This is clearly exhibited in the behavior of David.

“David danced with all [his] strength before HaShem; David was girded in a linen tunic. David and the entire House of Israel brought up the Ark of HaShem with loud, joyous sound, and the sound of the shofar.” (SHMUEL II 6:14-15)

David remains the paradigm of the ideal melekh, setting the ultimate standard for all future Jewish leadership.

“His [the melekh’s] heart is the heart of the entire congregation of Israel.” (Hilkhot Melakhim 3:6)

Like the heart, which is one of the smallest organs of a body yet provides for that body’s entire energy and life force, a melekh generates and directs the character and vitality of the entire Hebrew Nation. In this vein, the Midrashstates that “The leader of the generation [represents] the entire generation.” (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:28)

To assist our leaders in properly fulfilling their roles, the Torah offers statutes to promote an attitude of responsibility, such as the commandment for a melekh to write for himself two copies of the Torah.

“It shall be that when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah in a book, from before the Kohanim, the Levi’im. It shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life, so that he will learn to fear HaShem, his G-D, to observe all the words of this Torah and these decrees, to perform them, so that his heart not become haughty over his brethren and not turn from the commandment right or left, so that he will prolong years over his kingdom, he and his sons amid Israel.” (DEVARIM 17:18-20)

melekh is commanded to write and read his own Torah in order to prevent his position of leadership from creating within him a feeling of arrogance toward his brothers. By delving into the deeper secrets of Torah, amelekh can gain a higher awareness that although we may each play unique roles in Israel’s national life, we are all in fact parts of a greater whole and no man can truly reign supreme over others. Even learning the Torah on a surface level enables a leader to understand the past failures of his people in order that he personally strive to correct these shortcomings and lead the Nation of Israel in fulfilling our historic destiny.

Genuine Hebrew leadership is the higher calling to unite and inspire Israel towards reaching our full potential as the nation that manifests HaShem’s Ideal in all spheres of life. This national mission is the essence of what a king must fully absorb into himself so that he may place Israel’s honor and wellbeing before his own. Such leadership is vital for Israel to succeed in bringing about history’s ultimate goal – that the Divine Ideal be seen, felt and perceived in everything that exists so that all may understand themselves as active participants in the greater story of mankind. It is the deterministic blueprint of human development that all peoples unify behind Jerusalem’s leadership in ushering in a world of total goodness and perfection – a world where each people fully expresses itself as an essential organ of a greater body with Israel serving as the heart.

Hanukah: Celebrating Hebrew Sovereignty Over Eretz Yisrael

For an entire generation, the ancient Judeans waged a struggle for freedom, which, in terms of intensity, has almost no parallel in human history. It was among the first recorded wars of liberation and it laid a model for nearly every revolution that followed. With an unbreakable faith and willingness to sacrifice, a handful of valiant Hebrew fighters forged the eternal covenant that resistance to tyranny is the highest and truest service to HaShem.

In those years, the cultural colonization to which the Seleucid Empire aspired was at its peak. Hellenist values and practices were imposed on the native Hebrews by means of harsh edicts and the swords of foreign soldiers. The victimization of the weak, rampant debauchery and the desecration of the Temple were pinnacles of the Greek culture bestowed upon Judea. In Jerusalem, the urban upper class yearned to be citizens of Antioch and to transform their ancient city into an “enlightened” Greek Polis. When the uprising began, it arose from the mountain folk who remained loyal to the Torah and to the heritage of their fathers. They were led by the Hasmoneans – Matityahu and his five courageous sons. The flame of revolt was kindled in Modiin and quickly spread like wildfire through the hills of Judea. After Matityahu’s death, his third son Yehuda took command. He became the Maccabee and his guerrilla army moved in two decisive channels – resistance to foreign culture and armed struggle against foreign soldiers. Two wars with one goal of Hebrew independence in Judea.

The Maccabean revolt was not merely a struggle to revoke harsh decrees or secure freedom of worship. Hebrew sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael is the foundation for proper Torah observance (see Mishnah Torah Hilkhotanukah 3:1, the Ramban’s supplement to the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot 4, Shulan Arukh Even HaEzer 75:6,Pesikta Rabati 34, Magid Mesharim Parshat Vayikra and esed L’Avraham 3:7) and HaShem’s Divine blueprint for mankind demands Jewish independence in the historic Jewish homeland.

The Hasmoneans were determined. After several Judean victories and the liberation of Jerusalem, the Seleucid Syrian-Greeks offered a truce. Freedom of worship would be restored to the natives in exchange for ending their armed struggle for independence. There were some Jewish leaders naïve enough to accept the terms. A misunderstanding of our Torah caused those weak in spirit and tired of war to believe that they had already achieved their objectives. The Hasmonean faction, however, understood their obligation to liberate the Land of Israel from foreign rule. They also knew that without full political independence, there could be no lasting peace or real freedom of worship, as the spirit of Greece could again seek to dominate. Yehuda declared that the revolution must continue until Judea would be free from foreign influence and foreign soldiers. After nearly three decades of ferocious conflict, the Hasmoneans triumphed and the Kingdom of Israel was restored (Hilkhot anukah 3:1).

When the Seleucid-Greek Empire began to persecute Israel, the devout heroism of Matityahu and his sons awakened within their people aspirations for self-rule. This desire for freedom – which had not strongly surfaced prior to the oppression – was catalyzed by the persecution and the fierce backlash it provoked. National independence was eventually declared and this declaration itself served as a sacred barrier against the forces of Hellenization as the very desire for self-determination psychologically impedes assimilation into the culture of an occupying power. Yet without Matityahu and his sons – the warrior-priests who imbued the political ideal with spiritual content – the revolution would have lacked sufficient force to keep fighting and withstand the prolonged hardships of war. This is demonstrated through the miracle of the oil. The pure cruse with the seal of the High Priest shone brightly, its light permeating the collective soul of the Hebrew Nation and bestowing upon Israel the strength to fight on.

Perhaps the most important lesson of anukah is that light is not merely another creation but rather Creation’s ultimate goal. The Maharal of Prague teaches in Ner Mitzvah that the world was created deficient so that mankind could actively participate as partners in its perfection. Human beings are given free will in order that we choose to involve ourselves in bringing the world to its ultimate goal. As the main protagonist in the drama of human history, Israel is tasked with revealing this truth, thereby leading mankind to its predestined ideal state.

Israel’s mission of bringing the world to the awareness of HaShem can only be accomplished through the Jewish people sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael with the Torah serving as our national constitution. Only through this specific formula can Israel thin the veils of human perception and reveal the Divine light constantly present in our world, leading mankind to recognize and experience HaShem as the infinite Whole that creates, sustains and permeates all.

While the light of G-D’s Truth is always present, it is often hidden from man’s consciousness by curtains of perception. It is Israel’s task to remove those curtains and to reveal the Divine light – to bring the world to a state of perfection where all humankind achieves ultimate fulfillment and expression through a higher awareness of our relationship to HaShem.

Although G-D’s presence is hidden in day-to-day events, He continues to work through the system that He created in order to return that very system back to the full expression of His Ideal. Through a Divinely guided historical process, all of existence is sanctified and brought to the collective awareness of its inner relationship to its fundamental Source. Not only supernatural miracles but also the entire world, with all of its natural laws, is being pulled toward Creation’s ultimate goal through the story of Israel’s national rebirth on our native soil. The full restoration of the Hebrew Kingdom in our homeland will dissolve the remaining veils and bring all humanity to finally recognize themselves as unique aspects and expressions of a much greater Reality.

Rabbi Moshe aim Lutzatto teaches in Derekh HaShem that G-D placed forces of evil into our story as an essential ingredient enabling free will and human growth. These dark forces have been tasked with working to prevent Israel from bringing Creation to its goal. Throughout history, this evil has manifested itself as four main human empires, each attempting in its own unique way to impede Israel from reaching our full potential as the nation that will express the Divine Ideal in all spheres of human existence. This is the inner battle between light and darkness raging through the annals of human civilization.

The four empires – Babylon, Persia, Greece and Edom – that have dominated the globe throughout most of world history emerged from the inherently deficient nature of existence and aim to maintain the curtains of perception through preventing Israel from reaching our full national potential. Each of these empires, however, has had it’s own unique method for obstructing the Jewish mission.

Knowing that the Hebrews must be in Eretz Yisrael in order to fulfill our national function in Creation, the Babylonians worked to physically separate us from our land. They forcibly uprooted us from our borders and then graciously provided us with material prosperity on foreign soil. This simple separation from our homeland, although Jews remained Torah observant in the Diaspora, was enough to prevent HaShem’s light from being revealed. The soil of Babylon was simply not conducive to Israel accomplishing our Divine historic mission.

The Persians had a different approach. Haman convinced his king to completely annihilate the Jews. By removing the bearers of HaShem’s light from the world, he believed he could succeed in snuffing out the Divine flame.

The Greeks did not try to remove the Jews from our homeland, nor did they initially attempt a physical destruction. Instead, the spirit of Greece sought to pollute Israel’s culture by reducing G-D’s Torah to the level of a human wisdom on par with other notable wisdoms of the time. The Torah’s Divinity was viewed as a threat to Greek philosophy, which valued human intellect above all else and could not tolerate wisdom beyond mortal comprehension. Unsatisfied with the success of this spiritual assault, the Seleucid Syrian-Greeks then sought to forcibly sever the Hebrew Nation from our authentic culture through the brutal enforcement of cruel decrees against adherence to Torah Law.

These three empires each attacked an essential component to Israel fulfilling our national purpose. The fourth antagonist, however, which first emerged as the Roman Empire and has since taken on several manifestations, is a combination of all three attempts in a much more destructive and concentrated form.

Throughout the last two thousand years, the Western world (Edom) has tried its hand at all three methods on countless occasions. Three recent examples are the terrible Holocaust in Europe less than a century ago, the British Empire restricting Jewish entry to our homeland and the Soviet Union forcibly separating its Jews from their Torah. The international community’s insistence on not permitting Israel to assert sovereignty over the whole of our country and the resources spent by Western governments on diluting the State of Israel’s authentic Jewish character are just two modern expressions of this evil force, subconsciously aware that its end is at hand. A candle flickers brightest immediately before it is extinguished and today the world seems ready to amass itself against Jerusalem. As Israel experiences a national rebirth on our native soil, the forces of darkness are gathering their strength to wage a final war to snuff out our light. In the wake of Israel’s triumph, Edom’s depravity will be exposed and mankind’s thinking will be liberated from the cultural tyranny of two thousand years. Concepts of righteousness, morality and truth will be elevated to meanings of newer and higher significance as Israel draws back the curtains of perception and reveals HaShem’s light to all of mankind.

It is Beginning…

The Torah begins with the dawn of Creation. To fully appreciate this narrative, one must recognize history to be more than a mere series of coincidences. There is a purpose to existence and a mission incumbent upon Israel to fulfill. Rashi explains the first verse of our Torah to teach that the entire reason for the description of Creation is to establish the G-D of Israel as the Creator and Master of the universe. HaShem creates, sustains and affectionately empowers all that exists. History has a goal and the ability for mankind to successfully reach this goal has been compassionately built into the system of Creation, existing specifically within the vehicle of Knesset Yisrael – the giant spiritual organism revealed in our world through the Jewish people in space and time. Israel’s earthly function is to perfect the world through the establishment of a kingdom that will manifest the Divine Ideal in all spheres of human behavior and bring all living beings to the awareness of themselves as unique sparks of the one and only absolute Reality – that there is nothing outside of Him and that all of Creation exists unified within Him. Israel’s mission of Divine perfection requires us to elevate this world to its highest potential – the initial ideal behind Creation from its inception.

History’s goal, clearly revealed only at the end of the process, is what has been pushing all major and minor occurrences from the start. All people and events up until today have only existed for the Divine goal that will be gloriously revealed through its ultimate fulfillment. Man – the crowning pinnacle of Creation – was not fashioned until the sixth day. Everything else appeared to have been set up in advance and the only thing introduced after human beings is the Shabbat. While it could be assumed that something as important as mankind or Shabbat should have been fashioned before all else, an explanation is found in the Lekha Dodi song, which states “sof ma’ase b’maḥashava t’ḥila” – “last in deed, first in thought.” Shabbat was the very last act of Creation but primary in the Kadosh Barukh Hu’s Divine blueprint for the world. Whenever a monumental project is envisioned, several preparations must be made for that project’s goal to be attainable. That there would be a weekly day of kedusha in our world was foremost in HaShem’s plan. But it was necessary for the entire universe to exist beforehand.

The same idea holds true for mankind. The finale reveals the original objective. In theShabbat Musaf tefillah, the first twenty-two words of the paragraph Tikanta Shabbatbegin with the letters of our alphabet in reverse order, moving from Tav to Aleph. This concept, referred to as Tashrak (Tav, Shin, Reish, Koof…), shows the Aleph as symbolizing the One – the Divine Ideal and universal awareness of HaShem as the infinite Whole in which we all exist. The Tav represents an illusion of multiplicity, symbolizing that which is seemingly base and material as opposed to the evidentkedusha expressed by the Aleph. The closer something comes to the Aleph – to its ultimate goal and true essence – the more explicitly its inner holiness is revealed. Projects of great value are generally built from the bottom up with secure foundations that appear insignificant when judged in isolation from the greater enterprise. While at the early stages of an endeavor, the full grandeur is hidden as it appears mundane or often even iniquitous, the concept of Tashrak teaches that the ideal comes at the end in order to reveal the kedusha of the entire process. 

The Maharal of Prague teaches in Netzaḥ Yisrael that Creation begins with the most mundane creatures and then leads up to the formation of man and eventually Israel. He points out that Am Yisrael was the last of the nations to enter the stage of history while every other people had previously existed. Israel was created last, but possesses within our collective soul the ability to achieve man’s lofty mission of bringing every living creature to fully actualize and express itself as a unique aspect of the greater ultimate Reality we call HaShem.

The purpose of Creation is to build a world of total perfection where all will recognize HaShem as not only the Creator and Divine Source of all that exists but also as transcending all of existence and beyond. It is the Hebrew mission to achieve a world that is entirely just and harmoniously unified in the universal recognition and awareness of this truth.



“And G-D saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good.” (BEREISHIT 1:31)

The Rambam comments that everything was fit for its exact purpose and able to function appropriately within Creation. He further teaches in the fifth chapter of his introduction to Pirkei Avot that “Man should place one goal before his eyes: the comprehension of G-D – glorified be He – to the full extent of mortal potential. This means to know Him. One should divert all of his activities, endeavors and even his relaxation toward that goal, to the extent that none of his activities are purposeless – i.e., that they do not lead to this goal.”

The Divine Oneness of HaShem and the harmonious unity of existence within Him is the deterministic blueprint of all human history that will be revealed to mankind through the story of the Hebrew Nation. The Kingdom of Israel will rise and – as the heart of mankind – pump Divine blessing to the rest of humanity. Political independence in our historic homeland is the prerequisite for our bringing the world towards perfection and higher consciousness. The national rebirth of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael brings with it an entire revolution in the thinking of man. Concepts of morality, justice and truth will be clarified and elevated beyond their current human limitations through Israel’s ascension and exemplary example. This will occur through the Jewish people living a full and all-encompassing national life of kedusha that infuses every sphere of human existence with meaning and blessing, from sanitation and social services to governance and diplomacy. The light of HaShem’s Ideal will be perceived in every detail of life as His chosen people builds a model society on the land uniquely created for this mission. The ultimate good pushing history forward from the start will be revealed through the redemption of the Hebrew Nation.


The Tur, commenting on the Shulḥan Arukh (Oraḥ Ḥaim 286), discusses the notion of Tashrak regarding Israel’s redemption. The concept of the Divine Ideal becoming exposed in all of its glory at the end of a seemingly mundane process refers specifically to the redemption of the Jewish people.

History has already begun to witness the process of our redemption through the Land of Israel bringing forth abundant produce after so many centuries of dismal infertility. The ancient Hebrew language has experienced an unbelievable revival and the Jewish people has gained sovereignty over much of Eretz Yisrael. Israel has achieved miraculous victories in war and tremendous innovations in the fields of medicine and technology.

While some may still doubt the spiritual value and extraordinary significance of what is transpiring, these skeptics can rest assured that when history reaches the Aleph of the process, all will be able to appreciate the kedusha of even the seemingly extraneous Tav. Even that which appeared to be secular, or at times even hostile to our ancient collective yearnings, has come only to prepare the way for the full expression of HaShem’s Ideal for this world. The strong physical body of the Hebrew Nation reborn in our land – first erected by Jewish pioneers and statesmen seemingly uninterested in Israel’s Torah – has been built for the purpose of housing the giant spirit that will bring all Creation full circle to its ultimate goal – the Aleph that has been pushing since the beginning of time.

CONNECTING TO SINAI: The Festival of Shavuot

The verse immediately following the account of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Israel by G-d at Mt. Sinai, which summarizes the experience of that greatest of all days, reads: “And the whole people saw the voices and the torches and the shofar blast and the smoking mountain…” (Exodus 20:15).

In Kabbalah, we are taught that the four levels of the peoples experience–

  1. seeing the voices

  2. the torches

  3. the shofar blast

  4. the smoking mountain

–correspond to the consummate experience of the four components/letters of G-d’s Name:


chocmah wisdom voices yud
binah understanding torches hei
midot emotions shofar blast vav
malchut expression smoking mountain hei



The opening verb of the verse, “and the whole people saw” (literally, “seeing,” in the present tense), refers in general to all the four levels of the verse, but in particular refers to the first of the four: “seeing the voices” (and refers to the words spoken by G-d, as noted by Rashi). Our Sages take this to mean that when the Torah was given to Israel, the experience of Divinity of G-d’s absolute Oneness was so intense that it unified and synthesized the human senses of seeing and hearing: “seeing the heard and hearing the seen.” This reflects the level of Divine wisdom in the soul–chochmah, the yud of G-d’s Name–which is the only power of the soul which perceives directly Divine unity.

The torches” represent the inner flame of the soul, its desire to return and become consumed in G-d’s Infinite Light. This is the experience of the depth of understanding and meditation, binah, the higher hei of G-d’s Name.

IChassidut we are taught that “the shofar blast” represents the Divine power to “bring down” and impress the words of G-d on the heart of man. The shofar blast causes the heart to first tremble in awe of G-d, and thereafter to desire with all the strength of one’s emotions to live by G-d’s word and walk in His path. The root of the word shofar means “to improve”–the source of motivation in the heart to ever improve and progress in one’s fulfillment of Torah. This level of Divine experience corresponds to the midot, the emotions of the heart, the vav of G-d’s Name.

The first three levels of Divine experience at Sinai are all revelations from above. The final, consummating level of the experience is “arousal from below”–the “smoking mountain.” The word “smoking” (ashein) is explained in the Kabbalah to be an acronym for the three all-inclusive dimensions of (physical) reality: “world” (“olam” = space), “year” (“shanah” = time) and “soul” (“nefesh” = living human body). The mountain itself symbolizes the lowest of the physical elements of creation, earth, uplifting itself towards heaven.

To see the mountain “smoking” is to experience the Divine spark innate in all dimensions of physical reality, arousing itself in desire to return to G-d, the Creator. This corresponds to malchut, the final hei of G-d’s Name (referred to in Kabbalah and Chassidut as “the lower teshuvah” in contrast to the “higher teshuvah” of the first hei of G-d’s Name, described above).

When we stay up on Shavuot night, we are all able, each and every one of us on his or her own level, to re-experience the giving of the Torah at Sinai. The mystery of G-d’s Ineffable Name becomes engraved on the essence of our souls. In all facets of our lives, we become able to experience His Absolute Unity, the “return” of our finite consciousness to His Infinite Light, the walking in (i.e., emulating) His ways, and the elevation of all creation to recognize its Creator.

With this rectified consciousness we proceed to become true vessels, with open eyes, to behold the revelation of Moshiach and the true and complete redemption of all reality. May we merit this–this year, Amen!

Originally Posted on Gal Einai

In Every Generation We Must Take Control of the Land of Israel

“‘Take a census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel according to their families, according to their fathers’ household, by number of the names, every male according to their headcount. From twenty years of age and up – everyone who goes to the army in Israel – you shall count them for their armies, you and Aharon. And with you shall be one man from each tribe; a man who is leader of his father’s household.’” (BAMIDBAR 1:2-4)

BAMIDBAR begins with the decree that Israel take a national census. Many of history’s great Torah luminaries explain the entire purpose of this count to have been for the organization of a military force that would liberate the Land of Israel from foreign rule. The holy Ohr Haaim even adds that there was a hidden miracle involved in the census – that every man counted was in top physical condition and eligible for combat service.

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 the Shulḥan 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 Arukh, Even HaEzer section 75, Pitḥei Tshuva 6)

The mitzvah of implementing Hebrew sovereignty over our homeland can only be fulfilled through an Israeli army. Without such a national military force, Israel would not be capable of waging the war of liberation necessary for the fulfillment of this Divine commandment.

Israel’s military in modern times is known as the Israel Defense Forces. That the official name of our army is a conceptual error on the part of our political leadership has been sufficiently proven by history since its inception. Rather than simply warding off external threats, the primary function assumed by this “defense force” is actually that of a liberation army reconquering its land. Because Israel has not always taken the initiative, however, history has forced us to retake our country piece by piece. Through being attacked by hostile nations unlawfully reigning over parts of our homeland, the IDF has launched strikes resulting in the liberation of portions of our country. However poorly misnamed, the IDF constitutes the army of the Hebrew Nation fulfilling themitzvah of freeing the Jewish homeland from foreign rule.

The Rambam (in Hilkhot Melakhim 5:1) provides an additional definition for amilḥemet mitzvah as any war fought to assist Israel from hostile gentiles. The Shulḥan Arukh (Oraḥ Ḥaim 329:6) rules that if Jews are attacked, even on the Sabbath, it is a commandment to organize a defense force and counter-attack. The Rema adds that even if the enemy has not yet attacked but Israel suspects that a strike may be imminent, war should be waged – even on the Sabbath – as a pre-emptive measure.

In its secondary function, Israel’s army serves as the defense force it dubs itself. The great strength and dedication of the IDF spring from the noble resolution that never again shall Jews be slaughtered without a fight. While the primary function of Israel’s army often exists only in our nation’s collective subconscious, the resolution of “never again” is the conscious driving force behind the IDF – a willingness to take responsibility for the welfare of the Jewish people and a yearning to free Israel from a world of brutality.

In the Song of Dvorah, the prophetess praises and rebukes Hebrew tribes based on their behavior during Barak’s war against Canaan.

“The leaders of Yissakhar were with Dvorah, and so was Yissakhar with Barak, into the valley he was sent on his feet. But in the indecision of Reuven there was great deceit. Why did you remain sitting at the borders to hear the bleating of the flocks? The indecision of Reuven demands great investigation. Gilad dwelled across the Jordan; and Dan – why did he gather onto ships? But Asher lived by the shores of the seas and remained to protect his open borders. Zevulun is a people that risked its life to the death, and so did Naphtali, on the heights of the battlefield.” (SHOFTIM 5:15-18)

While recording the responses of various tribes and cities during the battle, Dvorah reveals the spiritual importance of participation in Israel’s wars.

“‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of HaShem, ‘Curse! Cursed are its inhabitants, for they failed to come to help HaShem to help the nation of HaShem against the mighty.’” (SHOFTIM 5:23)

The Radak explains Meroz to have been a Hebrew city near the battlefield that refrained from joining Barak’s campaign. The prophetess attacks Meroz for not assisting theKadosh Barukh Hu to assist Israel, revealing that Divine support comes to those who help themselves. If we expect miracles to be performed on our behalf, we are required to take the initiative and meet HaShem half way (so to speak).

Our Sages (Brakhot 20a) ask why miracles rarely occurred in Talmudic times as oppose to the many open miracles in Biblical times. The Sages question if it might have been because Jews in Talmudic times were learning less Torah. But the Talmud dismisses this and answers that there were generations in Biblical times that studied less Torah yet still experienced great open miracles. The Talmud continues by revealing that it is not due to a difference in learning but rather in the level of self-sacrifice within the Nation of Israel. The Hebrews of Biblical times were more prepared to risk their lives for the sake of Israel’s mission and HaShem’s Divine Ideal for this world. The Talmud therefore concludes that miracles are the result of courage and selfless devotion. WhenAm Yisrael displays great valor in battle, we are often rewarded with miraculous victories.

In his Guide to the Perplexed, the Rambam enumerates eleven distinct levels of nevua(with Moshe surpassing them all). As the Jewish people returns home to our land and to independence, we have already seen sparks of the Divine Spirit resurface, specifically among those whose compassion for their people has empowered them to break through their own psychological barriers. Clear illustrations of what the Rambam describes as the initial level can be found in the valor and heroism of Israeli soldiers whose deeds resemble those of Shimshon, of whom it says: “A spirit of HaShem came over him… and he struck down thirty men” (SHOFTIM 14:19).

The Talmud (Baba Metzia 106b) states that a shepherd’s rescue of his flock from a lion or bear may be considered a miracle. In answering the question of where the miracle lies in this seemingly natural – albeit impressive – act, the Tosafot explain that the miracle is to be found in the shepherd’s “spirit of courage and willingness to fight.” This spirit of valor is a miracle from above – an inspired inner greatness spurring one to rise to the needs of the hour.

In addition to being an army of liberation and a defense force, the IDF is also the national organization for the creation of miracles. Through the great self-sacrifice and dedication of our soldiers – men ready to give their lives for the future of the Jewish people – miracles become an almost regular occurrence. Modern history has shown that acts of great courage do not only lead to protection from danger but also to astonishing victories on the battlefield. Because miracles are often the result of self-sacrifice, the IDF – which breeds this valor – should be viewed as playing a role in the production of these miracles. While Israel is forbidden from relying on miracles, we are certainly encouraged to help the Kadosh Barukh Hu create them.

The Torah is meant to be lived in this world according to the laws of nature that HaShem set in motion. By participating in every facet of life, the Nation of Israel is able to uplift all spheres of existence to their highest and most productive functions in Creation. By implying that all twenty-year-old males should be serving in Israel’s army, the Torah is revealing that even the military requires Torah guidance in order that it fully express its inherent kedusha as part of manifesting the Divine Ideal for this world. And by sanctifying all areas of life according to His Torah, Israel will revolutionize mankind’s perception of reality, bringing humanity to recognize the Oneness of HaShem and leading the world into an era of unparalleled blessing.

At the End of Days they Will Come for Jerusalem

As the Obama presidency winds down, observers are watching if he will take any unilateral action against the State of Israel.  Arguments abound on both sides, yet we who understand that these times cannot be judged on the logic of the past know that something else is afoot.  It’s true Obama can do little actual damage to Israel in a physical way, but with a number of resolutions on the table in the UNSC there is a clear trajectory to create a situation where just by an American abstention a de facto Palestinian State will be created. This state will forcibly divide Jerusalem, ripping out the Jewish Nation’s capital from within it and handing most of the holy sites to a made up people that never existed. All this will be on paper, left for Trump to deal with. Of course we all know that Donald Trump nor his senior advisers believe in a two state solution nor will they want to pressure Israel, but international law will have already been created.

Don’t Worry, We Have Seen This Show Before

History is neither linear nor static, but rather spiral. We understand that the Torah is the blueprint of Creation and in it is the archetypes for all time. The Palestinians draw their name from the British Mandate of Palestine, which in turn drew its name from the Roman colony of the same name, which was given by the Romans upon their expulsion of the Jews from Judea as well as the rest of the Land of Israel.

Why did the Romans name it Palestine? The Romans wanted to drive a knife into the collective heart of the Jewish people and chose the name of the long vanquished enemy of the first Kingdom of Israel, the Philistines.  The Hebrew root of Philistine means invader or one who invades. The Philistines came to invade the land of Israel even at the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is in this original setting that we understand the Philistine archetype is built into the creation until the end.

In this past week’s Torah portion Isaac busies himself in digging out the wells of his father Abraham.  These wells were stopped up by the Philistines.  In fact it clearly says they stopped them because the Philistines were jealous of Abraham and then Isaac.  Instead of asking to share the water, they preferred to block up the abundance which the Creator had given Abraham and his offspring.

At the End of Days, many Nations will attempt to utilize the false nation of Palestine to make one last chance to block Godliness from the world. This is why the ambush at the UNSC is happening. Jerusalem is the ultimate wellspring.  It is the ultimate source for Godliness in the world and it is in this place the nations of the world will fulfill the prophecy, either physically or politically that is so clearly spelled out in Zecharia chapter 12.

Zecharia Chapter 12;

1 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The saying of the LORD, who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him:
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of staggering unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it fall to be in the siege against Jerusalem.

3 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.
4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with bewilderment, and his rider with madness; and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness.
5 And the chiefs of Judah shall say in their heart: ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength through the LORD of hosts their God.’
6 In that day will I make the chiefs of Judah like a pan of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left; and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah.
8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that stumbleth among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as a godlike being, as the angel of the LORD before them.
9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches us that the world was flipped on its head after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.  His student Reb Nosson teaches further that the point of the fiery sword, which flipped around and around was to block the re-entry of people to an orderly morality. The evil people seem to win and the righteous suffer, but at the end it all flips back the way it was originally supposed to be. The UNSC can vote whatever way they choose, but they should know they are only playing a role that was already prewritten for them.


Getting Passed the Flood

“Noah, with his sons, his wife and his sons’ wives with him, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood.” (BEREISHIT 7:7)

Rashi comments on this verse that Noaḥ was a man of inadequate faith. He believed yet at the same time did not believe that the flood HaShem warned of would actually come about. He therefore hesitated to enter the ark until the waters had come and forced him inside.

“Rabbi Yoḥanan said, ‘Noaḥ lacked Emunah. Had the waters not reached his ankles, he would not have entered the ark.’” (Bereishit Rabbah 32:6)

Even Noaḥ, a man whom the Torah describes as “a righteous man, perfect in his generations” (BEREISHIT 6:9), was capable of lacking complete Emunah. Rashi therefore calls him one who “believed and did not believe.”

The Hebrew word Emunah denotes something significantly greater than what is generally implied by the English term “faith.” It is an absolute certainty beyond rational thought and a wisdom that must be diligently studied in order to deepen our understanding and elevate our consciousness. The study of Emunah infuses us with the vision to see history’s ultimate goal as well as the confidence that we will succeed in bringing this goal to fruition.

Far from misleading us to rely on miracles or to alleviate ourselves from responsibility to achieve progress, the certitude of our ultimate triumph, as well as the awareness of HaShem’s unity and mastery over all, includes the knowledge that we were specifically placed into this world in order to succeed according to the natural order of Creation. True Emunah entails not only token human effort but also initiative planned out and strategically executed according to the laws of nature established for our world. Even the greatest heroes of Israel’s past, who walked in G-D’s ways and led our people to great victories, devoted serious time to planning out their efforts according to sound military strategies, geo-political realities and other earthly considerations. But the knowledge that we all participate in a story authored by HaShem and that the Nation of Israel represents His Divine Ideal in this story empowers us with the confidence and determination to overcome all fears and prevail over seemingly impossible odds.

Noaḥ’s complex of “believing and not believing” is completely incompatible with the authentic Hebrew worldview and causes Jews to drift away from our ideal Divine state. It was this very lack of complete Emunah that had caused the Kingdom of Israel to split in ancient times. When King Shlomo married the daughter of Pharaoh, with the intention of forging a political alliance with Egypt, HaShem admonished him, saying “Since this has happened to you, and you have not kept My covenant and My decrees that I have commanded you, I shall surely tear away the kingship from you and give it to your servant.” (MELAKHIM I 11:11)

King David prophetically writes in the first verse of TEHILLIM 127: “A song of ascents for Shlomo. If HaShem will not build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”

Rashi teaches that “David dedicated this psalm to his son Shlomo, who Divine Inspiration informed him would construct the Temple and wed Pharaoh’s daughter on the same day… He therefore sang this psalm, meaning, ‘Why, my son, should you build a Temple and turn away from G-D? Since G-D has no desire of it, its builders labor in vain.’”

For Shlomo’s transgression of marrying Pharaoh’s daughter, the Israeli Kingdom was split in the days of his son Reḥavam. But hope still existed to reunite the Hebrew Nation. HaShem declares “I shall afflict the descendants of David for this – but not for all time.” (MELAKHIM I 11:39)

Yalkut Shimoni quotes Seder Olam on this verse, stating: “Our sages said, ‘The monarchy was destined to return in Asa’s day had he not sinned.’”

Rashi explains this as “‘I will afflict David’s seed for this’: This corresponds to the thirty-six years Shlomo was married to Pharaoh’s daughter. He wed her in the fourth year of his reign, and it was due to her that the verdict was decreed for David’s Kingdom to be divided. It should have been reunited in the sixteenth year of Asa’s reign, but Asa sinned by sending a bribe to the king of Aram rather than relying on G-D.”

Radak supports this understanding and writes: “In Asa’s day it was destined to be restored, but Asa sinned: ‘In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel went up against Judea’ (DIVREI HAYAMIM II 16:1). It was only the sixteenth year of Asa’s reign, but thirty-six years after the reign of Shlomo, when the kingdom had been fated to be reunited. Yet because Asa sinned and relied on the king of Aram, it was not restored.”

The consequence for Shlomo’s transgression was that the Davidic Kingdom was divided for thirty-six years – the length of time Shlomo was married to Egypt’s princess. Therefore, the kingdom should have been restored and Israel should have been reunited in the sixteenth year of Shlomo’s great grandson Asa.

King Asa of Judea is described at the start of his reign as having done “what was proper in the eyes of HaShem, like his forefather David” (MELAKHIM I 15:11) but by his sixteenth year he appears to lack the necessary Emunah to merit the kingdom’s reunification. When attacked by King Baasha of Israel, Asa did not put his trust in HaShem and go to war (as he had done earlier against even mightier forces). Nor did he attempt to make peace with his fellow Hebrews. Instead, he sent a bribe from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem to the king of Aram. Rather than act with confidence according to his people’s values, he bribed a foreign king to help him war against Israel.

Because of this lack of Emunah – “believing and not believing” – HaShem’s Divine Ideal was profaned amongst the nations while Judea and Israel remained tragically divided. Instead of rectifying the misdeed of his great grandfather Shlomo, Asa augmented it by subjugating himself to a foreign ruler.

Asa was by and large a righteous king who had frequently put his trust in HaShem, winning miraculous victories against overwhelming enemy forces (DIVREI HAYAMIM II 14). But Asa suffered from the “Noaḥ complex.” Like Noaḥ, Asa believed in HaShem but at the same time lacked the Emunah required to successfully lead his people through difficult times. It could be that with age the strength of his inner certainty had depleted, demonstrating that it takes great courage and deep understanding not only to attain Emunah but also to maintain it in the face of future challenges. The story of King Asa teaches that it is not enough to have once been a great hero. A leader must constantly strive to maintain a level of greatness and not merely live off the merit and glory of past deeds. Only with a complete devotion to the Kadosh Barukh Hu and to the Jewish people’s national aspirations can one have the inner strength and fortitude to persevere against seemingly impossible odds. But in order to reach such a level of Emunah, it is necessary to internalize the meaning of the word “One” in the eternal declaration of “Hear O Israel, HaShem is our G-D, HaShem is One!”

The declaration “HaShem is One” does not merely assert that He is the only deity and none others exist but also that He is the very Source and Context of all existence. Because all of Creation is unified and actually exists as part of the greater ultimate Reality we call HaShem, the Kadosh Barukh Hu’s domain cannot be confined to what many refer to as the realm of “religion.” Attempting to restrict HaShem’s relevance to a house of study or prayer is actually an act of heresy as it denies His Oneness over all. As the timeless and boundless ultimate Reality without end, HaShem encompasses everything in Creation and beyond.

The Western model of separation between “religion” and “state” has absolutely no foundation in Israel’s Torah, which possesses no such concept as “giving unto G-D what is G-D’s and giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” The notion that a human ruler could possess independent power is actually a form of intellectual idolatry and to attribute any power to an idol is to essentially deny HaShem’s Divine Oneness over all.

There is a political misconception that Israel’s survival in modern times depends on the approval of gentile nations. This psychological subordination to foreign powers is one of the basest contemporary forms of idolatry responsible for preventing Israel from actualizing our full potential as the nation entrusted to manifest HaShem’s Ideal and shine the light of His Truth to mankind. Recognizing and embracing our unique historic role will empower us to confidently walk with the Kadosh Barukh Hu in implementing the most sensible and effective policies to advance our national aspirations and the collective Hebrew mission.

When we arrive at a solid understanding of “One” there becomes no room for the “Noaḥ complex” to exist. The learning of Emunah grants us the holistic perspective to recognize the challenges currently confronting our people as merely serving to better flavor this incredible chapter of Jewish history. The demand by foreign powers that Israel relinquish portions of our homeland is merely a means of testing – and ultimately strengthening – our vision and certainty in the righteousness of our cause and in our ultimate victory.

It is the responsibility of Israel’s Sages to guide the Hebrew Nation in overcoming the “Noaḥ complex” and understanding there to be absolutely nothing outside of the Kadosh Barukh Hu. It is with the deeper wisdom and higher consciousness acquired from the study of Emunah that Israel will succeed in advancing history forward, illuminating HaShem’s Oneness to all of Creation and bringing mankind to a future of unparalleled blessing.