17 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 23, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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The Secret of Israeli Independence Day    

The Secret of Israeli Independence Day

According to the Vilna Gaon, the 20th day of the Omer, Yom HaAtzmaut, is a spiritual opportunity to pray extra hard for the Mashiach and the Final Redemption.


This year (2021), Independence Day falls on Shabbat, so it is celebrated on Thursday. Be sure to pray for Mashiach and a merciful Redemption on Shabbat!



I once read that the Vilna Gaon said that the 20th and 42nd days of the Omer Count were special days, spiritual windows of opportunity with respect to the redemption of the Jewish people. Even the  middot  hayom  (character trait for the day),  Yesod  sh’b’Tifferet  (Foundation within Harmony) and Malchut she’b’Yesod (Kingship within Foundation)  respectively, suggest this as well. 


As such, they are good days to pray extra hard for the arrival of Mashiach and the Final Redemption. These two days, more than the other 63 days of the year, are good opportunities to give thanks to God that we are still here as a people, and living on our land once again. Neither is a small miracle. 


What redemption-yearning person would want to pass up such an opportunity? What Jew who prays for redemption at least three times every day in his Shemonah Esrai would not want to take advantage of such a unique window to geulah shlaimah? 


Yet each year, millions of religious Jews shut the window of spiritual opportunity on these two days of the Omer. For decades now, the 20th and 42nd day of the Omer have come and  gone and many redemption-oriented people did little to use them to further the cause of redemption. 


How can that be? WHY can that be? 


The answer is simple. The 20th day of the Omer happens to be Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, and the 42nd day is Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day. These are two  days that many religious Jews are uncomfortable with because of their association with the non-Torah Jews who first implemented them and those who still observe them. 


It is no secret that may religious Jews in Israel are at spiritual odds with many secular Jews here. Ideologically opposed to one another, each side strongly opposes what the other stands for and the way the other side lives. Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim, each year  bring all  of this out even more. 


So, each year, instead of taking advantage of the opportunity of these redemption-oriented days of the Omer, we miss the entire point of what these two days actually represent. War is many things, but above all, it is distracting. 


Should we be surprised? Not at all. It is a classic situation, albeit Kabbalistic. We are watching ancient forces at play here, scenarios as old as man himself. The only surprising thing is that after thousands of years of experience, we are no better at dealing with them than ever before. 


The concept, as mentioned in Sha’ar HaGilgulim, is “mirmah  utachboset”, which means “trickery and scheming.” It is a tactic used, historically, by the Sitra Achra, and quite surprisingly, by G-d Himself. 


First, the Sitra Achra. The Sitra Achra does not like redemption or anything to do with it. Redemption means Mashiach and the perfection of mankind. It means the end of the yetzer hara, and therefore, of the Sitra Achra. Therefore, the Sitra Achra HATES redemption. 


But he is a clever angel. He has to be to make free will relevant to man. Though he can get some people to rush headlong into sin, others he cannot. They’re too smart, too moral. If he wants THEM to miss a spiritual opportunity, he has to be clever about it. He has to make them believe that the wrong thing they are doing is really the right thing. 


If the “road to hell is paved with good intentions,” it is because the Sitra Achra is the contractor. He’s the one who takes advantage of people’s spiritual shortcomings and blindness to trick them into sinning when they otherwise might not sin. If the road to hell is any proof at all, it is of how well he does his job. 


Right back at him though. G-d is no stranger to mirmah utachbolet. He is the one who arranged for Avraham to be born to Terach, an idol worshipper. He did it to fool the  Sitra Achra into believing that no one important was being born. 


He also set it up that Ruth would be born from Moav, a nation that began with an incestuous relationship. “How could anything to do with the holy Mashiach,” the Sitra Achra must have mused at the time, “come from such an unholy relationship?” 


To his surprise, it did anyhow. 


It was also G-d who made Dovid HaMelech’s beginning so spiritually murky. Though it made the ancestor of Mashiach’s life very difficult, it made the path to Mashiach very possible, even inevitable. We don’t even know how many times such things have happened throughout history along the long journey to Mashiach and the Final Redemption. 


I know, I have written about this idea many times already. But it never ceases to amaze how many places it shows up, and what it hides from those of us who fail to think the situation to its logical, and sometimes, Kabbalistic end. 


The 20th day of the Omer is here once again. Let's use the opportunity to push for the Final Redemption. When the 42nd  day rolls  around in another two weeks, let’s not  waste it. Let’s not be fool again by the Sitra Achra. Let HIM be fooled by US when we push away distraction to get to the real spiritual opportunity of such holy days. 


This year, let's forget the strife, and everyone pray for the full Redemption with mercy, Amen!



Pinchas Winston is the author of over 95 books on various topics that deal with current issues from a traditional Jewish perspective. He has also written on the weekly Torah reading since 1993, called “Perceptions”, as well as on current topics and trends affecting Jewish history, past and present. One of his missions is to make the depth and beauty of the more mystical teachings of Torah understandable and accessible to those who can really benefit from them. Visit his website at thirtysix.org. 


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  2 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Thank you!
Yehudit Kunkel4/15/2021 7:24:10 AM
  It's about time!!!
Tamar Becker4/15/2021 7:15:06 AM

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