ישיבת כרם ביבנה

The Source of Anti-Semitism from a Torah Perspective: Part I

הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה

The Source of Anti-Semitism from a Torah Perspective (MS Word format)The Source of Anti-Semitism from a Torah Perspective: Part IIThe Source of Anti-Semitism from a Torah Perspective: Part III

 A. The Problem of Anti-Semitism

The phenomenon of hatred of Israel -- mistakenly called "Anti-Semitism," but essentially hatred of the Jews even by other Semitic nations -- is unique, because it is very difficult to explain it and to understand its roots. The fact is that it a consistent phenomenon in history, spanning time and space. Various attempts have been made to trace its source. However, not only do these different explanations disagree, they even conflict with and contradict one another. The question is, how can the same phenomenon stem from such varied and contrasting reasons? Some explain that the reason for the hatred is because the Jews are separatists and avoid assimilating with the nations, while others explain the phenomenon precisely because of the Jews' strong entry into the nations and their culture. The hatred in Germany prior to the Nazis' rise to power began against those Jews who called themselves "Germans of Mosaic Faith" and took pride in their belonging to and involvement in German culture.

Some attempt to explain this phenomenon based on the natural hatred towards the weak, while others describe the Jew as one who has Satanical powers and endangers society. They point to Jewish heads-of-state, economists, scientists, writers and intellectuals as proof of the Jews' attempts to seize control of the world.

One time the Jews are hated for being capitalists, and another for carrying the banner of Communism. Sometimes the hatred is explained based on the primitiveness of their aggressors, Ukrainian farmers or uneducated Poles, and sometimes the hatred is carried out by one of the most developed nations, intellectuals who cherish literature and music, without distinction.

The fact is that the Jews were chased in the east and the west, by drunkards and by philosophers, by believers and by heretics, by idolaters and by Christians of the "Faith of loving-kindness," by Fascists as by Socialists.

It must be, that the entire, extensive literature that deals with the problem of Anti-Semitism, comes only to offer explanations for the external symptoms, which are relevant only for their time and place. However, they do not reach the root of the matter, which is the foundation for all of the extending branches. The root has to be sought in the recesses of the mind, in the subconscious. If, for example, a person physically injures another without malicious intent, when the aggressor asks the victim for pardon the hard feelings are resolved. But if a person injures another when there is already tension between them, this causes an outbreak of anger, which anyway sought a means of release, and finds it in any available opportunity.

The hatred of Israel is a consistent phenomenon, an inviolate rule, which seeks different venues throughout the generations to express itself.

The Maharal deals with this in his explanation to Chazal's words in the Pesach Haggadah, "?? ???? ?? ??÷? ??? ????? ????? ???÷? ?????" ("Go and learn what Lavan the Armenian sought to do to Yaakov Avinu"). The question is, why did Chazal see fit to point specifically to Lavan as an example of hatred of Israel? He explains that this is because Lavan and Pharaoh opposed Israel "without cause," and writes:[1]

??, ?? ????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ????. ?? ??? ?????? ???????, ?? ??? ??? ??????? ???? ????? ????, ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ??????? ???? ????, ??? ???? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ????, ??? ??? ????? ???'. ??? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?"? ???? ????, ?? ?? ??? ???÷? ?÷ ????? ??????, ???? ????? ???'. ?? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??÷?, ??? ?? ????? ????, ??÷? ????? ???', ????? ????÷ ???? ?? ???? ?÷?? ????? ???', ???? ??? ???? ????.

At first glance, the Maharal does not bring us closer to resolving the problem, for, according to his view, the hatred is "without cause," and we should be all the more puzzled why the nations hate the Jews "without cause."

Actually, however, the Maharal's point is not that the hatred is something arbitrary, which does not warrant investigation. Rather his point is that one cannot pin the hatred on some obvious reason, but rather the root and source of the problem is hidden in the recesses of the unconscious. This is why we find different, at times even contradictory, reasons in each generation and place.

The following is an attempt to explain the phenomenon from a Torah perspective, in accordance with the ideas of Chazal and the Gedolim of Israel, but also incorporating statements written by non-Jews, so as to corroborate the concept from an external perspective as well.

 

B.  ??? ??? ("You are My Witnesses")

Before elaborating upon the idea, we will present it in brief. The struggle is actually between the heathens and G-d. It is between the heathen perspective, which says that man has no moral obligation towards the Master of the Universe, and teaching of Israel's Torah, which declares the rule of the Creator and His absolute authority to demand the subjugation of the inclination and an ethical life befitting a person who was created in the image of G-d.

"???? ??? ???? ?' ???? ?-?" ("You are My witnesses -- the word of Hashem -- and I am G-d").[2] Chazal say: "????? ??? ??? ?-?, ?????? ??? ???, ?????? ????? ?-????".[3] Israel testifies about the existence of G-d in the world. The hatred of the nations of the world is actually towards G-d Himself. However, they cannot fight against G-d, and therefore their war is directed towards those who represent Him in the world.

How do Israel serve as the witnesses of the Creator?

This role is accomplished in two ways: One, in a passive manner, through Divine Providence over them. Two, through their destiny and willing activities.

 

C. ???? ???? ???? ("Remember the Days of Yore")

Am Yisrael, through their history, fate, and eternity, clearly prove the existence of a Creator, not only as a single event, but rather as an ongoing activity, "????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??????". He observes, takes interest, and leads towards the goal: "??? ??????, ???? ??÷?? ????? ??????", and shines a new light on Zion. It is impossible to understand the history of Israel without taking into account the Hand that directs it.

It is a nation that has survived for thousands of years without any elements of nationalism -- scattered in all four corners of the earth, without a state or rulership, without a common language, subject to threats of annihilation, pogroms, Crusades, the Inquisition and Holocaust -- and, despite all this, it has a sense of unity with all of its dispersed members, and is still united in its cultural roots.

In contrast to every other nation that is exiled from its country and tries to re-establish itself in a new land, Am Yisrael never forgot its land and never ceased praying for its return to its source.

An even greater wonder is that the land also remained faithful to the nation, and did not accept any foreign rule or other nation.

The greatest wonder, however, is that all of Jewish history, as much as it is unique and strange, and flies in the face of all the rules of history and statistics, was foreseen and outlined more than three thousand years ago. This has great significance. A scientist who discovers a rare phenomenon in his laboratory attempts to explain it based on a theory that he develops. It may be correct, or it may not be, since another explanation of the phenomenon is also possible. Not so when a scientist develops a theory and then attempts to prove it based on predictions, that based on his assumptions a certain phenomena should appear in the future. When this phenomenon indeed occurs, as he predicted, this is a proof to the correctness of his claim.

We are not coming now to explain the special and unusual events of Jewish history retroactively. We are now grasping, in one hand, the Sefer Torah and the Prophets from thousands of years ago, and, in the other hand, a book that describes Jewish history, and comparing them. We are astounded to realize how much they match, and how the words of the prophets were fulfilled.

We read about a situation in which Israel does not obey G-d, and they will scattered amongst the nations: [4]

??? ?? ????? ?? ... ????? ?? ????? ???? ???????? ?? ?÷????? ... ????? ???? ????? ???'. ???????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ???????, ???? ???? ÷?? ??? ??? ???' ?????? ????? ????? ???? ??? ???????.

This idea repeats itself in Sefer Devarim in tens of verses and describes in shocking terms the difficult tribulations of exile, all of which transpired." ?????? ?' ?÷?? ???? ??? ÷?? ???? ???' ??÷? ???? ?? ??? ???, ????? ???? ?? ??? ?÷?, ???? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ????" ("Hashem will scatter you among all the peoples ... In the morning you will say, 'Who can give back last night!' And in the evening you will say, 'Who can give back this morning!' -- for the fright of your heart that you will fear and the sight of your eyes that you will see").[5]

However, the conclusion of the process will not be what normally occurs to other nations in a similar situation. Something entirely different will occur to Israel.

??? ?? ??? ?????? ???? ???????, ?? ?????? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ???.[6]

??? ?' ?? ????? ?????, ??? ?÷??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?' ?-???? ???. ?? ???? ???? ?÷?? ????? ??? ?÷??? ?' ?-???? ???? ?÷??. ?????? ?' ?-???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ??????, ??????? ????? ???????.[7]

There is a Divine commitment to end the exile and dispersion, to ingather the exiles and return them to their land. If one should ask, what is the guarantee that we will return to our land? After all, when a nation is exiled from its land, another nation usually comes and settles in its place. The answer to this is, "???????? ??? ?? ????, ????? ???? ??????? ??????? ??" ("I will make the land desolate; and your foes who dwell upon it will be desolate").[8] There is a Divine promise here that the land will wait for its children, and no other nation will be able to settle in it, because the land will not accept them.

The Ramban writes there that, indeed, the land has remained desolate since we left it, despite all the attempts to settle it:

??? ???? "????? ???? ???????", ??? ????? ????, ????? ??? ???????, ???? ????? ?÷??? ?? ???????. ??? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ???, ?? ?? ???? ??? ?????, ??? ??? ??? ???? ?????, ???? ???? ????? ?????, ???? ???? ????. ?? ??? ????? ????, ?? ÷??? ???? ?????, ????? ??????? ??????? ???? ??? ???.

The Ramban saw the truth of this prophecy with his own eyes about seven hundred years ago, when he went to Israel to renew the Jewish settlement in the land. When he reached the gates of Yerushalayim, and when he saw the great destruction and abandonment, he offered a prayer, and, among other things, said:[9]

???? ???? ????? ???????.????? ??????? ????? / ????? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ??.??????? ????? ?????? ??? ??? ???÷?,????? ????? ???????? / ?????÷ ?? ???? ??????,??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???ְ??? / ????? ???? ??????,?????÷?? ??????, ??????? ???? ?÷???? ???? ??? ???? ??????,????? ????? ????, ????? ?? ????? ??? / ????? ????? ????, ????? ???.???? ?????? / ?÷?? ???? ????? ??????.?? ?? ???? ?????? ?? / ??? ?? ???? ????? ???, ?????? ??? ?ֵ?ֱ?ֵ?ֶ? ??? ?ֹ?ַּ ???.

The abandonment is great / in the midst of the fertile and wide land.For they are not fit for you / and you are not fit for them.

This image, of a desolate land waiting for her children, did not change. For hundreds of years after the Ramban came, the land did not give fruit, until her children returned to her. As the Gemara in Sanhedrin says:"???? ???? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ????, ??? ?? ÷? ????? ???, ???' '???? ??? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ÷??? ???'" ("When you see the mountains of Israel bearing fruit -- there is no clearer sign of the end [of the exile] than this").

We have testimonies of Christian pilgrims from about a hundred years ago, which describe the great barrenness of the land.

The Christians who captured Israel did not succeed in maintaining it, and it was merely a battlefield and graveyard for them. The Muslims, who took it from them, also abandoned it. Afterwards the Turks and Ottomans took control over it, and they are there to this day. They turned it into a barren desert, which is almost impossible to traverse without fear. Even the Arabs who dwell in it are temporary dwellers, who pitch their tents in any grazing area and find shelters in the ruins of the cities. Being foreigners and not masters of the land, they did not create anything. The desert wind that brought them there can carry them back in the same way, without leaving any trace.

G-d, who gave the Land to so many nations, did not allow any one of them to settle and to strike roots there. Without doubt, He saved it for the Children of Israel, for her stiff-necked children, who, with the passing of time, will be the pure and righteousness, about whom it says, "They will inherit the land."

A French author toured the Land in 1895, and put his impressions in writing. He describes the neglect of the Galil area and Teveria:

I toured the Galil in the spring, and I found it silent, under great shrouds of flowers ... The area was merely a desert of grass ... Here, as elsewhere, as in every place in Israel, the settlements and palaces returned to dirt, everything turned to a dark desert of shrubs and grass ... Teveria, which was an administrative city in the past, a healing place and fishing port -- not even one road leads to this Teveria. Alas! Slumber has fallen upon these ancient cities in the east. A mournful abandonment lies on all of the Holy Land.

A similar testimony, from 1874, is given by a priest about the Shefela (lowlands) and the Sharon:

We rode along the Shefela, which shone with a bright green shade of the beginning of spring, and we picked handfuls of countless flowers ... We were able to identify with the poets and Hebrew prophets, who praised the splendor of the Sharon. But where are the inhabitants? This fruitful lowlands, which is able to support a great population, is almost completely desolate. Two or three small, measly villages, no more. Mounds of clay huts, these are the only representatives of the many, bustling cities that were here in its time. Here and there a lone Arab is seen plowing with a plow that does not differ from that of his ancestors. These were the only signs of life that we found. Day by day, we learned the lesson that was forced upon us here, that the ancient prophecies were fulfilled literally, "Desolate, without man and without inhabitants."

The fact that this was foreseen thousands of years ahead, brings us to the conclusion that it is impossible to understand the history of the People of Israel without taking into account the Divine hand which leads Am Yisrael, and all of mankind, to its goal.

Non-Jews also noted this wonder of the eternity of the nation. The American author, Mark Twain, writes about the wonder of the survival of the Jewish nation:

If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

"??? ??? ???? ?' ???? ?-?" ("You are My witnesses ... and I am G-d") -- This is the secret of Israel's eternity, because this is its role. The religious, historical experience of the Jewish nation, G-d's acts which are revealed throughout all of its history -- they are living testimony to the Revelation of the Divine power which operates in the nation, and they are proof to the living reality of G-d's Providence in nature. "??? ????? ??? ?????, ??? ???? ??? ????".[10]

Thus, the Jewish nation serves as a vehicle to reveal G-d in the world. They alone are fit for this.

When Moshe seeks pardon for the sin of the golden calf he argues, "??? ????? ????? ???? ??????" (Why should Egypt say, "With evil intent he took them out").[11] Similarly, at the sin of the spies he says, "????? ????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ????? ?' ?????? ?? ????" ???' ("The nations that heard of Your fame will say, 'Because Hashem lacked the ability to bring this people to the Land that He had sworn to give them, He slaughtered them in the Wilderness'").[12] G-d Himself says, "????? ?????? ?????? ????? ????, ???? ??? ???? ????, ?? ????? ?????, ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? ?' ??? ?? ???" ("I had said, 'I will scatter them, I will cause their memory to cease from man' -- were it not that the anger of the enemy was pent up, lest his tormenters misinterpret; lest they say 'Our hand was raised in triumph, and it was not Hashem who accomplished all this'").[13] The Ramban writes about this:[14]

????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ??????, ?? ?? ????? ???? ???? ???', ??? ??? ??? ?? ???? ????????, ????? ????? ????? ????, ??? ????? ???? ???? ?? ??????. ????? ???? ?????? ????? ?? ????, ?? ???? ?÷ ??? ??? ????, ????? ??? ?????? ???????? ?? ??? ?-??? ??-???? ?????? ???????, ????? ??? ??? ?????. ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ????? ????? ?? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ???', ???? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ?????, ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????. ??"? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ?????, ????? ???? ?????? ??÷?? ?? ??? ?? ?????, ?? ?? ?÷????? ???? ???????? ???? ??? ????? ???'.

His Kabalistic disciples write, that what Yehoshua said "??? ???? ???? ?????" ("What will You do for Your Great Name") means: "?? ?????? ??????? ?? ????, ??? ????? ?????, ????? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ????, ??? ??? ??? ??? -- ??? ??? ??? [???? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?÷?"?]".[15] This is exactly what Chazal say, "If you are not My witnesses, I am, as it were, no longer G-d," and this is the secret of Israel's eternity. The existence of the nation is necessary, since G-d tied His Honor and Name to it. "What will You do for your Great Name," if we are not here.

The Chovot Halevavot writes that our existence amongst the nations parallels the Revelation at Har Sinai:[16]

??? ??÷? ??? ???"? ????? ?? ???? ???? ??????? ??? [???? ?????? ?????? ????? ?? ????] ???? ???? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ?????? ?????? ??????, ?? ?? ???? ???? ??????? ???? ???? ?????? ???' ??? ???????? ?????? ??': "??? ?? ??? ?????? ???? ??????? ?? ?????? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ???" ???', ????? "???? ?' ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????, ???? ?' ???? ??? ?÷?? ????? ???" ???'.

Similarly, R. Yaakov Emden writes that Israel's survival throughout the generations is a greater miracle than those of Egypt, the Wilderness, and Eretz Yisrael:[17]

??? ???? ????? ???? ÷???? ???? ?????? ?????? ???' ???? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????, ????? ????? ?????, ??????, ??? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ???????? ????? ??????, ???? ???? ????? ????? ?????. ?? ???? ??? ?????, ?? ???? ???? ??? ?÷??? ????? ???????? ???????? ??÷??? ??????, ???? ????? ?????? ?÷???, ??? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ????????. ?? ?????? ?÷????? ??????? ??? ????, ??? ????, ?? ???, ???? ???÷?? ??' ????? ???? ???? ?? ??÷? ???? ??? ??÷? ?????? ??????? ????? ??? ???÷?? ?' ?????? ?????, ??? ???? ????? ÷?????, ?? ??? ???? ????, ?? ??? ??? ?? ???? ??? ???, ?? ???? ??? ??????? ????, ??? ??÷?? ???? ?? ?? ???. ?? ???? ?? ???????? ??????? ???, ???? ???? ???? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ???"? ???????? ?????? ?????? ???"?, ??? ?? ???? ????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ??÷?? ??????? ???? ?? ??????? ??? ??? ???÷? ???????? ?? ?????? ????? ???? ?????, ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ????. ??? ????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ?????, ??? ?????? ???????? ?????? ?? ?-??? ???? ?' ???'.

 

D. A Great Nation

Am Yisrael testifies about G-d not only through its history, eternity, and fate, but primarily through its destiny, way of life, and application of the Way of G-d in practice, and its revolutionary impact on human culture.

Am Yisrael's national character was initially defined in the first revelation to Avraham Avinu, "?? ?? ????? ???????? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????. ????? ???? ????" ("Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation").[18] It is obvious that our uniqueness and greatness is not in our large population. What, then, is this quality of being "a great nation?"

The words of Torah are brief in one place and rich in another. Elsewhere, the Torah says:[19]

?? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?-???? ÷????? ????, ??' ?????? ??? ÷????? ????. ??? ??? ???? ??? ?? ??÷?? ??????? ???÷??, ??? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?????? ????.

For which is a great nation that has a G-d Who is close to it, as is Hashem, our G-d, whenever, we call to Him? And which is a great nation that has righteous decrees and ordinances, such as this entire Torah that I place before you this day?

Am Yisrael's greatness is in its closeness to G-d. We call Him and He listens; He gives us the Torah and we receive it. This closeness is primarily expressed through our following in His ways:

"???? ?' ?-????? ???? ??? ???÷??",[20] ??? ??? ???? ????÷ ??????, ???? ?? ????? ???, ??? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ?÷?"?. ?? ??? ????? ??????, ?? ??? ???? ??????; ?? ??? ??÷? ?????, ?? ??? ?÷? ?????; ?? ??? ???? ?????, ?? ??? ??? ????? ???'.[21]

This is what it says about Avraham, "?? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?????, ????? ??? ?' ????? ??÷? ?????" ("I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem, doing charity and justice").[22] Walking in the way of Hashem is what characterizes the way of the Jewish People and singles them out from the other nations. It is not necessarily through submission out of trepidation or fear of punishment, but rather through identification with the Divine Attributes, and a willingness to suffer to the point of self-sacrifice. Israel's clinging to the way of Hashem, despite all the difficult trials, and its attempt to fulfill this way in practice, slowly inculcates the Divine ethics within the spirit of the other nations, sometimes through direct influence and sometimes indirectly. As the Rambam writes, Christianity and Islam were meant to pave the way for the true Mashiach, by first spreading the ideas of Mashiach and Torah throughout the world. When the true Mashiach will appear, all people will recognize the falseness of these religions and turn to G-d:[23]

??? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ?????, ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?????, ???÷? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?? ?' ????. ???' ?? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?÷?? ???? ??? ?' ?????? ??? ???. ???? ??? ????? ????? ???? ????? ?????, ?????? ????? ???????, ????? ????? ??? ????? ???÷?? ?????? ???? ????? ??. ??? ?????? ??????? ?????? ??? ??????? ?????. ??? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??????, ???? ?????? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ??????, ???? ?? ????? ???? ???????. ???????? ???? ????? ???? ????? ????? ?????, ??? ?? ???? ?????? ??????? ??÷? ???? ???????, ????????? ???????? ?????.

However, until the coming of the Mashiach, a fierce battle rages between the two cultures, the heathen world and the Torah of Israel; idolatry against G-d.

After the Yom Kippur War, the Arab nations placed an oil embargo on Europe as a means of pressuring the European nations to support the Arab position against Israel. An English newspaper wrote an article against Israel that said, amongst other things, "Slowly, slowly, Israel is becoming a nuisance."

An Israeli journalist wrote in response to this that the Jews have been a necessary "nuisance," ever since they brought down the Ten Commandments and demanded ethics of the world:[24]

??? ?? ??? ????? ???, ?? ???? ???? ???? "???". ???? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?????, ????? ???? ??????? ???????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?÷????, ??? ??? ??? ????.

?? ????, ?? ????, ?? ????. ??, ???? ???????, ???? ??????, ???? ??????. ???? ??????? ????? ???? ??????, ???????, ????÷?????????, ????? ??? ???? ?÷?????????, ????????, ??????? ???????.

?? ??? ?????? ?÷????, ?'?????, ???? ???? ???÷?.

These words encapsulate Chazal's comment on the pasuk, "?' ????? ?? ???? ????? ???, ????? ??? ????", ???' ("Hashem came from Sinai -- having shown forth from Seir, having appeared from Mount Paran").[25] Chazal ask, "What was He doing in Seir, and what was He doing in Paran?" They answer, "This teaches that G-d offered the Torah to the entire world, and they did not want to accept it, until Israel came and accepted it." Each nation asked G-d what the Torah entails, and when He told them the requirements of the Ten Commandments, they refused to accept it. The Midrash states:[26]

???? ?????? ?÷?"? ?? ????? ???? ???, ???? ???: ????? ??? ?÷?? ?? ?????? ???? ??, ??? ???? ??? ?"? ?? ????. ???? ??, ?? ??????? ?? ???? ???? "?? ???? ????", ??? ??? ????? ?÷???. ??? ???? ??????: ????? ??? ?÷?? ?????? ?"?, ??? ???? ??? ?"?, ?? ????. ?"? ?? ??????? ?? ???? ??? "???? ???? ??? ???, ??? ??? ??? ?? ??", ??? ??? ????? ?÷???. ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???', ?"? ??? ???? ??, ?"? ?? ????. ?"? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???, ????? "?????? ??? ???? ??? ??????". ?? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???÷ ?? ?????? ???'.

This passage requires clarification:

1.      Why did G-d answer each nation in a manner that made it clear ahead of time that they would not accept the Torah? It is possible that had he said to the Children of Esav that the Torah says, "Do not commit adultery," they would have accepted it.

2.      What do Chazal mean, "Israel said, 'We will do and we will listen,' and they accepted it." Elsewhere, Chazal say that G-d "turned the mountain over them like a barrel," as it says, "??????? ?????? ???".[27]

3.      Why didn't G-d turn the mountain like a barrel over the nations of the world? If He had done so, perhaps they would have accepted the Torah, just like Israel, who accepted it after He turned the mountain over them.

4.      What is the metaphoric meaning of this story that G-d goes and seeks a "buyer" for His "wares?"

We need to understand Chazal's terminology. There never was any actual event like this, that G-d tries to persuade the nations to accept the Torah. Rather, Chazal are coming to point out the mismatch between the character of the nations and the Torah. In contrast, the Jewish character fits the Torah, to the point that their life is not life without it. This is also the meaning of the phrase, "He turned the mountain over them like a barrel."

The Maharal explains this in a few places:[28]

???? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ??????? ??-?????, ??? ????? ???. ??? ???"?, ??? ?????? ???????? ???? ?????? ??????? ??-?????? ??? ?????. ???? ???? ????? ????? ?? ?? ???? ?????, ???? ???? ???? ?÷?? ??????? ??-?????, ?? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ????.

?? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ?????? ?-??????, ??? ?? ??? ???? ???? ??.

Their very nature refused to accept the Divine activities, for only Israel were fit for the Torah, due to the quality of their character.

[1] ?????? ?' ??÷ ??.

[2] ?????? ??, ??.

[3] ??÷?? ??????, ??.

[4] ???? ???÷???.

[5] ???? ??-???.

[6] ??÷?? ??, ??.

[7] ????? ?, ?.

[8] ??÷?? ??, ??.

[9] ???? ????"?, ???? ??? ÷?÷, ?"? ??' ???.

[10] ?????, ???? ? ?"?.

[11] ???? ??, ??.

[12] ????? ??, ??.

[13] ????? ??, ??.

[14] ??.

[15] ???? ???"? ???? ??, ??; ??????? ??? ????? ??.

[16] ???? ??????, ??? ??????.

[17] ?÷??? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ??.

[18] ?????? ??, ?.

[19] ????? ?, ?-?.

[20] ????? ??, ?.

[21] ???? ??.

[22] ?????? ??, ??.

[23] ???"? ??"? ???' ????? ?"?. ???÷? ?? ???? ????? ???? ???? ????"? ???? ????? ???????.

[24] ?????? ????, ?????.

[25] ????? ??, ?.

[26] ??? ?"? ?, ?"?.

[27] ??? ??, ?"?.

[28] ????? ????? ?"?; ?????? ?' ??÷ ?"?; ??? ????? ??÷ ?"?.

 

 

קוד השיעור: 3997

סרוק כדי להעלות את השיעור באתר:

(Translated by Rav Meir Orlian)

לשליחת שאלה או הארה בנוגע לשיעור:




הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב משה סתיו
הרב משה סתיו
ע 2 P
הרב בנימין אייזנר
הרב בנימין אייזנר
ע 2
הרב בנימין אייזנר
הרב בנימין אייזנר
ע 2
הרב בנימין אייזנר
הרב בנימין אייזנר
ע 2
הרב בנימין אייזנר
הרב בנימין אייזנר
ע 2
הרב בנימין אייזנר
הרב בנימין אייזנר
ע 2
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע 2
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע 2