What's with all the Exiles?

As of late - often due to the terrible events that are being played out in these dark days - I have found myself wondering: why did HaShem give us so many Exiles? Why not just one really long one and be done with it? And don't say "because we'd never manage without a miracle," because a miracle is precisely the only thing that has kept us going these past 2000 years or so!

It was actually really bothering me - but there was another observation that made me think and that was: compare the first exile to ours. In the first (Egypt) we kept our National Identity - our language, clothing and general dress. However, we were on the "49th level of tuma," and served idols. In essence, we had the "national aspect" but none of the "religion." In this exile it is precisely the opposite. We share no common language (although slowly this is changing with the beginning of the Geulah thank G-D); we share no common dress - we dont even share a common skin colour!

Then I realised that the message was clear - and it is ironic that this should occur to me in this period, between Pesach and Shavuot (for as Rabbi Kahane z"tl h"yd wrote in Ohr Hara'ayon; the Omer is the counting down of the period between us being stam a nation, and the moment we became a Chosen Nation of G-D).

On Pesach we became a nation, and on Shavuot we inherited the Torah, or - for lack of a better word - the "Religion."

Rabbi Kahane once put it like this: those who only have "nationalism" without "religion", and those who only have "religion" without "nationalism" are both standing on one leg, and will never go anywhere far.

Perhaps (and this is just my theory) one of the aims of Galut was to see if we could serve G-D even in the harshest of circumstances. It's easy when "each man sits under his fig tree" like in the times of Shlomo HaMelech - but what about when He's not feeding us everything on a plate? What about when G-D seems not to be "watching" or involved? Do we abandon ship, or remain loyal?

But more than that: like someone trying to test the sturdiness of his house, he will hit or tug at or push each individual supporting beam, to make sure that it is strong enough in and of itself.

Had the disaster of Galut hit all of our "pillars" or "supporting beams" at once, it could have destroyed us both as a nation and a "religion", and there would have been no "leg" or - better put - no "niche" for us to use to climb back up to perfection. We'd slip down to the "50th level" of "no return" G-D forbid, and with no way of getting back up!

So in the first Galut, we lost our "religion," and yet we managed to prove that there was something inherently special about us, because through it all we did not forget G-D and our heritage entirely, but rather kept some small sparks of kedusha alive (and remember, there WERE those Jews - e.g. Shevet Levi - who DID keep the spark of what "Torah" we had then alive as well, but they were very few in number and not really incorporated into the "Am", as they did no hard labour and did not partake in most of the hardships of the rest of the community).

But now we have to make sure that the Torah (given to us post Galut Mitzrayim) stays within us and that we remain staunch and loyal in our service of G-D - EVEN WITHOUT a nationhood as such,

(And just as a side point, in Galut Mitzrayim, we didn't have a Land to attach to any status of "nationhood," so our being a nation could still exist in another land. It is interesting to note that we were actually refered to specifically as a "nation within a nation!" Perhaps to show us this point... But before the 2nd Churban we did have a Land, and by losing it we lost out "national identity" so to speak, because it had become attached to a land which we had now lost!)

Well, I think that considering the harsh realities of Galut, there is a hard-core who managed to step up to the challenge and retain the Torah (just like only a hard-core managed to get through Galut Mitzrayim). So as a result we were given a "one-legged brother" (e.g. the early "Zionists,") who emerged in an abnormal fashion for a nation so long estranged from nationhood and national identity I think you'll agree...

Perhaps, it would seem, we hadn't actually "lost" the leg of nationhood at all - just neglected it - because since the founding of the state of Israel we have learned (or a few of us have at least) to "walk again" with two legs - but perhaps with a slight limp in one... or both... (depending on who/which "camp" you look at r"l)

It is time we stopped using the seculars as our crutch, and learned to be the perfect Jewish Nation that we should be, simply by following the Torah - and specifically those parts to do with the Land and Nationhood - because that is the "leg" that needs "excercising" the most!

It's time we walked on our own two feet strongly, sturdily and with pride. It is only then that we will stride proudly and straight into Ge'ulah - having thrown away the decadent one-legged establishment and secular leadership - who anyway become lamer and lamer each day even in that one leg of "nationalism" that they once had...

If, as a movement of the faithful, we do that, then we will merit Mashiach in a proud and glorious way. But if we continue to insist on using them as our "crutch" - unable to disassociate ourselves with the corrupt ones - then when that crutch snaps it could G-D forbid take us down with it, and it will take the Hand of G-D Alone to lift us back up - but the interim will not be pleasant as we lie bleeding on the floor (so to speak) chas vechalila...

May we merit to walk, proud and straight, on our own two feet soon, with our only crutch being HaKadosh Baruch Hu! And may we merit to see the Mashiach NOW!

Not Everyone is Included in the Four Species

From The Writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane in honor of Sukkot Organs of power at home joining the side of our enemy requires us t...