18 September 2015

Concerning “Beating Yishma’el at His Own Game”

5 Tishrei 5776
5th Day of Awe

Concerning “Beating Yishma’el at His Own Game” - a Teshuva Drosha by the maggid shiur Rabbi Yissocher Frand


NOTE: The picture above is yet another example of using the name Palestine to refer to something JEWISH.

I listened to what seems to be the Rav’s Teshuva Drosha for 5776, "How to Beat Yishma’el at His Own Game," several times over the last few days. It is one of the most powerful I have ever heard, and not only because the voice of the Rav projects well. 

I understand how hard it is to speak with Jews in chutz la’aretz about making major changes in their lives and attitudes – I’ve been there, and been one of those people. But I’m here in Israel now, in Yerushalayim – not in Ir haAtika; nevertheless, in Ir haKodesh

The Rav spoke movingly, lovingly and with great concern for me and my brothers and sisters here in the Land of the Jews. Clearly he has been here and seen what goes on here.

Since he wants to convince people to take Yitzhak Avinu as their role model for mesirath nefesh as well as prayer, I hope I can help, even a little, by suggesting that he include the following well-known merits of our middle Forefather:

  1.   He lived his entire life in Eretz haKodesh, Eretz Yisrael. He never stepped one foot outside its borders. Everything he did was in this context.
  2. Yishma'el, his elder brother, desired to kill him from childhood on, as the Rav points out; this is still going on today. I might add only that the teshuva he did when their father passed away must not have been sufficient, since his descendants do not seem to have remembered it; and even if they do, they still do not honor it.
  3.  He offered his life on Har haMoriah – what we know today as the Temple Mount, Har haBayit. HQB”H had other plans that day, and so we have our forefather Ya’aqov and the Twelve Tribes…and the lineage that continues until today and beyond.
  4. He re-dug the wells that Avraham his father had originally dug and had subsequently been filled in by the Philistines, thus reclaiming the land near Gaza that they were located on - and, not being satisfied with this, he dug three more: Esek (which today means business, but is often translated contention), Sitna (accusation, incitement, slander and denunciation) and Rehovoth (wide open spaces). (Note that although the Philistines had never dug the first two of these wells, they claimed them for their own, hence their names. Sound familiar? Have we learned the lesson yet?) Bereshith 26:15-24
  5. It's a funny-strange thing: While Jews can pray at the Ma’arat haMachpela, we are not allowed to pray by Yitzhak Avinu, but only by his father Avraham and his son Ya’aqov. It seems that Yitzhak is the key to securing our heritage and inheritance. The Yishmaelite Muslims know that, so they keep us away from him.
Yitzhak Avinu's and Rivka Imenu's graves as they are today. Jews are not allowed to visit them. This picture came from islamiclandmarks.com.

Kol hakavod to the Rav for what he did say (perhaps he felt he got his words in edgewise)! I wish him success in getting his hearers to dress up for davening, pray with more concentration, and give more of themselves. Surely he could go one step further and inspire them to come and live in the land of Yitzhak Avinu, and help us rise up and defend her. Yes, it is very different from what it was then. But we in Israel need Jews with serious mesirath nefesh now. Here is the story of a young, obviously-religious Jew who had to run through a gauntlet of Arabs after having been to Har haBayit. They have a still picture of him fallen to the ground and the women gloating over him as if he were dead. But if you watch the video, he was on the ground only a split second. He escaped to safety, thank G-d – but he got a grilling by security. 

Would decent Jews stand for that? I think not. In fact, here is the response of 150 fellow yeshiva bachurim to this near-lynching. Does this qualify as a good start on self-sacrifice?

I don’t need to argue with a Rav who has his values on straight, who speaks straight from the heart and is respected by those who hear him. But I think I need to pick him up a little and tell him that he needs to finish the job.

Make aliyah. Because it's hard. Because Yitzhak Avinu would have, if he'd had to.

May the Rav’s nephew, Shmuel Aryeh ben Malka Feige, have a refuah shleimah.

May all my readers be inscribed for good (and not for bad) in the Book of Life.

Many thanks to R’ Yeranen Yaakov for posting a link to the shiur on his blog. Click on the file that results when you click this link, to download it or listen to it.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: 4000 Karlin Hassidim prayed Selichoth by Yitzhak Avinu last night in the video below. I found out from a trusted friend that police had to clear the way for them. Many thousands more Jews will visit Hevron in the coming days before Yom Kippur. A7

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE: We will NOT beat Yishma'el at his own game if he continues to OCCUPY THE TEMPLE MOUNT. Obvious, right? 

Step 1: Sign this petition: 1 Million for a Jewish Temple Mount! Petition | GoPetition


Dassie said...

Powerful points here, CDG. Yashar koach.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Thanks, Dassie. G'mar hatimah tovah!

Neshama said...

This is an excellent subject matter. We need to explore in greater depth, if possible, the aura of Yitzchak Avinu, how it plays into the Geula and our securing our rights to our "Promised Land", Eretz Yisrael.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Neshama...How do we start. Yitzhak is represented by the sefirah of gevurah - the essence of judgment, limitation, awe and fire. "It is the restraining might of gevurah which allows one to overcome his enemies, be they from without or from within (his evil inclination)."


This relates to R' Frand's goal of beating Yishma'el at his own game, for certain.