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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Parshas Bamidbar



Parshas Bamidbar

In this week's Parsha, Bamidbar, not much happens. You may want to take advantage and catch up on your sleep, or spend your time checking out the "talent" on the other side of the Mechitza.

In the Parsha, the males of each tribe are counted, one by one, as the Bnei Yisroel's ability to make war is gauged. But the Bnei Layvee, we are told, are not to be counted amongst the rest of the nation, as they shall not be soldiers, but should instead serve as the spiritual frontline through their activities within the Priesthood.

Now I know where the ultra-Orthodox in Israel get the inspiration! Certainly, the Reboinoisheloilum intends that one tribe should tend to the moral fiber, maintain the facilities, carry out the practices of the spiritual institutions, and suck up all the booty in the national coffers, while the rest of Klal Yisroel gets shot at.

Based on the Halachois of Milchemess Mitzvah as understood by the RAMBAM, I personally believe that the ultra-Orthodox should never be exempt from serving in the army. Indeed, the Aimishteh needs every possible warrior in Eretz Yisroel, since the Toirah is opposed to any sort of compromise with our enemies. No political agreements are possible. And even if we could, why should we?

In fact, we must never compromise with any of our enemies anywhere. We are surrounded by them. Our neighbors. Our co-workers. The guy in the gas station. The bus driver. The newsman on TV. That little kid sitting in the shopping cart on line in front of you at Gristedes. They are either members of your Shul, or they are anti-Semites or self-hating Jews!

How much more so in Eretz Hakoidesh! So I intend to start a letter campaign from here from our offices in New York at Yeshivas Chipass Emmess. No exemptions! We here in the Golus will provide the spiritual safeguarding of the State, while our brethren in Eretz Yisroel must be prepared to fight to the last man. (By the way, donations to the cause are always welcome! Please make out all checks to the Fund for "Chipass emess Advocacy for the Security of HaMoledet" or "C.A.S.H." for short.)

Indeed, it would not be unprecedented if we in the Golus were to take over the role of spiritual safeguards of Klal Yisroel. Because, also in this week's Parsha, we see the descendants of Aroin Hacoihain appointed as the principal Priests of Klal Yisroel, while Moisheh Rabbeinu's descendants are relegated to support positions. Why does Aroin Hacoihain get to steal away the spiritual leadership of the nation from Moisheh?

According to Reb Hai Gaon, Aroin was able to engineer a boardroom takeover after securing support of several key institutional investors. But Rabbeinu Tam holds that Aroin won the Kehunah during the regular Wednesday night poker game in which Aroin, Moisheh, Yehoshua, and Kulayv Ben Yefuneh were members.

But according to the RAMBAM, the Reboinoisheloilum gave Aroin the Kehuna to keep him out of trouble. The last thing Klal Yisroel needed was for Aroin to get involved in complex decisions. According to the Medrash Rabbah, he couldn't even program his own VCR.

Of even more concern, Aroin Hacoihain led the Bnei Yisroel into the Chayt HaEygel. He was also a poor spokesman for Moisheh who never kept his rolodex up to date with key press contacts. The idea was to put the minuval in a position where he couldn't cause too much damage to himself. Or to Klal Yisroel.

But, unfortunately, things did not quite work out as planned.

Case in point: the descendants of Aroin finally did steal the Malchus, the political leadership embodied by the kingdom of Israel, during the days of the Chashmonaim, and the result was the most corrupt regime in the history of the sovereignty of Klal Yisroel. In the generations after the miracle of Chanukah, the regime was corrupt and brutal: They abused their power, persecuted the Pharisees (the precursors of Rabbinic Judaism), and forced the religious conversions of neighboring peoples (including the father of the later-despised King Herod). These actions ultimately led to the Romans being invited into Eretz Yisroel by the opponents of the Chashmonaim.

Which brings us back to the ultra-Orthodox in Israel. The best thing you can say about them is that they have nice full beards. And some of those women look really hot with their heads shaved. But they don't serve in the army, they don't pay taxes, they have fourteen kids each (kenaina harah), and they use every opportunity to use their political power to their own community's advantage.

Perhaps we here in the Golus should emulate their activities, rather than criticize them. We should refuse to pay our taxes. We should apply for every possible state benefit because they are available: welfare, Medicaid, affirmative action, farm subsidies, nuclear waste management, needle exchange programs, and free school lunches (even if they are traifus!)

Because what matters most is not the here and now -- the Oilam Hazeh. What matters most is the Oilam Habbah -- the world to come. And since none of the amhoratzim of the world -- including you, you shaygitz -- will be privileged to join the Aimishteh in Gan Eiden, they just don't count. Only I and my closest associates will have earned the right to sit next to the Reboinoisheloilum on His heavenly throne. And if He doesn't behave Himself, we'll throw Him out too.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval

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