Parashat Va’eira: God Will Judge Them in Sword and Blood

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03 Jan 2008
Torah

Parashat Vaera 5768

Our Egyptian bondage experience and subsequent miraculous exodus (Yetziat Mitzrayim) play a conspicuous role in our liturgy. In addition to the Pesach festival dedicated to these historical events, we recall the Exodus every time we recite Kiddush. It is the closing recitation of the daily pesukei de’zimra, it links kriat shema and the amida prayer in the morning and at night, and it is a major theme in the second blessing of birkat hamazon.

With all due respect to the suffering (although my forefathers from the tribe of Levi were not slaves) and the enormous miracles which HaShem performed for the Children of Israel; I would nevertheless think that the major thrust of the liturgy should be the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, which was one of the two purposes of the Exodus (the other being the liberation of Eretz Yisrael).

A more basic question: What does the Egyptian experience mean for us today – 3000 years later? The calluses are long gone from our hands and the scars are no longer noticeable.

And perhaps the ultimate question: Why did we have to undergo the Egyptian experience?

As we draw closer to the finale of history, the answers to these questions loom ever larger. They are based on the principle determined by King Solomon in Kohelet (1:9)

מה שהיה הוא שיהיה ומה שנעשה הוא שיעשה ואין כל חדש תחת השמש

What was shall be again, and what was done shall be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun

The Malbim (Harav Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel), in his commentary on the Book of Yechezkel (32,17), states:

It will come to pass in the end of days, after the Jewish people will return to the Land of Israel, that the nations will come together in an attempt to capture Yerushalayim.

The prophet names the nations who will come. Gog, the king of Meshech, and Tuval from the north and west who are uncircumcised and called “Edom” and who are the descendants of Yefet living now in Europe. And Paras, Kush, and the House of Turgama, who are all circumcised and adhering to the belief of Yishmael, will join with the children of Edom to attempt to capture the Land of Israel from the Jews.

But when they arrive, they will create chaos amongst themselves and make war on each other. That is, Edom will make war on Yishmael because their beliefs are different.

And there God will judge them in sword and blood as stated by the prophet Zechariah chapter 14.

And here the prophet (Yechezkel) relates how they all will be lost; and singles out Egypt, Ashur and Elam who adhere to the religion of Yishmael and are today circumcised. He then mentions Meshech, Tuval and Edom, their kings and princes from the north who are all uncircumcised. And between them will there be a war.

The first to be utterly destroyed will be the Egyptians, who are the closest to the Land of Israel and will come forward first and fall. Then the Assyrians and Persians will come to avenge their ally and they all will be destroyed.

Had the the Malbim lived today,he would have been more specific:

It will come to pass in the end of the exile and the Jewish people will return to the Land of Israel, that many nations will come together in order to attempt to capture Yerushalayim.

The nations who will come are from the north and west and include the European Union and the nations which comprised the former Soviet Union who are all uncircumcised and called “Edom,” the descendants of Yefet living now in Europe and adhere to the Christian faith. And Iran, the Arab peoples, and the House of Saud who are all circumcised and adhere to the faith of Yishmael, will join with the children of Edom to attempt to capture the Land of Israel from the Children of Israel.

But when they arrive, they will create chaos among themselves and make war on each other. That is, the Christians from Europe will make war on the Muslims because their beliefs are different.

And there God will judge them in sword and blood as stated by the prophet Zechariah chapter 14.

And here the prophet (Yechezkel) describes how they will be lost. He singles out Egypt, Syria and Iran who adhere to the religion of Yishmael and are circumcised. Then Meshech, Tuval and Edom, their kings and princes from the north, who are uncircumcised, and between them will be a war.

The first to be utterly destroyed will be the Egyptians who are the closest to the Land of Israel, who will come forward first and fall. Then the Syrians and Iranians will come to avenge their fallen ally, and they all will be destroyed.

The Egyptian experience, which concluded with the destruction of the entire Egyptian army, was brought about by HaShem to serve as an historical precedent for what will be in store for the contemporary Egyptian enemies of the State of Israel, as well as the Iranians etc., who will follow them.

Last week, our Foreign Minister conveyed to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee that not only are the Egyptians derelict in their obligations to seal off the southern border of the Gaza Strip, but they are systematically helping and abetting the Hamas murderers to smuggle in weapons and explosives for their Islamic fascist army.

When the Egyptians’ feathers became ruffled due to the disclosure, our Defense Minister was sent to assuage their sensitivities and apologized for noticing the Egyptian violations.

Egypt maintains the largest army in the Middle East, supplied by the United States. But who is threatening them? Sudan or Ethiopia to the south? Lybia to the west? And against whom does their propaganda machine churn out daily diatribes, which would do honor to Herr Goebbels?

Shlomo Hamelech said:

What was shall be again, and what was done shall be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun

But this time, it will not be Yam Suf (Red Sea) which will serve as the vehicle of our salvation. It will be the Russian-built Aswan Dam. The dam is one of most impressive in the world. It is 980-meters thick at the base and 40 meters at the top, 3600 meters long and 111 meters high. The dam created Lake Nasser, 500 kilometers long with a width ranging from 10 to 30 km and water capacity of 157 billion cubic meters, the second in the world after that of the Zambezi.

Yitro, upon being told by Moshe the details of the ten plagues, was overwhelmed. Since he had been privy to the diabolical plans of Paro against the Jews, he now saw that HaShem had turned every detail of persecution into a “boomerang” against the Egyptians.

The Russo-Egyptian military treaty, which caused the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars and called for the construction of the Aswan Dam, will be the Achilles Heel in the future punishment of our most dangerous enemy.

If I were CNN or Fox news, when hostilities breakout, I would keep my cameras fixed on the Dam and the Lake.

All this was known to our rabbis. So they brought the Egyptian experience to the fore in Kiddush and other liturgical places to keep the message alive – that as in the past, HaShem will not forsake His people Israel who have absolute faith in His Word.

Shabbat Shalom, Nachman Kahana

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.