Va'eschanan: Behind Enemy Lines
Why did Hashem disperse the Jewish People among the nations and subject us to discrimination and persecution? Are these the 'Chosen People' that He loves?
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
"And Hashem dispersed you among the nations..." (Deuteronomy 4:27)
The borders were constantly flaring up. Incessant bombings and terrorist attacks plagued the kingdom. The king knew that if he didn't uproot the tyrant who seized power in the neighboring country to the north, there would never be peace and tranquility. Life could not continue like this.
If that wasn't enough, the enemy kidnapped the king's son in a daring over-the-border raid. That was the last straw...
The king would have to go to war if he ever expected to see his son again or to bring tranquility back to his own country. But the enemy to the north was a fierce one. The king's military advisors estimated that even victory in an all-out conventional war would come at the price of both civilian and military decimation. Losing such a war would be unthinkable.
With a brilliant mind that exhibited a phenomenal original thought process, the king told his advisors, "Why risk a million casualties? If we cut off the snake’s head, the snake dies. We'll dispose of the tyrant at point-blank range. With him dead, the democratic elements within our neighbor to the north will prevail, I'm sure. The same commando – our best – whom we'll send behind enemy lines will also be assigned to free the prince."
The best commando in the army's elite special operations unit was tapped for the king's mission. The dangers he was about to experience were many. On several occasions, he almost lost his life. He suffered injuries and setbacks that no words can describe. But, he persevered and completed by missions, disposing of the tyrant and freeing the king's son.
* * *
Why did Hashem disperse us among the nations and subject us to discrimination, persecution and endless exile? How can that possibly earn us the title of the "Chosen People?" Is the never-ending Diaspora, with everything our people are suffering around the world, a sign of Hashem's love for us? How in the world can that be?
The classic Kabbalists teach us that exile and Diaspora are not a punishment for the Jewish People, but a sacred mission. The Kabbalists teach that once Adam and Eve sinned, good and evil were mixed and the sparks of Divine light were dispersed all over the globe. The task of the Jewish People is therefore twofold: First, to do what's called a birur, to sift the good from the evil. And second, to uplift the Divine sparks from the depths of impurity wherever they are concealed, around the globe. To perform this mission, they must go "behind enemy lines" like the commando in the above parable. They must suffer persecution and exile – not as a punishment, but as a sacred mission that the King of kings assigned them to perform.
With the above in mind, says my beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a, the Jews outside of Israel have a sacred mission to perform in order to bring tranquility to the world and return "the price" to Hashem, which is none other than emuna in Hashem, as we learn in The Garden of Yearning. Like elite commandos behind the lines, whether in Israel or abroad, we all have the solemn task of spreading emuna wherever we go. This is our very mission on earth. Therefore, do what you can to spread emuna books and CDs wherever you are. If that's difficult for you for some reason, you can still fulfill your mission and Donate to Emuna Outreach, and we'll do the work for you. The more we spread emuna, the sooner we'll see peace on earth, the ingathering of the exiles and the rebuilding of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem with the coming of Moshiach, speedily and in our day, amen!
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.