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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Guest Post: Are You Anxiously Awaiting the Geula?

This guest post was written and translated by Devorah (Heshelis) Fastag 

Below is a translation of part of the commentary of the Kli Yakar on this week's parsha, which speaks about the importance of not being settled in the gentile lands, and always awaiting the ge'ula. 

The last verse in parshat Vayigash reads: "And Israel settled (vayeshev) in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen, and they possessed it and they were fruitful and multiplied in it." The Kli Yakar, a classic commentary on the Chumash, comments on this:

This entire pasuk is speaking about the guilt of Bnei Yisrael [the Jewish People].
Hashem decreed upon them "For your seed will be an alien" (ger), but they wanted to be permanent residents in the place that they were decreed to be aliens, as Chazal comment on the words "vayeshev Yaakov (Ya'akov settled down): "Ya'akov wanted to settle in peace, the turmoil of Yosef jumped upon him.  [i.e. the Kli Yakar is showing that the term vayeshev refers to a feeling of being permanently settled, which was not right for Ya'akov and not right again here – translator].   The pasuk is blaming them because they wanted to take possession of a land where they were meant to be temporary sojourners. At first he said to Par'o "we have come to sojourn in the land".  This shows that at first they did not intend to permanently settle down, only to reside there as foreigners. Now, however, they changed their minds, and they became so settled there that they did not want to leave Egypt until Hashem had to take them out with a strong hand, and those that did not want to leave died in the three days of (the plague of) darkness."

Then, when explaining the first pasuk of Parshat Vayechi, the Kli Yakar says:

"…the Akeida [the name of a commentary] interpreted the medrash which says that when Ya'akov wanted to reveal the ketz [the end of all exile] Hashem said, "Vilo Oti karata Ya'akov" – And Me you did not call, Ya'akov to mean that you were not concerned with My honor. This is because this knowledge [the knowledge of the time of the end of the exile] causes the people not to call out to Hashem. The earlier generations will not call to Hashem to plead for the redemption. Instead they will want to become citizens in the lands of the [gentile] nations and acquire possessions  in those lands, as if they despaired of the redemption. Therefore, Hashem hid from us the ketz ha'acharon [this phrase could mean the time of the end of the last galut, or it could mean the latest possible time for the redemption, which can come earlier if we merit it, but cannot come later than that date] so that every generation will plead for  Hashem's presence and for David their king [Mashiach ben David] and not desire to be permanent residents in the lands of the gentiles, but rather constantly awaiting the end when Hashem will save them. Due to our sins, this problem exists amongst us now, even now when the date of the end [of the exile] is not known, even so, there are many Jews who settle in the lands of the gentiles and build beautiful and sturdy homes for themselves to be strong and permanent, and for this reason they never beseech Hashem with a full heart to bring them to their land. Therefore Hashem leaves them there.

Note: The Kli Yakar lived about 500 years ago. He became the head of the Bet Din in Prague after the passing of the Maharal of Prague. His commentary, which is deeply logical occasionally includes kabbalistic insights. It appears in all standard Mikraot Gdolot Chumashim. HasHHHH   

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