15 Kislev 5781 / Tuesday, December 01, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayishlach
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HomeIsrael and SocietyIsrael and AliyahWho Controls Israel’s Destiny?
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Who Controls Israel’s Destiny?    

Who Controls Israel’s Destiny?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches that even when we are in a situation where we require the generosity and favor of non-Jewish powers, they do not control the fate of our people.


Editor’s note: The words of a true tzaddik said years ago are amazingly live and true today. The following are translated excerpts from the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s discourses from 1982, that implores the leaders of the Israeli government not to bow to international pressures, for Hashm runs the world...

At a Chassidic gathering held on Shabbos Bereishis, the Lubavitcher Rebbe focused his attention on the teaching with which Rashi begins his commentary to the Torah. The Rebbe explained that like all of Torah, this teaching should not be regarded merely as an abstract principle, but rather as a construct practically applicable throughout our nation’s history.
The same principles, the Rebbe explained, are relevant in the present age and should be employed within today’s contemporary political arena. Presenting the Torah’s ideas straightforwardly and without apology is the means to influence public opinion at present.
In this vein, we are publishing an adaptation of the Rebbe’s words with the hope that their study and their application will bring peace, security, and prosperity to the Jewish people. (Sichos In English 29 Tishrei, 5752)
Rashi’s1 First Teaching
Sequence is of crucial importance in the study of the Torah2 Giving one subject precedence over others endows it with prominence. In this vein, it is significant to note how Rashi, the commentator who seeks to reveal "the simple meaning of the Torah’s words,’’ 3begins his commentary on the Torah. Rhetorically, he asks4 why the Torah does not begin with the description of the mitzvos which the Jews were commanded to fulfill and explains that it was necessary to recount the narrative of creation and the early phases of the formation of the Jewish nation so that:
If the nations of the world tell the Jews; "You are robbers, for you have taken forceful possession of the lands of the... nations,’’ the [Jews] will reply, "The entire world belongs to G-d. He created it and He gave it to whom He saw fit.’’
Rashi associates this teaching with the verse5 "The power of His works He declared to His people,’’ emphasizing that it is not the shifting socio-economic forces in the world at large that mold the fate of our people, but rather "the power of His works.’’
This lesson has been expressed throughout the course of our nation’s history. Even in times of persecution and oppression, when outwardly, their fate appeared to depend on the decisions of gentile powers, the Jews knew that G-d was the source of their deliverance.
This approach does not imply that we should rely on faith alone. On the contrary, the Torah obligates us to employ all the natural means at our disposal and not to rely on miracles.6 Nevertheless, the natural means which we employ cannot alone promise success, for success depends on G-d. Needless to say, an approach which reflects a lack of faith in G-d will not have positive consequences.
This lesson is particularly relevant at the present time. The Jews must realize that their security and well-being is a matter between them and G-d alone. Even when we are in a situation where we require the generosity and favor of non-Jewish powers, they do not control the fate of our people. Our people’s destiny is dependent on "the power of His works.’’
This is the message which the Jewish people must communicate to the nations of the world -- that G-d has given us Eretz Yisrael and that He determines our security and well-being.
Relaying this message will influence world opinion, for the Torah is accepted by all nations. When the Torah’s message is communicated to them straightforwardly, without apology, they will listen.
The above is particularly relevant in the present year, 5752, for the letters of its Hebrew equivalent serve as an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, "This will be a year of wonders in all things.’’ The previous year was described as "a year when `I will show you wonders,’ ’’7 and we saw wonders manifest throughout the world. This year the wonders will be greater and more encompassing, bringing success and prosperity for Jews in all places and particularly in Eretz Yisrael. May these wonders also include the ultimate wonder -- the coming of the Redemption and may this take place in the immediate future.
1. (Back to text) Rav Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 C.E.); the foremost commentator on the Torah.
2. (Back to text) See Sheloh, Torah SheBeal Peh, 402b.
3. (Back to text) See Rashi, Bereishis 3:8.
4. (Back to text) Rashi’s words are based on the commentary of the Bereishis Rabbah on Bereishis 1:1, Yalkut Shimoni to Shmos 12:2.
5. (Back to text) Tehillim 111:6.
6. (Back to text) Pesachim 62b.
7. (Back to text) See the booklet "I Will Show You Wonders’’ (Sichos In English, 5751) which draws attention to the wonders which G-d wrought throughout the previous year, and in particular, to those which transpired in the Gulf War.
(Excerpts from “Sichos in English”, Shabbat Parshat Breishis 5742 (1982), reprinted with the kind permission of www.sichosinenglish.org)

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