Sunday, July 23, 2006

From the Hand of G-d.

When giving Tzedoko [charity] to the Land of Israel, in addition to the value of tzedoko in its own right, there is an additional quality in that one is encouraging the inhabitants of Eretz Israel. This matter is especially relevant at this time. We are living through a time of double fold darkness of the exile. To the naked eye it appears that we are reliant on the ‘kindness of the nations’. We need to realize that the kindness of the nations contains within it an element of sin, in that all nations act with an aspect of self interest [Zohar]. When the Jewish People are recipient of such benefits, one has to realize the truth: that they have received this [ultimately not from the world community] but from
G-d, ‘The Guardian of Israel, Who neither slumbers nor sleeps’.

The nations are no more than an axe in the hands of the woodchopper, have in reality no choice in the matter, but are a vehicle through which G-d acts – an axe in the hands of G-d. From this understanding it is clear that it would be highly inappropriate for the Jew to bow and pay homage to the axe, and to turn it into a form of idol worship. And this remains true even if hand in hand with bowing before the axe [gentile] the Jew were to offer his prayers to G-d, and certainly not to turn the axe into the main focus of homage, instead of turning to the one who holds the axe [G-d]. Should one bow before the axe and also pray to G-d this is a form of forbidden idol worship [halachically known as ‘shituf’ – creating a false partner with G-d], a form of worship forbidden to the Jewish people. [In ancient times this took the form of faith in G-d with the mistaken belief that the stars and constellations were knowingly active in emanating energy to the world]. For a Jew, this belief constitutes a form of forbidden idol worship. Even should such a service be performed inadvertently, this remains idol worship. [The distinction would only be in the form of punishment, not a question of whether or not this forbidden service has been performed].

Therefore, it is a matter of absolute certainty that one must not be intimidated or feel dependant on nations who do not wield freedom of choice, regardless of the fact that benefits do come through them. To the absolute contrary: only when the Jewish nation stand strong before them in matters of self survival, and tie a firm bond with G-d; since ‘the hearts of kings are in the hands of G-d’ [Proverbs], and specifically because the spiritual energy powers of the nations see clearly that their source is from G-d; only then will the Jewish people will receive from them all of their needs. These nations do indeed offer financial assistance, but know – everything ultimately comes from G-d. It is because we are in a time of dark exile that it is through them that these benefits are channeled. They are no more that the agents of G-d.

Now since we are receiving from G-d, He will give ‘from His full, open, Holy, and broad hand’ [even when this runs via the channel of agents], generously, as our sages have said, ‘One who gives, gives with a good generous eye’ [Tractate Bava Basra 53.1]. [From the farbrengen of 19 Kislev, 1988]

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