Friday, July 21, 2006

Parshas Mattos-Masei on Fighting War: The Current Conflict in Israel

Note: Posted 6:21 pm, Friday, July 21.

This parsha is Mattos-Masei, and as always, has something to say on the current events in Eretz Yisrael. Im Yirtzeh HaShem (G-d Willing) I will post something at least once a week connecting the parsha to the current situation in Israel.

Mattos-Masei: War Under Fire

As noted in a previous post, reading over the weekly-Torah portion twice with a commentary is very beneficial to a person in a number of ways (in addition to being acquainted with the week's portion). Today we, the Jewish People (not just Israelis) are involved in a war that is both spiritual and physical in nature, it being up to all Jews to fight the battle in the best way they can. Tomorrow's Torah reading discusses another war, both spiritual and physical in nature. That war was between the Israelites and the Midianites. In Parshas Pinchas we read about the great loss of 24,000 Jewish males as a result of the sexual immorality and idolatry brought on to the Jewish People by a bunch of Midianite women. Their mission was to get the Jewish men involved in sexual immorality and thus have them destroyed. After repeatedly seeking to curse the Jewish People to no avail (actually blessing them and praising them four times), the wicked Bilaam decides to advise the Moavite and Midiantes to hand over their daughters to try to get the Jewish men to sin.

According to RaSh"I in his commentary on Parshas Balak (Bamidbar: 24; 14), Bilaam advises Balak how to bring about the destruction of the Israelites. RaSh"I states, "'Come, I shall advise you': What you [Balak] can do [to bring about destruction on the Israelites]. What was the council Bilaam offered? 'The G-d of these (the Israelites) hates sexual immorality
(Sanhedrin 106a). You should know that Bilaam gave this advice to cause [the Israelites] to stumble through sexual immorality, for it says, (Bamidbar: 31; 16) "Behold, these were for the Children of Israel [following] in the advice of Bilaam."

Why did Bilaam not advise the surrounding nations to take on Israel together?

RaSh"I states: "He (Bilaam) said to them (the Midianites), even if you were to gather all of the masses of the nations in the world, you will not be able to overcome the Israelites. Are you (Midian) perhaps greater in number than the Egyptians who had 600 choice chariots? Come and I will
advise give you [how you can be victorious over them].

From the above, we can understand how dangerous sexual immorality can be for the Jewish People, Heaven Forbid. For without the sexual immorality brought upon the Jewish People by the Moavite and Midianite women, no nation could have overcome the People of Israel. However, after many Israelites decided to take part in the sexual immorality, 24,000 Israelites died in a plague. It was only the valiant action of Pinchas that brought about a cessation of the devastating plague. We must also keep in mind that the Chofetz Chaim warns against immodesty as immodesty leads to troubles in the Jewish Camp, Heaven Forbid.

In Parshas Mattos we learn that HaShem tells Moshe to instruct the Israelites to take the "vengeance of the Bnei Yisrael (Jewish People) against the Midianites. (Bamidbar: 31; 2) The next verse calls the impending war against the Midianites "the vengeance of G-d".
RaSh"I notes "that those who stands against Israel [in conflict] is as if they stand [in conflict] againt The Holy One, Blessed is He." (Bamidbar: 31; 3)

Here we see, that barring a complete withdrawal of the Divine Presence, when the enemy fights against the Jewish People, HaShem fights back. Before we would know it, our enemies would be out of the picture. The way to win this war (which may be/lead to the war of Gog and Magog) is to encourage modesty of dress in the Jewish camp. Furthermore, the "WorldPride" event - the quintessential opposite of sexual modesty and modesty (pride = haughtiness) must be opposed on security grounds and religious grounds by people all over the world.

RaSh"I notes (Bamidbar: 33; 51 - 52) that the Israelites are crossing into the Land of Israel on condition that they drive out the nations inhabiting the Land of Israel. If they do not cross with that understanding, Moshe tells the Israelites, "[when you cross the Jordan river,] water will come and drown you (the Israelites)." When the Israelites cross the Jordan, Joshua repeats Moshe's command to drive out the other nations. (Yehoshua: 4; 10) RaSh"I says that if the Israelites were to renege on their obligation to drive out the other nations they would "not be able to exist in the Land of Israel. (Bamidbar: 33; 53) For, as RaSh"I notes, the verse (33; 55) states that the inhabitants of the Land that remains will be as thorns and thistles for the Israelites, causing them suffering. We should take an example from the tribes of Reuven and Gad who, though they were living on the eastern side of the Jordan river, decided to help fight for their fellow Israelite. In Parshas Mattos (Bamidbar: 32; 17), RaSh"I notes that these two tribes rushed to assist their fellow tribes to drive out the other nations from the Land of Israel. Furthermore, these tribes were the strongest and most battle-ready of all the tribes, as the verse states (Devarim: 33; 20) "...and they shall devour arm and even skull."

One of the very important things that we should learn from this parsha is that today's war against the Hezbollah is a war against the enemies of HaShem. However, as we want HaShem to Help us a great deal, we must fight the spiritual war against immodesty and immorality such as by encouraging others to dress more modestly. Now we find ourselves in the middle of the three-weeks, a tough time for the Jewish People. We must not allow the "WorldPride" parade to continue. The "parade" itself has been canceled, however the event has not. All Jews in the world must follow Gad and Reuven's lead and help fight this spiritual battle.


Post a Comment

<< Home