HISORERI HISORERI –Wake up Wake up – An Almost Nuclear Iran
By Yochonon Donn BROOKLYN – Harav Moshe Wolfson, shlita, spoke Tuesday night in a rare mid-week assembly for his kehillah, Emunas Yisroel in Boro Park, asking bluntly why there is no greater uproar within the community over the potential for war over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “Why are we quiet? Where is the awakening? Why is everyone so apathetic?” asked Rav Wolfson, who is also mashgiach of Yeshivah Torah Vodaath. “Everyone is busy with narishkeiten, we don’t hear the alarm? We don’t know that we have to pierce the heavens for rachamim from the Ribbono Shel Olam?” Rav Wolfson told the packed beis medrash of nearly 1,000 people that the potential for a war encompassing Iran, Israel, Europe and the United States over the next few weeks is a real one, and Klal Yisrael must prepare itself spiritually. “Everyone knows that there is currently a growing danger from Iran – and it is a great error for whoever does not know this,” Rav Wolfson said. “Why should a Yid not know what is happening to [other] Yidden? Everyone must know what is happening in regard to other Yidden. Everyone must know what is happening in Eretz Yisrael.” Rav Wolfson began talking this past Shabbos about the dangers from the Iran crisis, when he stopped and said that it was not a subject to discuss on Shabbos. He said he would continue the topic during the week. The last time he called for a special asifah during the week to discuss current events was in 1991, prior to the Gulf War. Rav Wolfson started his address, which was carried live by Kol Halashon, with the famous Rambam, who writes that it is a mitzvah to daven during troubled times. “If you don’t daven,” the Rambam says, “then it is a cruelty, since it will get worse.” “The leader in Iran says clearly – he repeated it this week – that he wants to kill, Rachmana litzlan, every Yid in the world, just like Haman,” Rav Wolfson said. “If he will be successful, chas v’shalom, in getting the nuclear bomb – and experts says he will have it by the summer – it will be a great danger for Klal Yisrael.” “A good part of the world’s Jews live in Israel, and the government there says that they will attack Iran first, before they could get the nuclear bomb. If that happens, everyone knows that that will cause a world war.” Rav Wolfson said that he heard that Harav Yosef Rosenblum, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah Shaarei Yosher, spoke recently about the crisis with Iran – he said that during this eis tzarah, “Hashem is judging us on every klal and on every prat.” Rav Wolfson quoted the Pesikta, who says that the year when Moshiach will come all nations will battle each other. The spark that will set it off, according to the Medrash, will be when the king of Paras – which is modern-day Iran – will threaten “Arabia,” presumably Saudi Arabia, such as is happening today. Arabia will go for an alliance with Edom – the culture of Edom is today’s Western world, Europe and United States. Paras will then destroy the world and the Yidden will be thrown into turmoil. Hashem will then say: “Do not fear, the time for your Geulah has come.” Rav Wolfson noted how eerily similar this Medrash is to what is occurring today. “We don’t have to be in a panic,” Rav Wolfson said, “Hashem will perform miracles for us. But efsher takeh. Maybe the time for the Geulah has arrived. We must prepare for the Geulah.” Rav Wolfson said that since the Holocaust, Hashem has performed great miracles for the Yidden. Eretz Yisrael, which today hosts most of the world’s Yidden and most of the Torah world, merited supernatural siyatta diShmaya during its wars. When the Palestinians shoot missiles from Gaza, they land mostly in empty areas and cause little damage. When then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein shot 39 Scud missiles during the Gulf War, only one Yid was killed – that man had previously received a klalah from the Chazon Ish. “This a hashgachah niflaah that is reserved only for Yidden who learn Torah, who keep the mitzvos and who will ultimately do teshuvah,” Rav Wolfson said. “Hashem wants to do nissim for us. Israel is surrounded by 300 million Arabs and we are still there; that means Hashem wants to do yeshuos. We must prepare for yeshuos.” But just like Eliyahu had to daven on Har Hacarmel even though Hashem had already promised to bring rain, Hashem still wants the tefillos of Klal Yisrael today, even though He had promised to bring yeshuos. In order to qualify for these miracles, Rav Wolfson said, we must strengthen in Torah, tefillah and chessed. He specifically suggested saying Tehillim 46 every day, adding that he is asking his own kehillah to have the kapitel printed out and stuck to the back of every siddur. During the Suez campaign in 1956, the Belzer Rebbe asked that people say that particular kapitel, since it is a segulah to prevent warfare. “Everyone has to be mispallel that Klal Yisrael should be saved from chevlei Moshiach, that he and his family should be saved,” he said. Rav Wolfson also spoke about kevias ittim for Torah, not interrupting even “if the cell phone rings.” “I heard from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, that when a Yid sits down to learn it should be like Shabbos,” Rav Wolfson said. “That is the only time that one is pattur from work.” “In a beis medrash it is Shabbos. … If someone interrupts his learning and he picks up the phone, he brings the marketplace, he brings the office into Shabbos. He is mechallel the Shabbos.” But above all, Rav Wolfson said, Yidden should keep in mind that we live in momentous times, and we should prepare for the upcoming era with emunah and bitachon. “In the next couple of weeks there will be news,” Rav Wolfson said, “and with the help of Hashem, it will be good news for Yidden.”
We are Awaiting a Miracle
The world situation today, with Iran heading nuclear and threatening war, is ominous. Israel, as
usual, is its target for destruction and the Jewish people are in grave danger. We need a miracle in
order to survive and are guaranteed that Hashem will make one for us.
Achashveirosh was a wicked and anti-Semitic king. At first he reigned over seven nations so
the Jewish people were able to escape to the other one hundred and twenty sovereignties of the globe.
Then he was king over twenty seven nation, and the Jewish people were squeezed out of those
additional twenty countries. When he became king over all the one hundred and twenty countries of
the world, the Jewish people had nowhere to flee and therefore, Hashem had to perform a miracle for
We are heading toward the great days of Adar and are confident that we will soon sing a song
to Hashem in gratitude for his miraculous salvation
The Shira of Yisro - Introduction.
When Yisro heard of the miracles that Hashem performed for the Jewish people, he joined
them in the wilderness. There, he observed that Moshe Rabbeinu, his son-in-law, sat alone judging and
teaching the people all day. The people had to stand and wait many hours in order to seek out the word
Yisro advised Moshe Rabbeinu that he set up a hierarchal system of judges in order to lighten
his load and make it easier for the people. With the approval of Hashem, Moshe Rabbeinu set up this
Why was the hierarchal system of judges instituted through the advice of Yisro and not
commanded directly by Hashem to Moshe?
The Gemara relates that Pharaoh consulted with three advisors to assist him in developing a
plan to weaken the Jewish people. These were Bilam, Iyov, and Yisro.
Bilam advised Pharaoh in the enslaving and mistreating of the Jews. As a punishment, he was
later killed by the sword in a battle against the Jews. Iyov was silent; he did not agree but did not
protest. He was therefore made to endure terrible suffering. Yisro fled to avoid participating and was
consequently rewarded that his descendents were part of the Supreme Court that was situated in the
There are a few difficulties with this Gemara. First of all, what was Yisro’s motivation in
fleeing? We may assume that he did not have to escape because Pharaoh would kill him for being
silent on the subject of the Jewish people because we see that Pharaoh did not kill Iyov for his silence.
During the second Temple era, Agripas, a king of non-Jewish descent, reigned. When he read
the Torah publicly and reached the verse “You cannot place upon yourselves a stranger ,” Agripas cried. The sages calmed him by saying, “You are our brother, you are our brother.”
Tosfos notes that, although the sages could not have protested, they should have remained
silent. From this Tosfos we deduce that if one cannot protest a wrongdoing, he fulfils his obligation of
protesting a transgression by remaining silent.
This makes it difficult to understand why Iyov’s silence did not suffice and he was made to
suffer for not registering protest.
Yisro Separated Himself from an Evil Alliance
It is wrong to be part of an association that executes evil. Iyov should have separated himself
from Pharaoh’s advisory board when it became the tool for torturing the Jewish people.
That is why Yisro was not satisfied with merely remaining silent and fled Egypt. He would not
be part of an evil alliance.
He left his prestigious position as renowned diplomat of a world Super Power and became a
simple priest whose daughters were subject to harassment. He willingly paid the price of not being part
of an evil alliance.
Yisro’s Reward – ‘Middah Keneged Middah’ (Measure for Measure)
As an appropriate reward for refusing to be part of the advisory board of the Egyptian king,
Yisro merited serving as an advisor for Moshe Rabbeinu, the Jewish king. He is the only man that the
Torah quotes saying to Moshe Rabbeinu ‘I will advise you.’
Yisro refused to be part of a coalition that advised Pharaoh to place upon the Jewish people
Egyptian task masters – rulers of a foreign ethnicity. He was therefore rewarded that he merited
advising Moshe Rabbeinu that the Jewish people should choose – from their own brethren – worthy
men that would lead them.
For declining to participate in implementing plans to make life harsh for the Jewish people,
Yisro merited counseling Moshe to implement a system of judges that would make obtaining the law
of Hashem easier for them.
Yisro refused to cooperate with Pharaoh’s enslavement of the Jewish people for the purpose of
building treasuries. His descendents were appointed to be in charge of the treasury in the Bais
Pharaoh aroused the irrational fear that the Jewish people would join the enemy in the event of
war. Yisro refused to buy into it and develop preventative measures. He was rewarded that his children
were part of the Supreme Court, whose authority the army required in order to wage war against the
harassers of the Jewish people.
Yisro was rewarded ‘Middah Keneged Middah’ – measure for measure. For every aspect of his
self-sacrifice he was received a corresponding reward.
Every Creature has its Song
Every Jew has a unique task and mission on this world according to the essence of his soul just
as each angel has its unique mission. An angel sings an exclusive shirah (song) to its Creator when it
fulfils its task. A person, too, has a shirah that he sings to Hashem in consonance with the unique
essence of his soul and exclusive task.
Furthermore, every creature has a unique reason for existence. It has an angel in heaven
corresponding to it that sings its song to the Almighty as it fulfils its task. The fruit bearing tree and the
barren tree, wildlife and domestic animals, insects and flying birds; every creation has its specific role
in the world and praises its creator through its angel in heaven with a shirah unlike that of any other.
Each person is inspired to sing shirah to Hashem by a different phenomenon, in accordance
with his essence. He will be aroused to sing his exclusive song by a stimulus specific to his soul.
The Shirah of Yisro
What plucked the harp strings of Yisro’s neshama? What was the stimulus for his shirah?
He was aroused in praise of the Almighty when he noticed how He punishes evildoers in
accordance to their misdeeds with astounding accuracy. In the very same manner that the Egyptians
abused the Jewish people, they were made to suffer. The Egyptians drowned Jewish babies and were,
therefore, drowned themselves; they did not allow them a moments rest to even scratch themselves and
were tortured by itchy creatures for a week; etc.
He exclaimed, “Now I know that Hashem is greater than all the Gods, for in the manner that
[the Egyptians] plotted against them [they were punished].”
By discerning the precise correlation of the punishment to the crime, Yisro understood that
Hashem is not just the Creator from a distance, but is intimately involved in and guides the affairs of
Yisro was aroused to praise Hashem by observing the way He conducts the world ‘Middah
Keneged Middah.’ This was because Yisro was a soul closely attuned to the divine attribute of
‘Middah Keneged Middah.’ Therefore, he was rewarded in a manner noticeably ‘Middah Keneged
Middah,’ as described above.
In studying the parsha, we first come across Yisro being aroused to praise Hashem upon
discerning the exactitude of his repayment of the actions of man. This introduces the chapter of Yisro
advising Moshe to institute a judicial system, which he merited ‘Middah Keneged Middah,’ for his
self-sacrifice. This incident was the beginning of a long series of rewards beginning with Yisro himself
and continuing on for many generations. This was his reward for separating himself from a coalition
that plotted evil against the Jewish people.
Finding Our Unique Mission
Every person was created to fulfill a task and mission that only he can accomplish. He draws
near to his creator from a unique perspective.
We have to try to discover what our unique aspect in the service of Hashem is. We are
guaranteed that if we honestly seek to find out what our specific mission is, and if we ask Hashem for
assistance, then He will guide us in uncovering what our role in Judaism is.
Fortunate is the man who fulfils his task on this world. He will merit singing his unique shirah
to his creator all his life.
Could the two be connected? Could the critical state of Rav Eliashiv have something to do with these new expressions of belief in the coming Geulah? Could it finally direct the Chareidi mind away from irrelevant hair-splitting debates, away from loving the fleshpots of Egypt, (speaking of the Chareidim who reject Eretz Yisrael and prefer to stay where they are), and towards what really counts?
And then there was a recent public statement, which amounts to a earthquake for this insular community, by a Gadol of the Chareidi world, Rav Edelstein, - true to his name, Edelstein / gem, a gem of a Rav:
Rav Edelstein Shlita: We Deserve What We Are Getting(Wednesday, January 4th, 2012) Ponevezh Rosh Yeshiva HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita spoke out regarding the nationwide anti-chareidi climate in Israel. The rav addressed a number of people in his home, and his words were conveyed to Kikar Shabbat, which reports the rav spoke of Kamtza Bar Kamtza and the sinas chinam which led to the great destruction. The rav spoke of the severity of the hate campaign which all emerges from the sinas chinam, which may also lead to dire consequences.
“The hate comes from sinas chinam, but it is explained by chilonim as being the result of one thing or another, telling the chareidi tzibur it must make a tikun in one area or another. While it is true that they are inciting for their own reasons but for us, we must realize that this is what we deserve and we must mend our ways.
“This hate campaign is a Heavenly decree and if the chiloni community did not carry it out, it would come from elsewhere. The chareidi tzibur does not have to hate the chiloni tzibur but we must pity them”.