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)
7. The oath is ascending to build the Temple
The Gra wrote that the meaning is not to merely ascend but to ascend to build the Temple.
[And Rav Sharga Feivel Frank explains the words of the Gra, that if it were not so, why did this revelation come to King Shlomo, peace be upon him, that he should not perform any form of conquest? But now it is understandable, since the building of the Temple devolved upon him, they were therefore commanded that they should not go out to build the Temple on their own without the commandment of Hashem].
8. When there is power and courage, there is no wall
The Oath only applies at any time that there is not forcefulness in the hearts of the Children of Israel to ascend to the Land.
1. Thus wrote Rav Mordechai Yosef, the Admor of Izbitza: "'They traveled from Har Shafer and they encamped in Charadah' (Bamidbar 33:24). This means that any matter in which a person is in doubt as to how the will of Hashem inclines, then he is advised that he should refrain himself from acting, and this is 'and they encamped in Charadah' [literally 'fear' or 'trembling'], since on account of the fear that a person will have it is best to encamp and to be in a state of 'sit and do not act,' like now that they swore that they would not force the End. 'And they traveled from Charadah and they encamped in Makhelot' [literally 'gatherings'] (ibid. 25), this means that at a time when Hashem, may He be Blessed, will desire to gather us, then He will place forcefulness in their hearts that they will not fear, would that this will be soon in our days."
2. And this is also implied from the language of Rabbi Meir Simchah of Dvinsk: "The fear of the Oaths departed," since all of the Oaths are only a matter of fear and when there is no fear there are no Oaths, and on account of a permit of the Kings of the Nations of the World there is no fear.
*And fear is connected to the essence of the curse of Exile as it is written: "I will bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a rustling leaf will pursue them," as the words of our master Ha-Rav Kook that in Exile there is not "much courage, since is it not that one must dread from the sound of a rustling leaf." But at the time of the renewal of the awakening of the spirit of courage (Orot 115) like the words of the Ra'avad that the coming of Eliyahu means the return of courage to the Nation of Israel. And Rabbi Tzadok Ha-Cohain of Lublin also wrote that the coming of Eliyahu is the appearance of the arm of strength against the non-Jews.
And Rabbi Yaacov Emden wrote that the Land of Israel returns our strengthen to us like a leopard. And our master Ha-Rav Kook wrote: "And all the pure and the holy...sparkles with the strength of my soul of the appearance of the courage of the Nation."
9. The issue of the wall remains as a dispute in the Talmud
There are great Torah authorities who threw an ax at the whole issue of the Oaths, since there is a discussion that disputes it in Massechet Yoma (9b). It is related there that Reish Lakish was swimming in the Jordan River, and Rabbah bar bar Channah came and offered him a hand. Reish Lakish said to him: "By God! I hate you, [Rashi: "All those who reside in Babylonia who did not ascend (to Israel) during the days of Ezra and prevented the Divine Presence from returning to the Second Temple"], as it is written (Shir Ha-Shirim 8:9), 'If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver, and if she be a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar,' if you would have made yourselves like a wall, and all of you would have ascended in the days of Ezra, you would have been compared to silver which is not subject to decay, but now that you ascended like doors [Rashi - you ascended in parts], you are compared to cedar which is subject to decay."
1. And the Pnei Yehoshua similarly wrote on this contradiction: "And one can say that they are conflicting midrashim."
2. And Ha-Rav Mordechai Elishberg similarly holds that Reish Lakish disagrees with the whole issue of the Oaths, and he added that the Talmud in Berachot (4a) disputes the Oaths, and this is its language: "'Until Your Nation passes through, Hashem - until this Nation You have acquired passes through' (Shemot 15:16). 'Until Your Nation passes through, Hashem' - this is the first coming [to the Land], 'until this Nation You have acquired passes through' - this is the second coming [to the Land]. From here our Sages said that Israel was fit to have a miracle performed for them in the days of Ezra in the same manner as it was performed for them in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun, but the sin caused [it not to occur]," and Ha-Rav Mordechai Elishberg explained that the sin was that they did not ascend like a wall.
3. And Rav Attiah similarly wrote that the Sages of the Land of Israel disagree with the issue of the Three Oaths, and in this matter "The law is like the Sages of Israel since they are in the midst of Jerusalem and understand the value of the Land."
Notes to be posted at the end of the series.