Behukotai: In my statutes
3 - 27, 34
The land of Israel and
the basis for love
- The mitzvot in the parasha
- The ultimate goal - happiness
- Happiness and threats? The logic of love
- Rashi's commentary
- The commentaries of Rabbenu Bahya and the
- The stages
- The final stage - closeness to Hashem
- The world is not split
- The doctor who come to heal us
- Miracles are invisible
- Teachings which ensue
Listen to the parasha
(Ashkenazi chants, ORT link)
Listen to the parasha
(Sephardi chants, Alliance link)
Listen to the haftara
(Ashkenazi chants, ORT link
Important Note: study the Hebrew verses and translations
quoted in this commentary.
This parasha has extensive ramifications
1. The Torah, which represents the truth, warns
us that if we live according to its laws and precepts,
the land of Israel will be ours and our enemies'attempts to destroy us will be naught. If we do
not keep to the precepts of the Torah, we will
be prey to our enemies, until the time we return
to the Torah of Hashem. The stakes are high and
2. History has testified so often to these warnings
that we can no longer ignore them.
3. The present situation in Israel brings us face
to face with this problem: now it is no longer
a warning, but a very real drama of life and death,
in which we are the participants. We lived in
the land of Israel, like those to whom the warnings
are addressed, but we did not live according to
the precepts of the Torah. Moreover, minority
groups who did adhere to the Torah were subjected
to hatred, humiliation and treated as primitives.
Education was based on values other than those
of the Torah and the fundamental principle of
the Torah, to which generations of Jews have aspired
(the land of Israel as the home of the divine
presence, within His people), has been reduced
- a political issue in which sons seek to destroy
the edifices of their fathers;
- a frenetic desire to give up this promised land,
which was given to us, and hand it over to those
who have openly declared their aim to destroy
Jewish history and take over the land with fire
and bloodshed (this is the avowed aim of those
who are attacking Israel and who are controlled
by leaders with whom we sit at the negotiating
table); a readiness to give arms to our enemies,
to hand over to them our land as quickly as possible,
including our most holy places.
Only three places are named in the Torah as being the eternal
domain of Jews: Schehem (Nablus) and Hebron, which we
have already handed over, and Jerusalem. When the Temple
Mount fell into our hands in 1967, we didn't want
it and, to the great astonishment of the Arabs, we handed it
back to them, to those who systematically destroyed and continue
to destroy all signs of Jewish history.
Archaeologists (secular) have found proof of what
amounts to the most extensive archeological devastation
on the Temple Mount since the destruction of the
Temple. And now Israeli politicians wish to hand
over parts of Jerusalem, including parts of the
Old City, to those who publicly vaunt their murderous
programs. Nothing is done to halt the advance
of the Palestinians or to take away their illegal
arms. It is us who brought them into our midst.
What is the reason for this self-destructiveness, described
in the Torah, in which we ourselves contribute to our own destruction?
This scenario is not a fiction: this crazy, sacrilegious policy
is real and paid for with the flesh of those who have been murdered
by our enemies. This madness becomes even greater when the process
of self-destruction is described as a "peace process,
a process of shalom," for Shalom is the name of God
who gave us His land in a covenant that was handed down through
generations, so that justice could reign and be the fount of
benediction for all mankind.
The new Torah is the political program of leaders
who have no integrity or understanding of their roots. Why has
this generation fallen so low? Especially as we were warned
that this holy land would reject those who profane it. We hardly
seem to heed this warning. Israelis went along with this program
but they too are beginning to reject it, in disgust at the wholesale
degradation and destruction that is taking place at the hands
of the Palestinians.
This is the first time in 2000 years that Jews themselves are
responsible for such infamy. This is the first time since the
establishment of the State of Israel that Jews are ready to
give up their land in order to hand it over to those who seek
to destroy us.
When we see what folly Jews are capable of, it is not surprising
that the Torah takes great pains to warn us of dire consequences.
The Torah is addressed to our generation above all.
What does the Torah say? It deals specifically with this issue
in its conclusion to the book of Vayikra (Leviticus).
in the parasha
This parasha, which concludes the book of Vayikra,
describes mitzvot 350-361:
the valuation of a man's worth (27, 2),
the prohibition against exchanging an animal selected
for an offering (27, 10),
the valuation of animals (27, 11-12),
the valuation of a man's house and fields after
it has been sanctified (27, 14-17),
the prohibition against the offering of firstlings
and the prohibition against offering sacrificed
animals for other sacrifices (27,26),
the attribution of all devoted things (herem)
to the Cohanim (27,28),
the prohibition against selling or buying back
these things (27,28),
the annual tithe placed on the tenth newborn (27,
These mitzvot complete the process of reparation
described in the preceding parashiot.
The ultimate goal - happiness
The two short chapters of this parasha are characterized by
promises of happiness made to the people if it follows the injunctions
given to it, and dire consequences if it veers from them. Ending
the book on this tragic note and on the issue of punishment
raises several questions. In order to understand the problem,
we have to put these promises in the context of the overall
meaning of the book of Vayikra: the aim of all the injunctions
in this book is to restore the original state in which the Creator
and his people lived together in the garden of Eden, thus to
bring them close together (this is the meaning of the word sacrifice,
korban). This is stressed at the beginning of the parasha, when
Hashem makes his promises to his people:
venatati mishkan betokhakhem velo tighal nafshi etkhem
"And I will set my tabernacle among you, and My soul shall
not abhor you" (26, 11).
ze beit hamikdash ; ein ruhi katza vakhem..
Omitting this would take away all meaning from the promises
and warnings made by Hashem.
Happiness and threats? The logic of love
A question remains: can the Creator demand love from man and
at the same time impose such awesome conditions?
The answer will become clear if we look at the overall meaning
of the book of Vayikra: if two people, who love each other,
do not continually show great sensitivity towards each other
in their feelings and actions, then their relationship will
certainly crumble and lead to suffering and tragedy. What is
at issue here is an inherent law and not a question of threats
and promises. In this case, the greater the love, the greater
the disillusion, suffering and ruin that would ensue. I am sure
that many people have witnessed this process in their own lives.
In his commentary, Rashi stresses the importance of continuity
in a relationship of love (26, 9: an employee who has served
his master a long time, a new, indissoluble tie; 26, 10: the
fruits of a harvest become better with time and a three-year
old harvest is better than a new one ; 26, 11: my soul shall
not abhor you..). This teaches us both about love and about
our relationship with Hashem:
1. Love is valueless unless each partner gives all the time
and forever ; this is not a possessive form of love but the
very nature of absolute love. Rashi gives a bold interpretation
of verse 26, 12 (vehitlalakhti betokhekhem, "and I will
walk among you") in his commentary: atayel imakhem kenian
eden keehad mikem, "I will walk with you in the garden
of Eden as one of you." This equality corresponds to that
of a true relationship of love, which is based on respect and
2. In love, it is not enough to have basic positive feelings
(expressed in the Torah with verse 26, 5 which means "to
receive a dwelling place, food and drink") ; one must reach
the level of "everything" kol. Rashi states this explicitly
in his commentary on verse 26, 6:
venatati shalom baaretz, "and I will give peace in the
"you will perhaps say that here there is to eat and to
drink but there is no shalom, there is nothing (ein klum); this
is why after everything (ahare kol) it is written:
venatati shalom baaretz, "and I will give peace in the
this tells us that shalom is the counterpart of "everything"
and this is why it is written: "he makes peace and creates
everything" (ose shalom uvore et hakhol).
The word shalom must be understood according to its root, which
means "complete, whole." In love, the choice is between
"all" or "nothing."
The parasha begins with verse 26, 6: ne natati shalom baaretz,
and I will give peace in the land. This is the true "peace
now" of Judaism.
The commentaries of Rabbenu Bahya and the
Rabbenu Bahya (d. 1340), who was a student of the Rashba (1235-1310)
who was himself a student of the Ramban (1194-1270), comments
on this verse thus: "after listing the wealth of blessings,
he ends with shalom, for without shalom (wholeness) there is
nothing (Sifra on parasha 1, 8).
Like the Ramban, Rabbenu Bahya distinguishes between different
levels of interpretation and writes that one must also understand
the word shalom according to the deeper meaning of the Torah.
It thus represents:
the state of benediction, given by the creator and received
by us, must undergo several stages before achieving a state
of plenitude, wholeness;
the stage that involves man's material and spiritual life;
Torah study will help this process achieve total union, which
is called "everything" kol ;
then true union and fruitfulness, represented in children, will
be achieved in this world.
This is the real meaning of peace in Judaism. It is not: "we
shall give you our land and you will give us your peace, which
really means our destruction and ruin, and let's do it right-away."
The word shalom has nothing to do with "peace now": for it is the name of God himself, ata shalom, shalom is You.
It is through him that peace will come, especially for Jews.
This is what the parasha teaches us.
The final state
- closeness to Hashem
This state of Jewish shalom, can be expressed
"His holy temple in His Holiness is established"
as is written in I Kings 9, 3: vehayu eini velibi
sham kol hayamim,
"and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there
Rabbenu Bahya writes:
although "Hashem is in his holy temple, Hashem's
throne is in heaven" (Psalm 11, 4),
Hi shekhina is in the Temple, among men.
This closeness is so intense that even food, money
and the trials of life are channels through which
it is expressed (verse 26, 41).
The Ramban commented on verse 26, 6 (venatati
shalom baaretz) that, where man is capable of
such complete intimacy,
when everything in this world is connected to
the world above (ve al drekh haemet sheyiten hashalom
mehubar baaretz, ve hu shalom hakol hashakul keneged
then violence will be excluded, and there will
be peace between mankind.
This is how he defines the love implicit in verse
This is the reason, he says, why the blessings
described in the parasha represent a state of
wholeness where there will be no abortion or infertility
in the world.
The world is not split
1. In order to understand this concept, we must go back to the
commentary of Rabbenu Bahya: although His glorious throne is
in the heavens, He is among us." This is the paradox which
the Torah teaches us: the world is not split
as though what is invisible only concerns the world above and
and as though our task is to live only in the visible world.
Nor should we confine the meaning of the word "life"
to this world.
The Ramban wants us to be aware of true reality which is the
loving union between the two worlds (the visible and the invisible).
Hashem, despite the scission caused by Adam's sin, repeats in
his Torah that He will walk among us, that he is close to us
and that He will bring us happiness.
This is the meaning of the first verse of the Torah.
This is the key to parasha Behukotai: it is only our ignorance
of this union which
causes the separation of our world and impedes the flow of happiness.
The doctor who comes to heal us
The Ramban tells us that Hashem comes to teach us this again
through the Torah and this is why he is the doctor who comes
to heal us: ki ani Hashem rofeikha, Shemot 15, 26. This is
what the prophet Jeremiah teaches us in the haftara and we can
now understand the themes repeated here (Jeremiah 16, 19 to
Hashem, my strength uzi, my stronghold mauzi, my refuge menussi
the sin hatat
ye have kindled a fire esh kehahtem,
blessed is the man that trusteth in Hashem, barukh hagever asher
the heart is weak, ha lev anush hu,
thou throne of glory, on high, kisse khavod marom.. thou place
of our sanctuary, mekom mikdashenu,
all that forsake Thee, kol ozvekha, shall be ashamed, yevoshu,
heal me Hashem, and I shall be healed.
Miracles are invisible
The Ramban clarifies an important point (verse 26, 11), after
having said that Hashem is our healer: "the meaning of
this is that, although the blessings are miracles, they are
hidden miracles and these abound in the Torah as I have explained."
The subject is so important that the Ramban devoted his introduction
to his commentary on the Torah to this one subject.
We should not look for visible and wonderful miracles, or for
seductive, charismatic figures: the Torah describes our universe
every part of which is a miracle for it is the direct expression
of what Hashem is giving us now, and it is written in the Torah.
We do not need to look any further for, if we learn the language
of the Torah, we will see that everything is in it, including
the names of Hakadosh barukh hu, which He wishes us to know.
We cannot acquire knowledge about any of this just by reflecting
on the world or on the Torah ; we can only acquire it through
Teachings which ensue
It is easier now for us to understand
the teachings of the prophets, which would have seemed strange
to us before hand:
1. Hashem is close to us. He represents love and He loves us
with an eternal love (ahavat olam, Jeremiah 3, 3). This expression
appears before the reading of the Shemat Yisrael.
2. Hashem seeks us, calls out to us, and bids us to return to
Him: in doing so, we engender happiness in the world. It is
surprising - and enlightening - to note that the prophet who
brings us this message, Jeremiah, who is read in the haftara
of this parasha, has been described as the "prophet of
doom" by people who close their ears and hearts.
Happiness and love, are the things
which man rejects most, for both require total commitment and
a state of shalom.
The same people who reject happiness
have the audacity to speak of "God's silence" in regard
to the suffering of man, while the real culprit is, in fact,
man for having refused to listen to the word of God.
Here, for example, is what Jeremiah says (beginning of chapter
"If thou will return, im tashuv, Israel
If thou wilt put away thine abominations, im tassir shikutsekha..
And thou shalt swear, ve nishbata, Hashem liveth in truth, hai
Hashem beemet, in judgment and in righteousness, memishpat
the nations shall bless themselves in Him, ve hitbarekhu vo
3. Hashem, never abandons His people,
never, even after having turned his back, even when His people's
conduct led to terrible catastrophes (26, 44), as the people
collaborated with the forces that sought to destroy Israel.
4. I shall quote a few teachings
from the Zohar, which are relevant to this parasha and which
are not too difficult to understand. Using a graphic metaphor,
the Zohar defines God's love thus: Hashem so desires to bring
man close to His knowledge and His divine plan that the man
who carries out all the mitzvot of the Torah is as worthy "as
though he had made" Hashem. Hakadosh barukh Hu says: "it
is as though man created me" (Zohar III, 113a).
The Zohar gives us an example of man's correct response to God's
calling: it is King David who was able to feel the constant
presence of the creator in the world and who, in the heart of
the night, at midnight, heard the songs of the world and rose
to study the Torah till dawn and sing Psalm 67 (Zohar II, 67b).
This gave him the strength to face the trials of human existence
and to praise God in the midst of each trial.
It is at night, during this moment of solitude and suffering,
that man can feel most God's words of love.
5. In contrast, when man acts against
this state of love, when he rejects life and happiness, he becomes
incomplete, un-shalom. This is evident in verse 26, 44 of Vayikra: while, in the preceding verses, the relationship is described
in terms of "you," here it becomes an anonymous "they,"
for God has been forsaken.
1. The reparation process continues. Through the example of
David, Judaism teaches us that the best of men constantly need
to strive to improve themselves, and to work on this process
of reparation. This may surprise us, and yet, in the same way,
we constantly need to breath, eat and drink. What applies to
the body also applies to our psychological, emotional, moral
and intellectual development.
2. Indulgence. On this basis, we can be more tolerant towards
ourselves and to others. So when we see deplorable behavior
in another person, or in ourselves, we should always look at
the whole person and remember that human failings are normal.
3. Self-development. What is abnormal, in such circumstances,
is be to condemn the other person outright or to become depressed
at our own conduct or helplessness. This is tantamount to viewing
something temporary phase as permanent, or for someone who is
hungry to say he is sick. We have been given considerable time
to learn from experience, to sharpen our understanding of human
behavior, and to study the history and culture of the Jewish
people. People devote a great deal of time learning how to cook,
use a computer, play the stock market, learn a language, etc.
and yet they rarely find the time to develop what is most essential
- self-knowledge and psychological awareness.
4. Holism, gestalt, shalom. The Book of Vayikra teaches us that
every part of us is inter-dependent and coordinated. Thus, through
the Temple and the sacrifices, a good deed (love-offering-elevation)
or a dangerous and harmful deed (hatred-sin-egoism) are linked
to God in a continuous chain: everything and everyone is linked
in a direct line to God. This is the Jewish concept of shalom,
which means completeness rather than "peace," peace
being just one result of this state. Judaism has a totally holistic
or gestalt concept of the world and mankind. We should use the
word shalom only in this context. Reducing this word to a political
slogan perverts it and its vision of the world, and the perversion
becomes even more acute when people use this word as a tool
in ideological warfare, while omitting the self-work that is
necessary to achieve this state of completeness. This is as
absurd as living on a diet of vitamins and medicines instead
of looking after our bodies and minds.
5. How we see ourselves. These teachings have not been given
to us in order to enhance our self-image or to construct elegant
philosophical theories, but in order that we should "be"
and "live." Our Sages tell us that self-pride is the
worst level of pride, and graver that the sense of rivalry or
6. How we see others. This holistic approach should influence
us to look at other people in the same way, taking into account
all their qualities and aspects, including their divine dimension
(that which is in the likeness of the creator or part of the
divine plan). Let's take a very concrete example: the way men
see women or the way women see men. The holistic approach would
be not just to see the physical beauty or sexual attraction
of a man or woman, or a particular quality or fault, but to
look at the other from a perspective which includes "all"
his or her dimensions. This particularly means to look at a
person from the perspective of his or her union with the creator,
which we have described in this parasha. We should try to look
at others through the eyes of Hashem or, at least, to direct
our partial/materialistic gaze towards what is whole and divine.
We could say that it is in this domain that the sacrifice (korban)
should be made, in order to achieve intimacy and closeness.
The Torah and the Sages teach us this. Moreover, we are fortunate
to belong to a generation which provides us with the social
and psychological tools needed to achieve this. But we must
first learn the immense science of human nature which the Sages
handed down to us. End of commentary.)
What is truly sad is the fact that
those who led the Jewish people to the present moral and political
abyss in which it finds itself acted out of ignorance, not out
of malevolence. Those who studied the Torah and did not propagate
it among the people are also responsible. This was the greatness
of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, for he spread the word of the Torah
among the people and this is why he is celebrated by the entire
nation with joy and love on Lag ba Omer.
Conclusion on the Book of Vayikra
Let us end this commentary on Vayikra by going back to the beginning
and as we go backwards, the main theme of the book will become
clear to us.
The first verse of Vayikra says:
"Vayikra el-Moshe vayedaber Hashem elav meohel moed lemor
And he called unto Moshe and Hashem spoke unto him out of the
tent of meeting, saying."
After having studied the writings of the Sages, we can better
appreciate the commentary of Rabbi Hiya, which links all levels
of interpretation (Zohar Vayikra, III 2b).
Rabbi Hiya bases himself on the Song of Songs 5, 1 (union-intimacy-love):
bati legani ahoti khala (I am come into my garden, my sister,
ariti mori im-bessami (I have gathered my myrrh with my spice),
akhalti yaeri im-divshi ( I have eaten my honeycomb, with my
shatiti yeni im-halavi (I have drunk my wine with my milk).
Moshe represents the ideal man and
the Jewish people, who should be able to live in a union (shalom)
of the two worlds, the visible and invisible.
When the tent of "meeting" (ohel moed) was established
as the place where the world below and the world above would
meet, it was a day of great joy for Hashem and Hashem called
unto Moshe (vayikra) to come close (hence the korbanot, sacrifices
which draw man closer to God), for he saw that man would not,
by himself, come towards Him. This is still the case today.
This is the meaning of "I am
come into my garden, bati legani" and "my sister,
my spouse, ahoti khala" is Israel. Then the six words (mori
bessami yaeri divshi yeni halavi) represent the benediction
which is present in all worlds and unites with its counterpart
(myrrh-spice, honeycomb-honey, wine-milk). This is effected
through the korbanot (sacrifices/drawing closer). Even if we
do not have the sacrifices today, we should try to achieve this
state of closeness and intimacy through study. The twinning
of the words in pairs refers to the twinning of the two worlds
and to other important pairings.
The text continues thus:
"ikhlu reim ( eat companions), shetu veshikhru dodim, drink,
yea, drink abundantly friends."
The reim, friends, are creatures from the world above who are
always united with each other and with the source of all things,
while the more affectionate term dodim, friends, refers to creatures
in the world below, which is man, who do not always succeed
in being united with each other and with the world above as
they should be.
The Book of Vayikra, Leviticus, represents this moment when
Hakadosh barukh Hu calls out to his people Israel and tells
them his plan and the relationship He desires with Israel and
how to achieve it. We can no longer say: we didn't know.
It is because of this divine message and beautiful plan that
children are first taught the book of Vayikra, for this is the
center and heart of the Torah, the third of the five books.
With the help of the Sages, we have discovered that the book
of Vayikra is not just a complicated text full of strange, ancient
We now know the different levels
we must develop in order to attain unity and shalom. This is
our task as human beings.
Seeing me coming back from work this week, a small boy, just
5 and a half years old who had previously wanted to know what
was my profession (psychologist), asked me: "have you calmed
anyone today?" Then, as we were standing under the starry
skies of Jerusalem and an almost full moon, he added: "did
you pray and say thanks for the moon?" Is not a child's
amazing intelligence and ability to get at the kernel of things,
one of the wonders of the world? May the Creator grant all couples
such children, and may we be given a child's intelligence so
that we can hear the call of God and appreciate the gifts we
have been given. May we all attain shalom, but as our patriarch
Yaakov-Israel taught us, the road is long and difficult.
May the Creator reveal to our leaders the grandeur and role
of the land of Israel and its people.
May He bestow on us Sages who will teach the people that the
Torah is life.
Personal integration exercises
all the themes in the parasha, adding your own
thoughts and questions;
all the words and expressions given in Hebrew
and English in this commentary and learn them
2. Read the parasha again in the perspective of
this commentary and keep returning to it, for
the fact that we read one parasha every week does
not give us enough time to fully integrate its
3. Contemplate the beauty of the moon, the link
between us and the other world, between light
and darkness, between the incomplete and the complete.
May this image, which is placed before us every
day, awake our sensibilities and our hopes. I
wish this for everyone. Beemet, truly.
Lesson for advanced students (second
How should we pray in order to save
the land of Israel?
This is a question I am often asked.
I shall attempt to answer it, cautiously and basing
myself solely on the teaching of the Sages.
A. Personal prayer (general aspects)
First of all, a prayer is granted only
if we first do teshuva, which means truly living
a life according to the Torah and not out of any
if we are truly sorry for the sins and errors
(past and present) we have committed and if we
acknowledge and repent from them (vidui),
if we are truly determined to break from this
path and renounce these practices,
and especially if we make reparation for any harm
(material, financial, moral) we have done to others
or for any sin of slander (lashon ha ra).
These are the preconditions which are necessary
for God to hear us.
your prayer must come from the depths of your
your personal prayer is in addition to the obligatory
collective prayer of Jews (the three daily prayers:
morning or shaarit, afternoon or minha, evening
In each of these services we pray that our eyes
may see His return to Zion through His rahamim,
His mercy (ve tehezeina einenu beshuvekha le tzion
and we say: Blessed are Thee who returns (now)
His shekhina towards Zion, barukh ata Hashem hamahazir
See also the Mussaf service (supplementary service)
of Shabbat when we pray that "Thou will elevate
us in joy towards our land" (she taalenu
be simha le artzenu) and that "Thou will
plant us in our borders" (ve titaenu vighvulenu).
This is indeed the subject we have been discussing.
You will also see that one third of the prayer
recited after meals, and said daily, is devoted
to the land of Israel. All this shows us to what
extent the land of Israel is not a political issue;
it is a living entity and the heart of the union
between God and man, it is the basis for man's
happiness together with the blessings of the Torah
which are disseminated for the happiness of the
you must pray using the words of the Sages, for
only they know the art of prayer. We cannot attain
their level of knowledge or the secrets of prayer
but we can pray as though we have done so.
I.2 What words should we use to
express our wish?
I.2.1. The Psalms
One of the Psalms often used by the Sages to have
a prayer fulfilled is Psalm 28.
It is particularly apt for a prayer asking for
the salvation of the land of Israel and the people
Psalms which ask for salvation and protection
against the evil designs of our enemies are: Psalms
35, 36, 44, 48, 53, 54, 60, 70, 74, 83, 87, 88,
100, 109, 118, 125. This large number shows to
what extent the danger to Israel is a constant
threat which we must face.
I.2.2. Psalms for the days of the
There are also psalms to sustain us for each day
of the week:
First day of the week (Sunday), Psalm 24.
Second day (Monday), Psalm 48.
Third day (Tuesday), Psalm 82.
Fourth day (Wednesday), Psalm 94.
Fifth day (Thursday), Psalm 81.
Sixth day (Friday), Psalm 93.
Seventh day (Shabbat), Psalm 92.
I.2.3. Other prayers written by
the Sages for the land of Israel.
It is forbidden for anyone who is not an eminent
student of the Sages talmid hakham muvak), acknowledged
by the Sages themselves, to compose prayers to
be recited by others. Indeed, ignorance of the
power of words can have opposing results. The
spontaneous outpouring of one's hear is, of course,
fully permitted and, moreover, indispensable.
An example of such compositions by the Sages:
The Ramhal, Rabbi Moshe Hayim Luzatto composed
prayers for the salvation of Israel. These prayers
have been put together by Rabbi Mordekhai Shriki
and published in a book called Tefilot LeRamhal,
Ramhal Publications put out by the Ramhal Yeshiva
of Jerusalem. These prayers are particularly appropriate
for the current situation, when the number of
attacks against Israel, its land and its Torah,
are increasing, both from within and outside the
There are many Sages who, based on the Talmud,
interpret this phenomenon as heralding the final
liberation of Israel.
One should beware, however, of over-simplifying
these interpretations. The Torah tells us every
day what are the conditions for our salvation
and liberation (geula). It tells us this in the
expression "ha yom," "today"
which is found more than 500 times in the Tanakh.
Hakadosh Barukh Hu has and continues to give us
every day all that we need for the fulfillment
of optimal order in the world.
Many times, our masters told us that the time
of salvation had come and that the conditions
were favorable if we did teshuva, but the people
refused to do what was demanded of them. There
is no inevitable outcome and there is no one charismatic
Rabbi who will ensure our salvation.
The tendency to believe in a magical force stems
from our connection to the erev rav, the common
people who followed magicians since the time of
the exodus from Egypt. These beliefs and practices
only delay the moment of liberation, which is
based solely on teshuva. The only signs that count
are those of the Torah, and the teachings of our
Sages. Those who claim to bring new beliefs are
simply demonstrating their ignorance and the Torah
has described and warned us repeatedly about those
who propagate falsehoods and deceptions.