Rav Moshe Shapiro on the Post-Pillar-of-Cloud Matzav
Translated from Rav Fish's special newsletter. I received this more than a week ago, but wasn't able to post this until now:
Words of Maran Rabbeinu Hagaon Hagadol Rav Moshe Shapiro Shlit"a.
About the judgement day that is approaching. And the lessons from Operation Pillar of Cloud, how to find a true solution to the Matzav in Eretz Yisrael.
Published in a special edition of "Sod HaHashmal".
These words were said on Thursday of Parshat Vayetze, 8 Kislev, 5773
- It appears pressing and required to explain, as much as possible, according to our abilities, the topic of Yishmael. As is apparent, and I'm not going into assessments, but still with a direct mind, according to natural means, we are in a problem that has no possibility of a solution. A solution that is similar to the "solution" - with as many double-quotes as we can put there - that we experienced, may last once or twice, but this is not a solution. And another solution, whoever thinks of sitting and talking, to make agreements and negotiate, as I see it is an insult to the intelligence of a ten-year-old. These are words of vanity! The Creator of the world placed us in a situation that we are in an unsolvable problem. Of course, I am speaking of a solution through natural means, similar to the solutions that we seek here in this world: the power of deterrence, and a stronger power of deterrence, and more power, and more power. These are words of vanity. As is apparent, the next time, in the middle of the "deterrence", the entire Israel will be full of this situation. We will all live like our brothers in the South. In short, the situation is unsolvable, and the Creator of the world pushes us more and more. This is what is apparent. From this day forward, we are in this situation and there is no solution.
- Why don't people want to know that the Torah already spoke about this long ago? These words are explicit and written in a book that was written much more than 2000 years ago. The words are explained in Haza"l and the direction of the solution is one and the only one - no other. Let's read it from the Gemara (Sanhedrin 97b):
Ribbi Eliezer says: if Israel does Teshuva, they will be redeemed, and if not, they will not be redeemed. Ribbi Yehoshua said to him: if they don't do Teshuva, they will not be redeemed?! Rather, HKB"H raises up for them a king whose decrees are as harsh as Haman, and Israel will do Teshuva, and return them to doing good.This is also decided by the Ramba"m (Hil. Teshuva 7:5):
Israel will only be redeemed through Teshuva. And the Torah already promised that eventually Israel will do Teshuva at the end of the exile and immediately, they will be redeemed.Through a king who is as harsh as Haman, Israel will do Teshuva. "Harsh as Haman" means as Haman wanted (Esther 3:13) "to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day". We're looking for a king who is as harsh as Haman, but people who are harsh like Haman, apparently, there are hundreds of millions of them, each one wanting with all his heart and there is a desire where they are prepared to give up their lives for this: "to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish". The king who is harsh like Haman would need to bring us toward repenting with Teshuva and then, Israel is assured that immediately, they would be redeemed. Here, we found the solution. The definite solution! It was here for already many years, so why did no one look in this direction?
- We learn from this that there is no other solution. Any thought in the direction of another solution is stupidity! We see how this progresses in a clear form, step after step. We are being pushed against the wall more and more. That's it, there is no solution. To live like this is impossible, and to do something against it is impossible. The solution is in one direction toward where the Creator of the world is bringing us. Since we are the community of the nation who accepted the Torah, we are believers, the children of believers. If we will face this and know this clearly ourselves, the matter will be easier to digest and clearer for others. The problem is also with us: even for us, it appears that they will construct other solutions. Everyone suggests their own other solutions, everyone is more logical than the next guy [and it doesn't matter from which side we will look at the "next guy"...]. The tests to solve the problem with other solutions - I don't want to use harsh words - but at the very least is an insult to intelligence. I just want to point out that in the words of Haza"l, the matter is clear.
- "Raise up for them a king whose decrees are harsh like Haman" - Haman himself was not a king. However, through a king like him, Israel will do Teshuva and HKB"H will return them to doing good. Let's look at a few things. In Pirket DeRibbi Eliezer (beginning of chapter 32), it says:
6 people were given names before they were born [and one of them was Yishmael.] From where do we know this? As it says (Bereishit 16:11) "and thou shalt call his name Ishmael". And why was his name called "Yishmael"? Because in the future, HKB"H will hear the sound of the cries of the [Jewish] people from what Yishmael will do in the land in the End of Days. Therefore, his name is called "Yishmael", as it says, "יִשְׁמַע אֵל, וְיַעֲנֵם".Haza"l reveals here that the name "Yishmael" is so called due to the prayer that was accepted. This is what the angel told Hagar in the continuation of the verse "because the LORD hath heard thy affliction". But still, it would have been more fit to call him "שמעאל" - why "ישמעאל", which is future tense? Therefore, Haza"l learned that this name is about the future: "in the future, HKB"H will hear the sound of the cries of the [Jewish] people from what Yishmael will do in the land in the End of Days." In other words, there is a promise here that this creation will in the future bring to the world accepted prayers, "Hashem will hear and He will answer." Yishmael came [into the world] via an answered prayer and he will bring about that prayers will be answered. "נאקת העם - the cries of the [Jewish] people" is the wording used regarding Egypt: וְגַם אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי, אֶת-נַאֲקַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל "And moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel". The hint that this refers to the Final Redemption is "As in the days of thy coming forth out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things." It is written here that this "wild beast of a man" was created in the world to reveal answered prayers to the world. This is how he was created and this is his purpose in life. Here it is written in future tense: "from what Yishmael will do in the land in the End of Days."
- As is apparent, we are seeing parts of this and where this is heading. We know exactly what they will do in the future in the land in the End of Days because we already saw it. Part of this has passed, some of it is happening in the present, and we have the ability to ensure that it does not occur in the future. As it appears now, it will occur in the future. Haza"l revealed that this will be the form of conduct, and this is how the Creator of the world will bring us to be redeemed. Someone will come and force us to repent toward doing good. Every thinking person understands that this is this one and only explanation for what is occurring here. There is no other explanation! What is written here are self-evident. The Creator of the world appointed Yishmael to be that harsh king like Haman through whom we need to pray, and the prayer will be accepted. "HKB"H will hear the sound of the cries of the [Jewish] people."
- It is written in Parshat Hukat (Bemidbar 20:14-16) "And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom: 'Thus saith thy brother Israel: Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us; how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and our fathers; and when we cried unto the LORD, He heard our voice, and sent an angel, and brought us forth out of Egypt; and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border." Rashi says: "He heard our voice" refers to the blessing that our father blessed us: "The voice is the voice of Jacob" - that we cry out and are answered. An earthshaking novelty is written here: the words of Yitzhak "the voice is the voice of Jacob" were actually a blessing. In the simple meaning of the text, this is definitely not so. Just the opposite. This is in the middle of his decision whether or not to bless Yaakov in the first place, and specifically because of the "merit" that the hands were the hands of Esav was the blessing given. However, in the aforementioned Rashi, it says that it was a blessing. "The voice is the voice of Jacob" was a blessing with which our father blessed us. The explanation of the matter: where were we blessed that we cry out and we are answered? This doesn't always work that way. King Solomon, when he built the first Beit Hamikdash, specifically requested [in his prayers] for the gentile, as it says (Melachim Alef 8:43) "and do according to all that the stranger [הנכרי] calleth to Thee for". Where is this regarding us [Jews]? Rather, the halacha is decided in the Rambam - for an individual, no, but for a community, yes. And this is what he writes: "A community - whenever they do Teshuva and cry out with a complete heart - they are answered, as it says (Devarim 4:7) "as the LORD our God is whensoever we call upon Him". Such is decided as the halacha.
- All the names we have as a nation are all the first names of Yaakov. We are called "Yaakov", "Yisrael", and "Yeshurun". Every time we sound the sound where the "Sound of Yaakov" is heard, this sound is answered immediately. A community that cries out with a complete heart - the "Sound of Yaakov" is heard here. It could also work for an individual, but it is not definite. When the "Sound of Yaakov" breaks out from a community in Israel (and the advantage of a community is that it is Kelal Yisrael in miniature), it is answered immediately. This is the blessing with which we were blessed: "The voice is the voice of Jacob". Just like when we left Egypt, it is written, "and when we cried unto the LORD, He heard our voice" and it is also written similarly in Parshat Bikkurim (Devarim 26:7) "And we cried unto the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, and our toil, and our oppression." Rashi only adds that the reason for this is that when the "Sound of Yaakov" breaks out, then we are assured that when we cry out, we are answered. Kivyachol, that which we are promised and that which is written here is that Yishmael will bring out of us he "Sound of Yaakov". This is the explanation of the words in Pirkei DeRibbi Eliezer.
- Earlier [in Pirkei DeRibbi Eliezer, end of chapter 30], it is brought down:
There are 15 things that the children of Yishmael will do in the land at the End of Days...Some of them require explanation and some are very clear and they already started doing them (for example, building a building over the Sanctuary).
...and in their days, Tzemah Ben David will sprout, as it says (Daniel 2:44) "And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed."Tzemah is a name of the King Mashiah, as it says (Zecharia 6:12) אִישׁ צֶמַח שְׁמוֹ. Not everything is understood there simply, but the conclusion is clear: it will occur during the days of Yishmael. Later, it continues:
...The children of Yishmael are destined to make 3 panic-filled wars, and from there, Ben-David will sprout, and he will see the destruction of these and those, and he will come to the Land of Israel.What we learn in these words of Haza"l - where some of them are decided as Halacha - that the harsh king who will return us toward good is the same person who will press us against the wall to see that there is no other way out and then we will return to the Source - is one of them. This occurred once before where we were pressed and we did Teshuva - by the first Haman.
- What do we have to do? What obligates us from these words? The first obligatory thing is not to read newspapers! Do not go after any analysis. We already read the relevant headlines that we read just now. This will be this way until the end. The words are clear and unambiguous - the question is how do we begin? What should we do? Should we sit and wait until the king as harsh as Haman will rise against us and then do Teshuva? What? Toward where will we bring our shame when the day will come and they will ask us, "Where were you? Where were you when everything was so clear?" What will we answer - that we were too busy either writing a letter to the newspaper or reading it?! What do we need to do? I repeat - the battle is not over. The matter is not finished - this is something that anyone with a brain can admit. I want to say - not only has it not finished, but it's beginning. Beginning with much greater strength. What should we do? We are at the End of Days and Yishmael is doing exactly what Haza"l wrote. It appears that they [Yishmael] read what they [Haza"l] wrote here and they [Yishmael] are fulfilling it. And us?! We are reading what is written here and we are not fulfilling our part...
- When a person is brought to Final Judgement, he is asked, "Did you expect salvation?" (Shabbat 31a) Such a question is asked of someone who really really wants it. The problem is that he is not sitting and expecting it, so that is why he is asked this. I suspect that we will be asked, "Did you want salvation?" Forget "Did you expect?". Did you want it? Or did you want that it should not come (that it should come, but during the lifetime of our grandchildren...). That is the first thing. That is Alef. Without this, it is impossible to even begin. The Rambam's halachic decision (Hil. Melachim 11:1) is that whoever doesn't expect his coming is called a Kofer - one who denies the Torah's truth. This is because one who does not expectantly await [for Mashiah] - one explanation for this says - is a non-believer. "To believe" means to understand that this is how the world was created. There is no other existence in the world. One who does not expectantly await his coming can only be explained by denying the truth of the words of the Torah. The Rambam emphasizes: "Not only is he denying the [words of the] rest of the prophets, but also those of the Torah and of Moshe Rabbeinu." This is the first thing. We first need to enter reality - not to live in our imagination. This is the truth. It is very clear! One who expects salvation will merit it.
- I repeat and say: Anyone who dreams today that "And the land had rest forty years" will be fulfilled, one who thinks, "It will be quiet since there is deterrence"... I don't think that there is anyone here like that - you need to be lacking intelligence to think this. The face of the matter is like we said: we are currently in a situation that began - and began a while ago, but it is easier now to pay attention - this is a process that will end only according to what is written here. Only because Israel is promised. If, G-d forbid, one expects something different, Redemption will not reach such a person.
- In a verse in Habakkuk (2:3), it is written: "For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it declareth of the end, and doth not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay." This is his prophecy. The gemara says about this verse (Sanhedrin 97b):
Swelling should come to the bones of those who calculate the end times who would say that since their end time has arrived and Mashiah has not arrived, he will no longer arrive. Rather, wait for him, as it says, "Though it tarry, wait for it." You may say, "We are waiting, but He [kivyachol, the Creator of the world] is not waiting"? The verse therefore tells us (Yeshaya 30:18) "And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have compassion upon you". So since we are waiting and He is waiting, what is preventing [Mashiah from coming]? Hashem's attribute of unmitigated justice is preventing.It is explicit in the words of the gemara that it won't reach the stage of Hashem's attribute of unmitigated justice preventing Mashiah's arrival until after it reaches the stage of us waiting. He is definitely waiting, but the question is: "Are we waiting?" What is correct regarding us is the answer of "We are preventing." Even Hashem's attribute of unmitigated justice has boundaries and it is possible to have It move from the throne of unmitigated justice to the throne of mercy, but it is impossible to do so as long as WE are preventing. When the gemara answered that Hashem's attribute of unmitigated justice is preventing, this is only after it is clear that we are waiting and He is waiting. In the meantime, as long as this is not yet true, WE are preventing! To understand the implication a bit, WE are preventing our Redemption. We, the ones who accepted the Torah, are preventing the revelation of His glory in the world. We are preventing the Redemption of the entire world. How? By the fact that we are not waiting. This fact makes us into murderers. Not just murderers, but mass-murderers.
- I want you to understand - these words are completely clear and serious. There is no toying around here or room for playing games. These words are as serious as death itself. This is the process, and if we don't see this because of ignorance, no one here is to blame. If so, nevertheless, where are we? We can forgo the multitude of words of encouragement and awakening and another 2 chapters of Tehillim after davening... this is not what is requested. What is requested is that we don't prevent! We should not prevent! In the Zohar (Zohar Hadash, No'ah):
If the heads of communities repent or if one community repents, in their merit, the entire exile will be gathered in.One community in Israel, one synagogue, it is enough with this so that all of us will leave the exile. Every community can sound out the "Sound of Yaakov" and cause the fulfilment of "And Hashem heard our voices." It is enough with this in order that we fulfil "Israel is doing Teshuva and they will be redeemed." That is "And Hashem heard our voices" from the blessing of Yitzhak Avinu. Every time that Yaakov's voice is heard, it will be accepted.
Hashem should help that our eyes should see Your return to Zion in mercy, Amen.