Maccabee's Wars

A venting rage against the ills of our society with some hopeful observations.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ain Chadash Tachas Hashamesh

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin spoke on Motzei Shabbat at Jeshurun Synagogue in Jerusalem and delivered his Shabbos Hagadol Drasha.

In essence it connected the Pesach Seder to the failure of religious Zionism.

At the Seder we relate the story of the Exodus. We are to relate the story as if we were experiencing it . How can we do that? The best way to tell a good story is to "act it out." Doing so makes the experience come alive as it should because we were there.

How were we there? We were there because our family was there; our immediate family, our distant family, all of the Jewish people.

( On a side note, this can best be explained from a shiur I heard last week from Rabbi Paysach Krohn who told the story of I believe Rabbi Shimon Schwab though I could be mistaken, who as a child contracted whooping cough and was told to inhale water vapor from hot water as a remedy. When he was leaning over the pot of water, some one bumped into him knocking the scalding water over his arm burning it severely. It eventually healed. Skin cells regenerate approximately every 120 days though it took over a year before his arm looked as it did before. When someone asked Rav Schwab, how is it possible for us to experience Yetzias Mitzrayim as if we were there, he answered with a question. is Is his arm not the same arm as it was before the accident? Skin regenerates and people regenerate, but they are one and the same. We don’t say that this is a new arm. It is the same arm that was there when the scalding water burnt it. So too, the Jewish People of today are the same ones who went out of Egypt.)

So who are we to relive the Exodus? Originally we celebrated the first Seder before we were redeemed, prior to Chatzos, prior to Macas Bechoros. Why were we celebration an act that had not taken place? Because we were optimistic and believed that G-d would redeem us. So now as well, when we sit at the Pesach Seder, we should have trust in Hashem that things will be for the best and he will redeem us with the Final Geulah.

But what’s taking so long? We are required to believe that this can happen any moment. Yet we sit and wait for 2000 years. Well if we are an extension of our previous selves and we are one big family, then still in all we’re certainly not a happy family.

In Israel, polls recently taken showed that approximately two thirds of the people hate the settlers more than anyone else. The Palestinians came in at a distant second. Amongst the Chilunim, a substantial number actually love the Palestinians. Israel was one of the first nations to give aid to Moslem countries during earthquakes, Tsunamis and wars.

What’s going on here? Is it V’ahavta Leraiacha Komacha, in reverse? Not exactly.There are minority opinions that R’ Akiva explained the phrase as loving all people as yourself. So are the Chilunim actually frum? Nope! Rather it is the failure of the religious Jews, L’ahavta the Chilunim or even others whom they perceive as less frum than themselves, Komachem, who are failing at this Mitzvah.

Can anyone find shuls other than of the egalitarianism types that open their doors to others without trying to be Mekarev them? Almost none.

Yet all is not lost. Recently an invitation went out to Chilunim and all types of Jews to come to Kol Nidrei and Neilah services which would last exactly 75 minutes, ending in a timely manner, with no obligations upon the participants; just come as you are. Rabbi Riskin said that for a beginning it was a great success.

Maybe, we can have a bit more tolerance. Maybe we can say Kol Dichpin Yeisaii Veyaichol as if we mean it.