Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Meir Kahane- Parshat VaYetzei
ALL G-D WANTS IS A LITTLE FAITH
Regarding Jacob's ladder, the Rabbis comment (Tanchuma, Vayetzei 2): "G-d showed Jacob the archangels of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome climbing the ladder and then falling down. Said the Almighty, 'Jacob, why do you not climb?' Jacob was afraid and said, 'Just as those fell so shall I fall.' Said the Almighty, 'If you climb you will not fall.' But he did not believe and did not climb. Concerning this, Rabbi Shmuel Ben Yosina said, 'Nevertheless they sinned further, and did not believe in His wondrous works' (Psalms 78:32). Said the Almighty, 'Had you climbed and believed, you would never have fallen. But since you did not believe, your children will be enslaved to these four kingdoms...'"
G-d promised Jacob in his dream, "I will be with you" (Genesis 28:15), but Jacob was nevertheless scared when he left Laban's house and heard that Esav was approaching. And so, the Almighty sent an angel to wrestle with Jacob and wound him. As the Rabam writes, "Jacob was stricken and limped because he fled [from Esav] even though G-d had promised [to be with him]. In general, we find that anyone who goes on a path that G-d does not desire, or refuses to go on a path that He does desire, is punished."
Fear of man is the key to lack of faith in G-d and none of us, not even the greatest, is immune from it. And it is this fear of human beings rather than trusting in G-d which is the source of the tragedy which, G-d forbid, will befall us. In the words of King Solomon (Proverbs 29:25-26), "The fear of man brings a snare, but he who places his trust in the L-rd shall be safe. Many seek the ruler's favor, but a man's judgment comes from G-d."
Rabbeinu Bechaya in Kad HaKemach:
"And we have seen that the Torah warned us against fearing the nations: 'When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and a people more numerous than you, you shall not fear them; for the L-rd, your G-d, who brought you up out of the Land of Egypt, is with you' (Deuteronomy 20:1). The Torah further states, 'Who is the man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house' (ibid. 20:8). For the fear of the nations has conquered him, and while it is possible that he truly believes that everything is in G-d's hand, his heart is weak and his nature inferior because his soul did not grow in the element of trust...And there is no doubt that he who fears the might of flesh and blood is low of soul and he who fears man forgets the Almighty..."
The reality of our times. The fear of human beings and the erosion of faith in the Almighty so that we pay lip service to the general concept of trust in G-d but shrink from the reality of the steps we must take in every actual, individual challenge. And so we are terrified at the thought of losing American aid and President Bush and his Baker and his Dole send hysteria through the ranks of the Jewish rank.
We are convinced- in our lowness of soul- that we cannot survive without the gentile and thus are terrified at the thought of isolation. We see it as a curse when it is the greatest blessing imaginable. "And He shall drive out the enemy from before you and shall say: 'Destroy them!' Israel shall then dwell in safety alone..." (Deuteronomy 33:27). And the Ohr HaChaim says: "'Israel shall then dwell in safety.' When? When he is alone..."
Isolation. That is the role and obligation and destiny of the Jew. And how we have lost our way...
The Jewish Press, 1990
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