As Allies Turn Away, A New Light Shines in Tzion

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As a Jew who recently made aliyah from America thinking that he understood the country he was leaving, I am astounded. The White House’s political betrayal of Israel reveals a disturbing reality in which Israel cannot depend on anyone. Whether the current policies will correct themselves in the near future, or whether they (G-d forbid) continue to get worse, the message is clear. Israel must become as militarily and economically self-sufficient as possible, as quickly as possible. 

Through all the pain and tribulations that Klal Yisrael is experiencing, there may be a silver lining in this betrayal. Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlop tz’l, prime disciple of Rav Kook and Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz HaRav in Jerusalem, explains (Mei Marom, Hagaddah shel Pesach) that there are two distinct stages of geulah. The first stage of redemption will be when the nations of the world willingly grant us the opportunity to leave the exile and return to our Holy Land. (Rav Charlop lived to see this stage of redemption, passing away in 1951.) Rav Charlop explains that the redemption from Egypt is the metaphysical source for all future redemptions. This initial phase of geulah finds its precedent in the Yetziat Mitzrayim story. After the crushing plague that brought death to all firstborns, Paroh willingly pleads for Bnei Yisrael to leave. The Egyptians shower valuables on the Jews as they escort them out. In fact, some Egyptians, infamously known as the Eiruv Rav, joined the Jews as they left Egypt. 

But there is a fundamental flaw with this form of redemption, especially when considering our connection to Eretz Yisrael. The holy Sochatchover Rebbe, Rav Avraham Bornstein, in a famous responsa regarding the mitzvah to reside in Eretz Yisrael (Avnei Neizer, Yoreh Deah 454), explains why it is problematic for a Jew living in the Holy Land to derive his sustenance from the Diaspora. The whole motivation for living in Eretz Yisrael is that Hashem directly “supervises” and provides for the needs of those who dwell there without any intermediary. A Jew rests directly under the wings of the Divine Presence and derives sustenance from HaKadosh Baruch Hu “personally”. In contrast, those who live in the Diaspora are forced to derive their sustenance via interceding angels who represent the other nations of the world. Hashem is the source of beracha, but it must “travel” through the impure spiritual pathways of the other nations. Hence, even if one is physically living in Eretz Yisrael but is deriving his sustenance from the Diaspora, he is still considered to be under the dominion of the sarei ha’umot, the ministering angels of foreign peoples. He has not experienced the full Divine embrace of the Ribono Shel Olam in Eretz Yisrael

The Land of Israel cannot experience full redemption until it becomes self-sufficient. As long as it derives its capabilities from outside its holy borders, Jerusalem cannot shine in her full beauty. Hence, explains Rav Charlop, the need for a second stage of redemption in which the nations withdraw their support. Just as Paroh retracted his promises and attempted to violently re-subjugate the Jewish people, the nations of the world will also attempt to reverse their initial allowance of the Jews to return. At this point, the Jews in Israel will become revolted with the sense of dependency on others who claim ownership over their destiny, and they will “vomit up” that which they have received. Only then will our prayers in Shacharit be fulfilled, “A new light will shine upon Tzion, and we will all speedily merit to experience its light.” Only when the entire world is dependent upon Jerusalem, and not the other way around, will the holy city become the “light of the entire world,” and the “eye of the universe”. 

The days ahead will be filled with fear and anxiety, and undoubtedly the Jews of Israel are still pathetically dependent upon the gifts of the sarei ha’umot. But it just may be that Hashem is clearing the way for the final stage of redemption, hardening the hearts of kings to retract their promises and force the Jews to march byad ramah, with a proud outstretched hand that defies those who lay claim to our destiny. A new light will shine from Jerusalem, and the entire world will be overwhelmed by the power of Tzion.

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