Do Not Ascend Like A Wall
by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner
Rabbi of Beit El and Rosh Yeshiva of Ateret Cohanim, Yerushalayim
translated by Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig
printed with permission
(continued from here)
2.C. The appearance of the Revealed End of Days is the remembrance
In the Talmud in Sanhedrin: Rabbi Abba said: "You have no Revealed End [clearer] than this, as it says (Yechezkel 36:8): 'But you Mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people of Israel; for they will soon be coming.'" If so, the ingathering of the exiles and the Land giving of its fruit in abundance by way of its agricultural settlement, this is an exceptional sign of Redemption.
And similarly the Ramban. And in the Pesikta: "The Holy One, Blessed be He, does not show the sign of Redemption to Israel until they return to the thing which they loathed...The Land which our forefathers loathed. And in Rashi, Rabbi Meir according to the school of the grandson of the Rosh, Sefer Chareidim, Meharsha, Rabbi Mordechai Molcho in the year 5460 (1900), the author of Mishnat Chasidim and Ha-Rav David Lida wrote: "That our Redemption depends on the redeeming of the Land, our subjugation depends on our subjugation to it," Rabbi Mordechai Rubin, Rabbi Yehudah Chai Alkalai and Ha-Rav Eliyahu Gutmacher: "If Israel fulfills beginning to work the Holy Land, one hundred and thirty families in total, then the Redemption will be [at hand]." And similarly Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan wrote: "By means of the work of the Land and labor by the young, our eyes will see the raising up of the horn of our Nation," and Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, and there in the name of the book Yashan Noshan that by means of the beginning of Redemption which comes slowly the wall of iron which separates us from our Father in Heaven is nullified.
And Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer wrote at length that the reason that the Redemption will come will be by means of the settled Land, and similarly the Admor of Kotzk-Pilav, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk in the name of the Magid, the Ba'al Shem Tov and the Ba'al Ha-Tanya, and the Vilna Gaon similarly wrote that the Redemption will come by means of the Revealed End of ascending to Zion and the building of the Land.
And already approximately one hundred years earlier the great authorities of Israel announced the appearance of the Revealed End, they include, the Chafetz Chaim who stated concerning the beginning of the settlement in the Land "Behold, the matter has already begun," Rabbi Reuven of Denenburg, Rabbi Akiva Yosef Schlesinger in the year 5633 (1873), Ha-Rav Menachem Nachum Kahanov in the year 5620 (1860), Rabbi Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtza, Rabbi Yehoshua of Kotna, the Admor of Kotzk-Pilav at length and our master Ha-Rav Kook in many places and others.
2.D. The horrors of the Exile are the remembrance
1. Ha-Rav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal wrote that the entirety of the Oath is in effect when we sit in relative calm in the Exile, "when there is no sign from the Heavens that His will, may He be blessed, is that we should abandon the lands of the Exile...but it is not so in our time, since the words of the prophet (Michah 5:7), 'And the remnant of Yaacov shall be among the Nations...like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who if he goes through, treads down, and tears in pieces, and none can save.'"
2. And he brings a proof from the words of Rabbi Yonatan Eibeschitz.
3. And the great authorities of Israel already wrote that it is forbidden to remain in Exile when there are also evil decrees, they include the Rambam: That those who abstain from this [ascending to the Land] they are "violators and cause others to sin," the Ralbag, and the Magen Avraham: that furthermore are "liable to the death penalty," and this is also implied from the words of the Ramban.
4. And the great authorities of Israel similarly wrote that the purpose of the suffering of the Exile is to awaken us to ascend to the Land of Israel - and this is similarly in the Midrash - they include the Chatam Sofer, the author of the Arba'ah Turim and Ha-Rav Mordechai Eliezer Weber, that this is the explanation of the talmudic statement "The Land of Israel comes through suffering that the suffering hints to us to awaken ourselves to return to the Land of Israel," and Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin.
5. The great authorities of Israel wrote that the horrors of the Exile come upon us when we do not ascend to the Land of Israel, they include Ha-Rav Yaacov Tzvi Emden, Ha-Rav Yehudah Alkalai and similarly the Rokeach.
6. The Shelah wrote that the goal of the fiery furnace is to clarify that this is a mitzvah to ascend to the Land of Israel.
7. The great authorities already warned, that if we do not ascend on our own to the Land of Israel, the matter will come through horrors and destruction, they include Rabbi Simchah Bunem of Pshischa that it is incumbent upon us to ascend to the Land of Israel on our own and not wait to be struck by a rod, and Rabbi Meir Simchah of Dvinsk similarly wrote that Hashem will clarify by a blow of fury that Berlin is not Jerusalem. And the Netziv and the Gra wrote that it is incumbent upon us to choose the path of the of the Revealed End of returning to Zion and then there would not have been a need for our Sages to warn us regarding a king whose decrees would be worse than Haman, "and almost every day our Rabbi spoke to us in trembling and emotion that in Zion and Jerusalem there will be a refuge, do not delay the appointed time. Who can recount and who can describe the magnitude of concern of our Rabbi in his relating to us these types of matters in his holy spirit and tears in his eyes." In the year 5693 (1933), ten years before the destruction of Europe, when the oppressors of the Jews, may their name be blotted out, rose to power, the Chafetz Chaim said that the remaining refugee camp would be in the Land of Israel.
Our master Ha-Rav Kook wrote: "Come to the Land of Israel, pleasant brothers, come to the Land of Israel, save your souls, the soul of your generations, the soul of our entire Nation..."
8. And our Rabbi Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah wrote that the Holocaust is the divorce document with the Exile which appears together with our Redemption.
2.E. The appearance of the Gra
Ha-Rav Shraga Feivel Frank wrote that even according to one who holds that it is necessary to wait until "the day of My remembrance," the appearance of the Gra is the remembrance since the Gra was a spark of the Mosiach ben Yosef [Messiah the son of Yosef - see Sukkah 52a], and thus it was revealed to him in an exalted vision. And the command of the Gra to engage in the ingathering of the exiles and in the building of the Land is like the command of Ezra and Nechemiah.
(b"n more to come)
67. 98a, and also Megillah 17b. And see Ketubot 113b.
68. Rashi ibid. And see below footnote 81 that the beginning of Redemption of "slowly, slowly" nullifies the wall of iron.
69. "That He will command to raise up the yielding of fruit when the End of Israel draws near..." (Sefer Ha-Geulah pg. 270. And see Ramban on Vayikra 26:32. And similarly Rabbenu Bachya Bereshit 17:8).
70. Brought in the book Yosef Chen, pg. 88b. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 105.
71. "Any time that Zion is destroyed, the Redeemer still has not come" (Yeshayahu chapter 59. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 223). And similarly in the Talmud: "The son of David only comes in a generation which is completely meritorious as it says (Tehillim 37:29), 'The righteous will inherit the earth,'" and Rashi explains: "'Will inherit the earth' - which is Redemption" (Sanhedrin 98a).
72. "That ascending to the Land will draw the Redemption near" (Shevilei Emunah).
73. "With the redemption of the Land the Redemption will quickly be, as it says (Tehillim 102:14), "'For Your servants hold her stones dear...'" (Negative Mitzvot which are dependent on the Land of Israel, and it is possible to fulfill them at this time, chapter 2).
74. On the verse (Yirmiyahu 33:11), "For I will cause the captivity of the Land to return, as at the beginning": "Which is the maintenance and settlement of the Land of Israel" (Meharsha Berachot 6b) "Which means there that if they maintain and settle the Land of Israel then Hashem stated that He will cause the return of the captivity of the Land as at the beginning" (Berachot 6b. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 198).
And similarly on that which is in the Talmud: "Rava said: For a general remembrance" (Megillah 12a), he wrote "That the remembrance is 'that a few of Israel had since settled in the Land of Israel,' until here. Since any settlement of Israel in the Land of Israel is a remembrance of Redemption. And then at that time only a few thousand settled" (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 2), and see below footnote 134.
75. "The exceptional sign of Redemption, is when we see that Jerusalem has repair and dwelling in it," (Likutim. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 35). The Shelah similarly wrote that the settlement of Jerusalem is a sign of Redemption (Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 35).
76. "Day in and day out they build them, and I say, that this is a sign of the coming of the Redeemer speedily in our days" (Hon Ashir end of chapter 9 of Sotah. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 42, 128, 130, 197).
77. Ir Miklat , Parashat Emor pg. 35. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 195. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 105.
78. Shemen Ha-Mor Yoreh De'ah #22.
79. Goral La-Shem 7.
80. Letter which is printed at the beginning of the book Nefesh Chayah by Ha-Rav Chaim Eliezer Wax of Kalisch. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 160.
81. Shivat Tzion vol. 2, 4.
82. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 129.
83. On Seder Moed. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 108.
84. Derishat Tzion, Rishon Le-Tzion 54, 58. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 158.
85. Kuntres Shalom Yerushalayim. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pp. 181, 497. And see footnote 93, and the Avnei Nezer agreed with it. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 196.
86. In his letters to the Gabba'im of Eretz Ha-Kodesh in Russia in the name of the Magid of Mezeritch and the Ba'al Shem Tov regarding the holy obligation of settling and building the Land as a preparation for the Redemption. The book Mosad Ha-Yesod pg. 288. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 550.
87. That the beginning of the Redemption will be by means of an ingathering of the exiles and the Revealed End. Mosad Ha-Yesod 13, 19, 287, Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pp. 434, 435, 436.
88. Kol Ha-Tur chapter 1 #9, chapter 3 #7, chapter 5 #3. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pp. 155-156.
89. Brought in Le-Netivot Yisrael pg.  274 and pg.  278. And see Letters of the Chafetz Chaim pg. 44. And in the book Toldot Chafetz Chaim pg. 43: "For these days are the days of the footsteps of the Messiah, and when Hashem remembered His Nation, and it is possible that it is the beginning of the ingathering of the exiles.
90. Shivat Tzion vol. 2, 4.
91. Kolel Ha-Avarim pg. 19.
92. Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalayim pg. 9.
93. "For in truth this is it" (Le-Netivot Yisrael pp.  275,  278).
94. Yeshu'ot Malko Yoreh De'ah #66. And see above section 2.B. And #5 footnote 52.
95. In Kuntres Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalayim. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 181. And see footnote 85.
96. Igrot Re'eiyah vol. 1 - 236, 244, 344. Vol. 2 - 35, 37, 164, 210.
97. See in the book Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah (pp. 374, 231) that he brings a broadside with two hundred signatures of the great authorities of Israel on it, almost all of the Rabbis of the Land, including the great Rabbis of the generation, that the establishment of the State of Israel is the beginning of the Redemption.
98. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 162.
99. For he writes in Ahavat Yonatan: "That in the future when the time of love arrives, the kingdom will make decrees against Israel, and they will dedicate their hearts to go and dwell in the Land of Israel, and that time there will be a time of distress for Yaacov and Hashem will hear their cries and will have mercy on them (Parashat Ekev. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 164, 302). And even though he wrote in Parashat Va-etchanan that we should not ascend to the Land of Israel even with the permission of the Nations (see above footnote 6), when there is distress on Israel it is different, as Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal wrote: "And I am sure, that if our Rabbi, the author of 'Ahavat Yonatan,' had lived with us now in the Exile, and saw our position today in the bitter Exile that has passed over us, he himself would also say to us: Our brothers, the Children of Israel, the time has arrived for us to ascend to Zion and to the Land of our forefathers..." (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 162-163, 329-330).
100. At the end of Iggeret Kiddush Hashem (Edition of Mossad Ha-Rav Kook pg. 66) that it is forbidden to remain in the land there in which there are decrees, "But those who deceive themselves and say that they should stay in their place until the King Messiah comes to the Land of the West [and then they will] leave and go to Jerusalem - I do not know how this persecution will be nullified for them. Rather they are violators and cause others to sin."
101. That after there was a famine in the Land, our forefather Avraham decided on his own that this is the will of The Holy One, Blessed be He, that he should descend to Egypt even though the Divine command was to settle in the Land (To'aliyot Ha-Ralbag, Parashat Lech Lecha, Bereshit 12:10). And all the more so to abandon the Exile and to ascend to the Land (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 160-161).
102. "That if there are harsh decrees in the Land of Israel one should sacrifice his life for settling the Land which is not the case of one who dwells outside of the Land in a place of decrees, he is liable to the death penalty if he does not go to another country" (Zait Ra'anan on Yalkut Shemoni Yitro 292. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 106-107).
103. Who wrote that The Holy One, Blessed be He, promised us that we would sit in tranquility and with ample livelihood in the Exile (Parashat Ki Tavo, Devarim 28:38), and if so, when the non-Jews take all of the benefits of life from us, it is as if The Holy One, Blessed be He, is saying: "I pulled my hand away from you from further promising your settlement in the Exile, but you should arise and come to your mother's chest" (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 160, 239).
104. For The Holy One, Blessed be He, brought distress upon Machlon and Kilyon for approximately ten years in order to warn them to return to the Land of Israel (Tanchuma Behar #3. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 159).
105. For the force of the distress is to bring us to the Land of Israel (Derashah for Parashat Parah. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 86).
106. "Any time that the sounds, cries and screams of the harsh decrees are heard, God forbid, every person's heart should burn to build the Holy City" (Shemot 9:33. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 228).
107. The introduction of the book "Erech Dal" on Arachin. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 161, 231. And ibid., that the purpose of this bitter Exile is to awaken us for the Land of Israel (pp. 245-246).
108. "Now I know why you are against ascending and building the Land, since any time that you eat 'lichtiga fish' ['fish of light' which Chasidim eat at Seudah Shelishit while it is still day] the Land of Israel is not an imperative for you. But on account of our great sins, the great majority of Israel only eats 'finsatara fish' ['fish of darkness' - which Chasidim eat at Seudah Shelishit when it becomes night]" (related in Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 225). And he wrote similarly that the actions of the fathers are a sign for the children for Yaacov swore at a time of distress "And I will return in peace to my father's house." It is written in the Midrash that The Holy One, Blessed be He, takes the words of the fathers and makes them a key for the redemption of the children, a hint of the footsteps of the Messiah (Sefer Divrei Emet Parashat Va-yetze. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 31).
109. "Do not consider remaining rooted outside the Land...this was the sin of our forefathers...and it is what kept us in our bitter Exile because not only one person arose upon us to destroy us but in each and every generation...and we were persecuted ruthlessly...as it seems to us when we were in tranquility outside of Israel that we found the Land of Israel [on] a different level, therefore all of the tragedies come upon us when Israel was dwelling in the Land of Spain and other lands..." (Siddur Beit Yaacov, introduction, 13). "And if only this sin had been in our hands...in my view it is the closest reason, revealed, powerful and strong, for all of the horrible, great and unprecedented persecutions, which astonishes the mind, which we have experienced in Exile" (ibid.). And see below footnote 178.
110. "Since Israel was not awakened to return to our Land and the inheritance of our forefathers, the decrees began, the expulsion and persecutions, because the matter is dependent on repentance - that they return to the Land of Israel" (Kol Korei from the year 5608 ).
111. For the persecutions of Warsaw came because they thought they lived in the little Jerusalem. See below in the end of footnote 156.
112. Shelah volume 3, chelek Torah Shebichtav, 11:2 (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 330).
113. For there are two ways to acquire an animal: call it and it follows after him, or strike a stick and it runs before him. And thus we have to ascend to the Land of Israel of our own accord, and not to wait until Hashem strikes us by means of a stick (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 88).
114. "...and the Jew...will think that Berlin is Jerusalem...then a stormy and rushing wind will come, it will uproot us from its trunk..." (Meshech Chochmah Bechukotai pg. 192). "A stormy wind will arise, and spread out its many waves, and destroy, lay waste, ruin, wash away without mercy" (pg. 191).
115. For during the three days of darkness all those who did not want to leave Egypt died, "And all of this is incumbent upon us to remember that also at this time that many of Israel refuse the future Redemption [occurring] quickly in our days, but The Holy One, Blessed be He, will rule over us with a strong hand" (Haggadah of Pesach on the verse "And Hashem brought us out...with a strong hand").
116. Kol Ha-Tur chapter 4 #3.
117. Kol Ha-Tur end of chapter 5. And similarly "And there will be a refugee in Zion and Jerusalem and for the remnants, and that is sufficient wisdom. And our Rabbi was extremely worried regarding this" (ibid. Chapter 1 #10). And Rabbi Moshe bar Hillel of Shaklov: "The matter of this prophecy, in Zion and Jerusalem will be a refugee, caused extreme worry to our Rabbi, the Gra, that according to this the footsteps of the Messiah were coming that the ingathering of the Exile would come by way of the refugee, which means out of the necessity of distress and decrees, and only the remnant of the survivors would arrive to Zion and Jerusalem" (Magid Doresh Tzion vol. 2 pg. 71. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 446). And Rabbi Sa'adia of Mohliv, a student of the Gra, reported that when the Gra spoke about this, tears flowed from his eyes, and he said "We must hope that the ingathering of the Exiles will be by our own will and not by means of distress of a refugee" (ibid. footnote 33. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah ibid.).
118. As it is written (Ovadiah 1:17) "And there will be a refugee on Mt. Zion and it will be holy" - and therefore it was ensured that our Land of Holiness will rescue (Chafetz Chaim pg. 73. Ha-Tekufah Ha-Gedolah pg. 198).
119. "Keriyot Gedolot - Le-Eretz Yisrael." And Ha-Rav of Onsdorf said [in Yiddish]: Woe, I see that God forbid the Jews can not remain here, in these countries, and they will be forced to flee. There will be nowhere to flee. Why do they not see to build the settlement in the Land of Israel?" (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 25).
120. "Hashem's hand extends over us, from the midst of bloodshed, fiery furnaces, agony of suffering, kindling of fires, sacrificing of souls, which with the taking of land of the Exile and the removal of the Divine Presence from it, also brings us by our forelock, and places us in the heights of our theater of operations" (Le-Netivot Yisrael pg.  81). "And the extension of Hashem's hand over us in a pouring out of His anger, to remove us from the impurities of the lands of the Nations and the dispersions of our Exiles in the midst of their darkness...in the annihilation of a third of our body and its choice part" (ibid. pg.  123). "The dreadful chapter of the Divine dissection in the body of the Nation with the annihilation of our six million, an important part, in a way of lifting us to our place" (ibid. pg.  147). "The departure from the desert of the Nations...with the inconceivable horrible and dreadful dissection-severance of hundred of thousands, may the remembrance of the holy ones be a blessing, may Hashem revenge their blood, and cause to enter for the settlement of the Land" (ibid. pg.  179). "The ingathering of our exiles and entrance of our scattered to the Place of our Life, with their horrible uprooting of the dispersions and the scattering" (ibid. pg.  247). "With the completion of the collapse of the land of the Exile from under our feet...with the fulfillment of the word of Hashem that 'Among these Nations we will not find tranquility and our feet will not find rest'..." (ibid. pg.  69). "The storm of severance of the body of the Entirety of Israel from the deserts of the Nations" (ibid. pg.  105). "The complete actual arising, of the announcement that 'Among these Nations we will not find tranquility,' came with taking the portion of the land from our presence there" (ibid. pg.  80). "In the essence of the full collapse, the complete uprooting, the final severance, for all of the Community of Israel's agony of upheaval from its reality among the Nations and their lands, of its bodies and its souls, of its adults and its youths, of its possession and its culture, of its physical and its spiritual, of its holy and its profane - it is the appearance of the light of life and the revival of the Nation of Holiness and the splendor of its eternity" (ibid. pg. [102-103] 135).
121. Toldot Zev, Kuntres Mitzvat Yishuv Ha-Aretz, pg. 64 #18.
122. He also wrote that Rabbi Zeira ascended only after he saw barley in his dream as in explained in Berachot 57a, after his rabbi, Rabbi Yehudah, said to wait until "the day of My remembrance," since this dream was his personal remembrance (Toldot Zev, #19). And see further regarding this issue in the book Kuntres Mitzvat Yeshivat Eretz Yisrael of Ha-Rav Blumberg pg. 20.