November 30, 2004

by Reb Yudel
Values? Or just Torahbabble?

As we contemplate the "values" of our fellow religious Americans, sometimes the question comes up: Whoa! Aren't we talking about people who worship a Jewish carpenter?

A similar question comes to mind when reading the d'var Torah exceprted below. Maybe I've been out of yeshiva for too long, but I'm having difficulty deciding whether the bit of "Torah" below is by any definition coherent or logical.

Every country in the world has the right to go to war to maintain sovereignty over its land; and the Jewish people not only have the right, but even the obligation.

G-d considers "arrogance" to be an abominable trait. But Binyamin who was born in Eretz Yisroel was a "sabra", and he had "national pride." This "national pride" was what was needed to have the mizbeach built in his section. Arrogance pushes one away from G-d; but a healthy sense of independence and national pride brings one closer to G-d. The individual who is subservient to other human beings can not fully be subservient to G-d.

Only the Jews who live in Eretz Yisroel have the mitzvah of aliyah laregel; to come closer to G-d. The Jew with the galus mentality can not be fully subservient to G-d, and thus only the free men in Eretz Yisroel have this mitzvah. The Torah expresses itself by stating that three times a year all the Jewish men must come to visit "the Master" Hashem. The Talmud understood this to mean that slaves who are subservient to their human masters don't have this mitzvah. They can not succeed in becoming fully subservient to Hashem, which is the purpose of the aliyah laregel.

Binyamin, of course, must be careful that his "national pride" not lead to the abomination of "arrogance". If the sabra's independence and "national pride" will bring him closer to Hashem, there will be no room to develop any arrogance. The closer one comes to Hashem, the more humble he will become.

So... national pride good, arrogance bad? And how precisely are the two different? Does an increase in national pride really lead to humility?

Or are we just redefining humility?

For those dying to read more -- or just curious about the rabbi who wrote this -- you can click here.

Post a comment

Remember personal info?

type the word "captcha" (you would rather decode a crazy picture?)