Friday, August 11, 2006

Humility Brings Geula

The Ben Ish Hai writes in his book בן איש חיל:
When Moshe was asked to take the Jewish people out of Egypt, he asked Hashem what Zechut the Jewish people had to leave Egypt.

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים, מִי אָנֹכִי, כִּי אֵלֵךְ אֶל-פַּרְעֹה; וְכִי אוֹצִיא אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמִּצְרָיִם

Hashem answered him:

וַיֹּאמֶר, כִּי-אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ, וְזֶה-לְּךָ הָאוֹת, כִּי אָנֹכִי שְׁלַחְתִּיךָ: בְּהוֹצִיאֲךָ אֶת-הָעָם, מִמִּצְרַיִם, תַּעַבְדוּן אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, עַל הָהָר הַזֶּה

In the merit of receiving the Torah will they be redeemed. However, Hashem hinted another message by adding the words "על ההר הזה". We know that Mt. Sinai was the most humble of all the mountains. Hashem hinted to Moshe that in the merit of the Jewish people being humbled and downtrodden were they redeemed from Egypt. This is also understood from the verses in Tehillim:

שֶׁבְּשִׁפְלֵנוּ, זָכַר לָנוּ: כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וַיִּפְרְקֵנוּ מִצָּרֵינוּ: כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ

Because we were downtrodden, that's why Hashem redeemed us.
We know that the future redemption will also occur because of humility, as it says:

כִּי-אַתָּה, עַם-עָנִי תוֹשִׁיעַ; וְעֵינַיִם רָמוֹת תַּשְׁפִּיל

It is logical to say this too, since the greater the oppressor and the more downtrodden the oppressed, the greater honor is given to the Redeemer. This is why we plead in the Tahanunim for Hashem to look down on our low status among the nations and for the redemption to come as a result:

א-ל! הביטה דל כבודינו בגוים ושקצונו כטומאת הנדה
עד מתי עוזך בשבי ותפארתך ביד צר

We also know that the oppressors of Israel become great. We know this from the Gemara in Gittin that says

היו צריה לראש וגו' כל המיצר לישראל נעשה ראש

However, the greatness of the oppressors of Israel is another sign of the redemption, as it says:

הִרְבִּיתָ הַגּוֹי, לא (לוֹ) הִגְדַּלְתָּ הַשִּׂמְחָה

and we can be דורש both the קרי and the כתיב to say: לא לו הגדלת השמחה - when Hashem makes a nation great, He does not increase the joy for that nation; but rather the joy increased for us, the Jews.

This piece from the Ben Ish Hai has a lot of interesting ramifications for our day.
We just had the Mitz'ad Ha'anavah (Humility March) from Rav Amnon Yitzhak this past week. That's the most obvious connection.
However, perhaps there's a deeper meaning and a deeper lesson for us all. We all know that the war is not going so well on the Israeli side. Maybe Hashem needs us to be humbled and downtrodden in the eyes of the world in order to redeem us. Maybe Hashem needs to raise Nasrallah and Ahmedinejad up in the eyes of the world by achieving military parity with Israel in order to redeem us.

Let's pray to Hashem that our humility and lowliness has been enough already throughout the years. Let's hope our lowliness throughout the years will bring about our redemption sooner than planned (Ahishena). As the end of this week's Haftarah says:

כִּי-נִחַם יְהוָה צִיּוֹן, נִחַם כָּל-חָרְבֹתֶיהָ, וַיָּשֶׂם מִדְבָּרָהּ כְּעֵדֶן, וְעַרְבָתָהּ כְּגַן-יְהוָה; שָׂשׂוֹן וְשִׂמְחָה יִמָּצֵא בָהּ, תּוֹדָה וְקוֹל זִמְרָה


At Sun Aug 13, 01:32:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing brings more humility than saying: I WAS WRONG. And despite all the mistakes, we are not hearing this in Am Yisrael, NOT YET.

You see, "we", the frum, have no problems saying "they were wrong". They, the zionists, the leftists, the chilonim, the settlers. And we whitewash the role of "our gedolim" in the process that brought the troubles. And so, the troubles will increase, until "we" will acknowledge: WE WERE WRONG.


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