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25 Teves 5762 - January 9, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Opinion & Comment
See that I am He -- Hashem is the Cause and the Goal

by HaRav Aharon Yeshaya Roter

Neither the present prime minister nor the government are the cause of our woes. Rather, they are merely a vehicle of a Main Cause. If the Nation would remove them through elections, HaKodosh Boruch Hu would not lack ways of punishing us. The prophet Yeshaya implied this when he said: "And the Nation shall not return until it gets punished." (Yeshaya 9)

There is no security, there is no peace, nothing has changed. It is the Primary Cause, the Higher Force Who propels all of the world's causes. Shlomoh Hamelech himself stated (Mishlei 21): "The brooks of water (and) the heart of the king are in the Hand of Hashem. Whatever He desires, shall be channeled."

[The Ramban's expression is: "The heart of kings and ministers are in Hashem's Hand."] The Ralbag explains: "The activities of a king are limited to (the will of) Hashem. He is like an agent of Hashem Yisborach in what he shall do. The concept is that he is a direct line to Divine Wisdom. Had the king acted strictly in accordance with his free will, as in his personal behavior, this would be incredibly dangerous to the nation under the king's rule. Hashem has therefore not abandoned His leading of the king, for He guards high above the high . . ."

The Malbim explains that the heart and free will of the common man is in his own possession. Not so the heart of the king. Since the king's decisions affect the public's well- being, the heart that makes public decisions is in the Hand of Hashem. Free will is canceled in order to serve the public's best interests.

What one may derive from this is that the king is merely an agent of Hashem. Everything is dependent upon our actions. This is a verse specifically stated in Melochim II, the end of perek 24, "Notwithstanding that Hashem was in Jerusalem and in Yehudah until they were cast from Him, and Tzidkiyohu rebelled against the King of Babylon." Rashi interprets this that since Hashem was in Jerusalem and Yehudah, HaKodosh Boruch Hu therefore placed the idea in Tzidkiyohu's heart to rebel against the King of Babylon.

We are amazed by the double-speak of the President of the United States. How is it possible that he, himself, takes vengeance against his enemies without limits, while at the same time, he demands restraint from us? One may call this hypocrisy, yet to a believer in Hashem and the words of Shlomoh Hamelech, the wisest of all men, this is not a marvel. Hashem has the power to say to one of His agents to use force and to another to show restraint, for everything is dependent upon our actions. As Yirmiyohu Hanovi has stated (Eichah 3:38-40): "From on High, evil or good shall not depart. What shall the living man complain about his sin? Let us search our ways, scrutinizing them, and let us return to Hashem."

In the last fifty years of the State of Israel's existence, we have seen wicked people who had their moment of glory, which caused a breach of emunah, chas vesholom. We must thank Hashem Yisborach, Who has bestowed mercy upon us by making it clear to us that, `There is No One except Him.' Before our eyes is a prime minister who, during his election campaign, boasted that he would restore security to the State. Yet when he assumed his position, his heart had completely changed. What happened? Surely emunah is blazingly apparent in that HaKodosh Boruch Hu rules the world, and a king is merely a pawn in the Hands of Hashem.


The fact that there is a Primary Cause is the very foundation of our emunah. To illustrate this, see the Seforno's commentary to Parshas Vayishlach, where he states that had the biryonim of the Second Temple period subjugated themselves to the Romans, like Yaakov Ovinu who subjugated himself to Esav, the Second Temple would not have been destroyed.

But we don't say that "because of the biryonim have we been exiled from our land," rather "because of our sins have we been exiled from our land." This teaches us that there is a Primary Cause, and everything is dependent upon our deeds. Even the biryonim are agents of Hashem.

The events that are currently occurring, including the suicide bombers, appear to me to hint to a complete episode in the Torah, the story of the ma'apilim. We should learn its lesson.

It states in Parshas Shelach (14:40-45): "And they arose in the morning and ascended the top of the mountain . . . And Moshe said, `Why do you transgress the word of Hashem? You shall not succeed. Don't ascend since Hashem is not with you . . . ' And they defiantly climbed to the top of the mountain, but the ark of Hashem's covenant and Moshe did not move from the camp. The Amalekites and Canaanites who lived on the mountain swooped down and defeated them . . . "

Moshe Rabbenu repeats this episode in Parshas Devorim (1:41-44), by saying: "And you responded by telling me: `We have sinned before Hashem. We will head north and fight . . . ' Each of you took his weapons, and you made every effort to head north to the highlands. And Hashem said to me, `Tell them not to ascend nor to fight for I am not with them. Let them not be killed by their enemies.' I spoke to you, but you would not listen. . . . The Amorites who lived in the highlands came out to confront you, and chased you like bees . . . "

Moshe Rabbenu warned them not to try to go to Eretz Yisroel, and not to fight. He told them that there is no mitzvoh of yishuv Eretz Yisroel if it contradicts Hashem's Will. Why should you transgress the word of Hashem? Your plan shall not succeed!

The Torah states: "Each of you took his weapons . . . " It is amazing that in all of Israel's battles against her enemies, we do not find such an expression. It seems to me that the explanation of the matter is as follows: Bnei Yisroel were always armed with weapons, as it is stated in parshas Beshalach, "And bnei Yisroel went up with provisions," and in the beginning of Yehoshua, "You shall cross with provisions before your brothers." Nevertheless, they didn't use the weapons -- not in the times of Moshe, nor in the times of Yehoshua -- since Hashem fought their battles for them.

This is an explicit posuk in Devorah's song: "A shield if it shall be revealed, and a sword of forty thousand of Yisroel." (Shofetim 5:8) The Radak explains that this statement is referring to Yehoshua's battles, when bnei Reuven and bnei Gad passed as pioneering soldiers before bnei Yisroel. Nevertheless, they didn't need a shield or sword since Hashem was fighting for them as they did the rotzon Haborei, and all of them returned home in peace.

Since in the desert they knew that Moshe and the Ark of the Covenant would not leave from the camp, they therefore needed to make use of their weapons.

Bnei Yisroel should have been victorious according to natural means. Bnei Yisroel had a military advantage, yet the Canaanites were victorious, since Hashem gave the Canaanites the idea to commit suicide, like the bee that kills itself when it stings. [As Rashi states in Devorim 1:44, "Just like a bee injures a person, it immediately dies, so too by those who were in conflict with you, they had immediately died."] The heroes had fallen with their weapons, which teaches us that "there is no wisdom, no advice, nor understanding before Hashem."

It is written: "And the ark of Hashem's covenant did not depart from the camp." This statement requires further investigation. Apparently, it should have been written: "And the bnei Kehos, bearers of the ark of Hashem's covenant." It seems to me, as is well-known, that within conceptual "sheivet Levi" were included two types: 1) The actual members of the tribe of Levi; 2) those for whom Torah was their occupation. The Rambam writes at the end of Hilchos Shemittah Veyovel, that category 2 has the status of sheivet Levi.

The Torah therefore emphasized by stating, "And the ark of Hashem's covenant." This expression includes both categories: 1) bnei Levi, regarding whom yoru mishpotecha leYaakov is written; 2) those whose Torah is their occupation, who are the carriers of the ark of Hashem's covenant.

The Torah emphasizes for us: "The ark of Hashem's covenant did not depart from the encampment." Had chas vesholom, the carriers of the Torah participated in that battle, nothing would have remained of Israel. Only as a result of "the ark of Hashem's covenant and Moshe did not depart from the camp," meaning their being engrossed in learning Torah, did Klal Yisroel remain in existence and only the armed personnel fell in battle.

During the Yom Kippur War we saw the same pattern. When the Egyptians crossed the Mitla Pass, they could have advanced until Jerusalem. All of us were amazed that they stopped. However, one who examines the Chumash will not be astonished by the event. Since "the ark of Hashem's covenant did not depart from the encampment," the Exalted One on High protected us by stopping them.

HaKodosh Boruch Hu's statements that were said in His song of Ha'azinu, (Devorim 32:36-39) are currently being fulfilled: "He will have seen that their power is gone, with nothing left to keep or abandon. Hashem will then say: Where is their god, the power in which they trusted? . . . Let them now get up and help you! Let them be your protector! But now see! It is I! I am the [only] One! There are no other gods with me! I kill and give life! If I crushed, I will heal! But there is no protection from My power!"

Zionism proclaimed when it was formed: "We shall take our destiny into our own hands." Where is the Israeli army today with Zionism's promises?

"They shall rise up to help you!" Does the IDF have a response to suicide bombers and maniacs? Israel's ability to deter is negligible against those who are prepared to die for their foolish faith. Did not Hashem Yisborach ingrain in humanity that even the smallest of creatures are afraid to die and run away from death. If so, who instilled in the Arab mind to choose death over life? Haloe Hashem zu chotonu lo?

All of the army's power is to kill a few frogs. Did they not see that fighting the makas tzefardim did not make it cease, rather it got worse? When one breaks one stick, ten sticks grow in its place. This is what happened in the Peace for the Galilee [Lebanon] War. The prime minister said that the war's purpose was to keep israel tranquil for the next forty years. What happened? The old enemies were replaced by the Hizbullah, who were much worse than their predecessors.


It is not for naught that the present foreign minister stated that we tried fighting for the last hundred years and we were unsuccessful. There is no alternative to peace. In this, he is one hundred percent correct. However he thinks that peace is in our capability. Not only is that a mistake, rather it stems from his denial of the Creator of the Universe. If only he would realize that Hashem has given us Eretz Yisroel on a conditional basis, like Dovid Hamelech said, "And He shall give them the lands of the nations . . . in order that they shall keep their statutes and ordinances they shall be guarded," he would understand that without fulfilling these conditions, everything is totally in vain.

If only he would believe in Hashem's words that He told us in His Torah, "If you follow My laws and are careful to keep My commandments, I shall provide peace upon the land, and you shall lay down without fear . . . And if you will not listen, I shall bring you the sword . . . ," he would understand that without fulfilling these conditions, the Oslo Accords are not worth the paper they are written on.

Furthermore, Chazal said (Shabbos 10) that the Name of HaKodosh Boruch Hu is "Sholom," as it is written Vayikro lo Hashem Sholom. From this we derive that one who denies the existence of HaKodosh Boruch Hu, chas vesholom, denies the sholom!

The nonbeliever is standing today powerless, folding his hands in frustration against his own actions that are drowning him in the sea.

The following posuk is speaking about him: "And they healed the affliction of the assembly of my nation by saying falsehoods, `Sholom, sholom'. Yet there is no peace." (Yirmiyohu 8:11) It is similarly stated in Yechezkel 13:10 regarding the false prophets "who misled My nation, saying `Sholom,' but there is no peace . . ."

I therefore implore you to return to the cheder of your grandfather, as it is written: "See that it is I. I am He." There is no viable option other than to return to the Borei Olom, for peace isn't in our heritage. Rather, it belongs to HaKodosh Boruch Hu.

Similarly, Yeshaya Hanovi said, "Yotzer ohr uvorei choshech oseh sholom . . . " (Yeshaya 45). In addition, we pray three times daily saying: "Oseh sholom bimeromov hu ya'aseh sholom oleinu." As the Israeli government educates hundreds of thousands of children without teaching emunah, there will not be peace here.

On the other hand, Chazal stated that "talmidei chachomim increase peace in the world." As Torah learning increases, more peace will exist.


In conclusion, I wish to point out an important piece of information that is particularly relevant to us now, when even some of the roads are in a chezkas sakonoh. The Rambam writes a tremendous chidush in Moreh Nevuchim (3:52): Hashgochoh elyona only rests with one according to the level of his comprehension and deveikus with his higher facilities. One who is spiritually complete, who does not cease thinking about Hashem, will be given a bond of Divine providence to him, which will protect him the entire day. In this way, he will be guarded from the misfortunes of the time and from its snares.

However, one who only occasionally thinks about Hashem, the hashgochoh will also depart from him as long as he is meisi'ach da'as from Hashem. He will be subject to natural circumstances, like the beasts of the forest.

This idea is similarly expressed in the Nefesh HaChaim (3:12): "It really is an important matter and tremendous seguloh to remove and completely nullify all of the laws and other desires that one is unable to control. They shouldn't make any impression at all. Man [should] accept in his heart to say that Hashem is the true G- d, and there is nothing, no force in this world or any other world, except for Him. Everything is full of only the simple Unification of Hashem.

"One who completely nullifies in his heart, not taking heed to any force or will in this world, and who subjugates and clings to the pureness of his thought, only to the one Master, blessed be He, then Hashem shall automatically grant him nullification of powers and wills of the world, that will not have the ability to act upon him at all."

The above is basically a manifestation of explicit pesukim (Hoshea 14:2-4): "Return, Yisroel, unto Hashem Elokecho, . . . Assur will not save us, upon the horse we shall not ride. We shall no longer say that our handiwork are our gods; Rather, through You shall the orphan be granted mercy."

In other words, when one affixes in his heart that "[The kingdom of] Assur won't save us, upon the horse we shall not ride," that there is absolutely no power in our actions; Rather, through You, alone, "shall the orphan be granted mercy," then he will merit the fulfillment of the prophecy, "through You shall the orphan be granted mercy."

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