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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Is Medinat Yisrael Reishit Tzemichat Geulateinu - Part III

Continued from Parts I and II

Be'Ikvei HaTzon (pg. 215):
"...Churban of the Land", in its Halachic sense, is connected to its desolation in the physical sense, as is stated in the Torah in Parshas Bechukosai (26:32) "And I will make the Land desolate, and your enemies who dwell therein will be astonished at it". Meaning, that as long as Eretz Yisrael is not in Jewish hands, it will be in a state of physical desolation. And in the prophecy of Yechezkel (36:8-12) [Note: I'm quoting the whole section of the Navi here, although in the original it is parsed] - 'But you, mountains of Yisrael, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Yisrael ; for they will soon be coming. For, behold, I am for you , and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it, and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places rebuilt. And I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall increase and bring fruit, and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and I will do better to you than at your beginnings, and you shall know that I am Hashem. And I will cause men to walk among you, my people Yisrael, and they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children.'"
"And it says in Sanhedrin (98a) regarding this Passuk - "There is no clearer indication of the "End" than this". Meaning, that when the Land will no longer be desolate in a physical sense, and the mountains of Yisrael will yield their branches and fruit to the Jewish Nation, this in and of itself is the greatest sign that the Land will be under Jewish sovereignty and have the Halachic status of "Bevinyanah", and then the promise of all the Neviim will apply - "and you will no longer bereave them of children - that there will never again be a destruction of the Land."
"And in Megillah (17b) it says, "And why did they see fit to recite (the Berachah of) the ingathering of exiles (in Shemoneh Esrei) after Birchas HaShanim? As it states: 'And you mountains of Yisrael, you will give your branches and bear you fruit for my Nation of Israel for they will soon be coming etc.' Meaning, that initially the desolation which permeated the Land throughout all the years of Exile will end, and only afterwards will there be a process of ingathering of Exiles, as our eyes behold all this unfold before us in the last 50 years [Note: the article was written in 1988], and regarding this historical process the Navi promised (Amos 9:15) - 'And they will no longer be plucked up out of their Land'. And so, based on the promise of the Neviim, combined with the aforementioned Beraisa from Massechta Sanhedrin, we must determine that the establishment of the State in 5708 is indeed the Atchalta DeGeulah, as explained."
[ End quote from Be'Ikvei HaTzon ]
At the outset, let me say that there seems to be some blurring of the lines in this analysis between Jewish settlement and Jewish sovereignty. But let us take this Nevu'ah of Yechezkel and see how, or whether, it necessarily applies to the present situation:

Passuk 8: 'But you, mountains of Yisrael, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Yisrael; for they will soon be coming.'

And as stated earlier, the Gemara in Sanhedrin says that there is no more open "End" than this.

a) What kind of produce yield is the Passuk referring to?
There are two explanations in the Maharsha to Sanhedrin there:
1) "Because as long as the Jews are not on their Land, the Land does not yield its fruit as normal, but when it will return to giving her fruit, this is an open "End", that the time for Geulah is close at hand, when the Jews will return to their Land."
2) We can also explain based on what is said in Perek BaMeh Madlikin, that in the future trees will be yielding fruit every day... and so too we can explain this Passuk - just as there is a branch each day, so too there will be fruit borne for the Jews every day, and this will be at a time when the Geulah is imminent. And this is a miraculous occurence, certainly an open "End".

So, according to the second explanation of the Maharsha, this Passuk has not yet been fulfilled.

In addition, in VaYoel Moshe (Maamar Shalosh Shevuos, 66), the Satmar Rebbe zt"l states the following:
"Those who follow the Zionists say... that the fact that many people come to Eretz Yisrael and deal with planting and the fruit multiplies, it is on this that the Gemara in Sanhedrin 98 says that there is no more open "End" than this... And this is insanity and complete nonsense ("Shtus VaHevel Gamur"), certainly according to the second explanation of the Maharsha, but even according to the first explanation, it is at least as explained in the Gemara in Kesuvos (112) that R' Yehoshua ben Levi saw (gigantic) clusters (of grapes in the vineyard) that were positioned (in a way that from afar they looked) like calves. He remarked - 'There are calves among the grapevines." [Note: See Gemara there, that this was when the Arabs had risen upon the Jews], and they say there that the land of Egypt is of higher quality than all the Lands in the world, and Tzo'an is the choicest part of the Land of Egypt, and Chevron, which is the most inferior part of Eretz Yisrael, is seven times better than Tzo'an of Mitzrayim, and a Beis Se'ah (an area of 50x50 cubits) yields 70 Kur. There are a number of other things that the Gemara mentions that the produce of Eretz Yisrael was different than that of the rest of the world in a wondrous way... And if all this will return as before, as the Rambam writes at the end of Hilchos Melachin that in the days of the Moshiach, all delicacies will be available like dust, that is a harbinger of Geulah, but that which is natural in the whole world, that based on the amount you plant, so too the yield increases, this is no sign of the Geulah..."

So, we see that using this Passuk in Yechezkel and the Gemara in Sanhedrin as proof positive that this is RTG is questionable.

Even if we were to accept that the present situation is a fulfillment of 'no more open "End" than this', there are still two major problems with terming the Medinah RTG:
a) We should term the Aliyah of the students of the GRA and the Baal Shem Tov as such, not the State.
b) [On a much more basic level] - The Gemara does not say that this is the Geulah or the beginning of the Geulah. It says that it is a harbinger of Geulah.
Let us see the very next statement of the Gemara (Sanhedrin ibid.) for the purpose of illustration:

"R' Elazar says: There is also no clearer indication of the end than this (the following), as it is stated: "For before those days, there was no wage for man and no wage for animals, and to him that leaves and enters there was no peace from the adversary" (Zecharia 8:10)

Rashi explains that this Passuk is talking of times in which economic conditions are so severe that people cannot find jobs, animals are not being leased for work on the land, and it is unsafe to travel from one town to another. When such conditions prevail, one can expect the Moshiach's imminent arrival.

So, should we suggest the Great Depression should be celebrated as Atchalta DeGeulah?

The Chafetz Chaim (Likkutei Halachos, Introduction, pg. 3) states: "We see (the fulfillment of the above Gemara) with our own eyes, that because of the increase of trains and cars [Note: we might add PCs], there is not such a need for workers and animals, and they walk around idly."

Should we celebrate Henry Ford or Bill Gates as those who usher in Moshiach?

It seems that all the Gemara means is that it is a sign that the Geulah, or the ultimate Kibbutz Galuyos, is imminent, not that it is a part of the Geulah itself. It is actually in the Passuk itself - "For they will soon be coming".

HaRav Schachter Shlit"a, later on in his piece (pg. 217) suggests that perhaps the definition of the Land "BeVinyanah" is different: "...unless we will claim and say that as long as most of the Jews are not yet on the Land, meaning, there has not yet been a fulfillment of Kibbutz Galuyos, the land is still considered "BeChurbanah". But this requires delving into ("VeTzarich Iyun"), as this is not the implication of the aforementioned Gemara in Sanhedrin etc."

Based on what we have just set forth, there is no contradiction at all between the produce being the harbinger of the true Kibbutz Galuyos, not part of the "Ketz" itself, and determining "Binyan HaAretz" as most of the Jewish People dwelling in the Land. [Even if we were to accept that today's agricultural situation is a fulfillment of this prophecy, which, as I said before, is questionable]

However, I think we might, perhaps, go one step further than HaRav Schachter in defining positively what irrevocable Kibbutz Galuyos means in the context of the Geulah:

Yechezkel, ibid., Passuk 10: "And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it, and the cities shall be inhabited."

The Ramban in Parshas Bechukosai says the following: "... And (the Torah) promises (Devarim 30:5): 'And He will do good to you, and multiply you more than your fathers', which is a promise to all the tribes of Israel, not a sixth of the Nation." (As was during the time of Ezra, where only the Tribes of Yehudah and Binyamin came back).

The Rambam (Hilchos Terumos 1:26) says:
התרומה בזמן הזה, ואפילו במקום שהחזיקו עולי בבל, ואפילו בימי עזרא--אינה מן התורה, אלא מדבריהם: שאין לך תרומה של תורה אלא בארץ ישראל, ובזמן שיהיו כל ישראל שם, שנאמר "כי תבואו" (ויקרא כה,ב), ביאת כולכם כשהיו בירושה ראשונה וכמו שהן עתידין לחזור בירושה שלישית

It may be that "Yerushah Shelishis" is only such when it is as promised by the Neviim, that all Jews are there.


Perhaps, only after the fulfillment of Passuk 11: "and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and I will do better to you than at your beginnings", will the promise of Passuk 12 - "and they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of" be irrevocably fulfilled.
Similarly, the Pessukim in Amos 9:13-15 are left ambiguous, at best:
"Behold, days are coming, says Hashem, when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And (only after this amazing phenomenon, which we have yet to witness), I will bring back (or, perhaps "come back with", as in the dwelling of the Shechinah in the Beis HaMikdash?) the captivity of (all?) of my people of Yisrael, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no longer be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, says Hashem your G-d".

In summary:

I humbly submit that there are insufficient grounds to assert that Medinat Yisrael is irreversibly a step in the direction of the building of the Beis HaMikdash, and that judgement in this matter should be reserved.


May the Beis HaMikdash be rebuilt and the Moshiach's Shofar be blown speedily in our days, Amen.

15 Comments:

Blogger chardal said...

Kesuvos (112) that R' Yehoshua ben Levi saw (gigantic) clusters (of grapes in the vineyard) that were positioned (in a way that from afar they looked) like calves. He remarked - 'There are calves among the grapevines."

[Apply Rambam's words about taking aggadata literaly here].

a) We HAVE fossilized fruits from the era of the tannaim and amoraim. They are by no means any bigger than the fruits we have today. To say that this is a requirement is simply not pshat.

b) The current situation IS miraculous. Anyone who is a farmer knows this and every chareidi Rosh Yeshiva who ever bothered visiting Gush Katif or some of the other farms pretty much admited as such. It borders of chisaron emunah to call what happened over the past 100 years teva.

Based on what we have just set forth, there is no contradiction at all between the produce being the harbinger of the true Kibbutz Galuyos

Which is why the land started giving its fruit BEFORE so many Jews started comming into the land. Ein lecha ketz meguleh mize, if this does not convince a person, there is no other sign that will.

We should term the Aliyah of the students of the GRA and the Baal Shem Tov as such, not the State.

Exactly what many people do, the state is just one of important milestones along the way of the geula, kimaa, kimaa. The difference is between Atchala deGeula and RTG.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

Application of the Rambam here is disingenuous. Of course the Gemara means that the fruit was extraordinarily special compared to the rest of the world, not the size of calves!

A recent visitor to my city from EY commented that in EY you don't see bananas like they have here. That means that it hasn't been fulfilled in this sense.

As far as it being miraculous, so is Idaho.

Did you even read what I wrote about Ketz Meguleh? "If the Great Depression or PCs won't convince you - nothing will."

In summary, there has been no proof set forth that the State is an irreversible stage of the Geulah. The whole point of this three-part discussion is to show this.

Having read these posts, I don't see how anyone could declare with any kind of certainty that the State is an irreversible part of the Geulah, and I therefore see no justification for declaring it so, which is dangerous to people's Emunah.

And no, I do not expect to convince you of anything in this regard. You are too far gone. :)

4:41 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

fruit was extraordinarily special compared to the rest of the world, not the size of calves!


And they ARE!


A recent visitor to my city from EY commented that in EY you don't see bananas like they have here. That means that it hasn't been fulfilled in this sense.


He is nuts, I have never tasted a fruit or vegetable in chu"l that compares to the ones in EY! (Al taam veAl reach)

You are too far gone. :)

Baruch Hashem!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

He is nuts, I have never tasted a fruit or vegetable in chu"l that compares to the ones in EY! (Al taam veAl reach)

He's actually a fairly well-known Chassidish Rebbe who lives in Eretz Yisrael.

Where do you shop? :)

6:01 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

He's actually a fairly well-known Chassidish Rebbe who lives in Eretz Yisrael.

Where do you shop? :)


All laughing aside. Just taste an American and an Israeli cucumber side by side, it doesn't come close.

And in any case, that is not the pshat in the nevua. The Ramban is clear this is a matter of the loyalty of the land. It did not give its fruit in any real way to any other nation. But it does so to the Jewish people.

The miracle is there for anyone to see. "Yevarechecha Hashem MiTziyon, LiR'ot beTuv Yerushalaim." Rav Kook Zt"l said the bracha IS to see the tov in Yerushalaim, a bracha not every frum Jew is zoche in.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

Enjoy Jaffa oranges!

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

american cucumbers are bred to be tasteless: uniform, large and last a long time w/ no taste. in greenmarkets they have tastier ones.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this thought is relevant but allow me to share it.When I moved back to NY from EY I felt a loss in that no lomger would every fruit I eat carry with it the mitzvos of hafroshas trumos u'maasros etc.Finally years later when it became known that all NY water has bugs and must be sifted I felt a small nechoma.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Bari said...

I live in LA where the tap water is basically undrinkable. I'm not Zocheh to have to worry about bugs in my Sparkletts. :)

I hear what you are saying, though. It's why Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to go, as quoted in Massechet Sotah - "Harbeh Mitzvos Nitztavu Yisrael V'Ainan Miskayemos Ella BaAretz"

10:39 AM  
Blogger chardal said...

american cucumbers are bred to be tasteless: uniform, large and last a long time w/ no taste. in greenmarkets they have tastier ones.

I even tried the organic ones but they still don't compare. The same is true for tomatoes and very much so to green peppers.

And then when you get to the fruits that EY is especially blessed with it totally does not compare:

dates, figs, pomegranates, and olives. The American variety just does not comes close!

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The grass is green on both sides of the border or the land. I haven't had a chance to read the post, so I hope that that isn't addressed.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Lukos613 said...

Ah! One of the things I can't stand about these types of conversations is the lack of emunah expressed by people. Batchilah Kimah Kimah. As frum Jews, we have an obligation to work on our relationship to Hashem, and part of that is to work on level of emunah. Emunah is similar to self-esteem: If one has a low self-esteem, he won't be able to see what he has the ability to do, and to accomplish nearly as much as if he had a higher self-esteem --and so too if one has a low level of emunah he won't be able to see the good results he would obtain if he only had emunah--in our case he won't be able to see the baby steps of the geula and therefore he won't participate in geula as much as he has the ability to. [P.S. Move to Israel :)] May we all be zocheh to have a positive outlook on life and an unyeilding emunah in Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

in our case he won't be able to see the baby steps of the geula and therefore he won't participate in geula as much as he has the ability to.

Hey, I have no problem seeing baby steps to the Geulah. I have a problem with stating that Medinat Yisrael is definitively part of that process.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Steve Brizel said...

WADR, the facts on the ground are that EY responded only to the agricultural efforts of the Jewish people. EY is the spiritual center of the Torah world today.

Take a look at the Ohr HaChaim on Parshas Balak and specically on Bamidbar 24:17 D'H Arenu. The Ohr HaChaim posits there that if we were zoche, the Geulah would come in a supernatural way and that we would be led by Gdolim. Since we are not on that madregah, it is an up and down process that requires hard work and entails much frustration. You may not realize or appreciate it , but a prosperous EY that is a sovereign Jewish state, where Torah flourishes as never before in Jewish history, where Jewish lives are protected and which has demonstrated that Jewish blood isn't hefker cannot be viewed as halachically insignificant.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

That's your POV, and I respect it, while disagreeing with positing it as a definite fulfillment of Yechezkel and Amos and hence irreversible.

7:46 PM  

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