Monday, January 5, 2009

Our Neshek Is Shalom!

Once again, the Jewish People are facing an Eis Tzarah. Now faced with a constant barrage of missiles from our enemies, missiles falling on Holy ground in Eretz Yisroel, into the lives of our brothers and sisters, our army is now on the ground in Gaza, fighting to protect our people. Who can sleep knowing what our soldiers are faced with? Kehillos all over Klal Yisroel are reciting Tehillim, begging H" for rachmanus and the safety of our soldiers. We need H"s help. H" is referred to in our tefillos as the "Ish Milchamah" and as the "Baal Milchamot". Chaverim, we need H"s help to fight and win this war, and to save our Holy Land.

I have tried to learn Torah, do acts of chesed, and daven and say Tehillim for our soldiers, and for the Yeshuah Sheleimah. But I've come to the conclusion that I have to try to do more. I'm not a soldier, and probably couldn't even hold a rifle correctly, but I want to fight for Eretz Yisroel in any way I know how. And so, I'd like to try in whatever way I can to spread achdus and shalom in my little world, and throughout Klal Yisroel as best I can.

We've all heard lots of talk about division and the LACK of shalom in our world. We've heard about polarization, and machlokes between different types of Kippas, Rachmana Litzlan. Everything has its time, and the time is ripe to work on this Avodah - of attempting in whatever way possible to make Shalom in Klal Yisroel.

As the famous saying goes, "Everything I ever needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten.." It's elementary that we ALL need to get along. How many of us have heard the line, "Can't we all just get along?" ad infinitum. What parent can tolerate when his children are not b'shalom? The slightest rift in a family creates emotional tidal waves within parents. WE are the family of Klal Yisroel. We need to be b'shalom. When you learn through Tanach, you see over and over again how H" can't tolerate any lack of shalom amongst his children. The King needs peace amongst his children, his subjects.

In truth, couldn't this really be so simple. If there was a course called Yiddishkeit 101, wouldn't the basic knowledge that we all need to be b'shalom be the obvious prerequisite. Living b'shalom - it's simple - it's the foundation of it all. We need to make shalom. In our homes, in our schools, in our shuls, in our communities - within Klal Yisroel.

I know a tzadekes that has a child that is sick, Rachmanah Litzlan (he should have a refuah sheleimah, b'karov). Last year, she contacted everyone she knew to beg them to put aside any past machlokesim - to make peace in any small way they could, in her son's zchus. What an inspiration this was. After all, Ayn Shalom, Ayn Klum - Without Peace, we have nothing! With Peace, we have it all.

I heard a shiur last week from an Adam Gadol who brought out some amazing yesodos on the power of Shalom in Klal Yisroel. As you may know, the literal translation of the word "Vayishma" is "and he heard." In Shmuel Alef, 15:4, however, the pasuk says, "..Vayeshama Shaul es ha'am" - in this context, the word "Vayeshama" means that "Shaul 'gathered' together the people." Thus, the word Shema can also connote gathering together.

With this understanding, he taught, we can understand the pasuk "Shema Yisroel, H" Elokeinu, H" Echad!" in a new and amazing way. "Shema Yisroel" - When Yisroel, the Jewish People, are gathered together - b'achdus, THEN H" IS OUR G-D, H" IS ONE. If we are not B'Achdus, if we are not gathered together, then we are creating a barrier for H" ECHAD, H" is One. How can we say "H" Echad", if the Jewish People, who are a chelek of H", are not B'Achdus - Gathered Together - B'Shalom! Shema Yisroel - Gather together Yisroel!

The way to get to the Keitz, to Yemos HaMoshiach, is with "Shema Yisroel" - with the gathering of the Jewish People - in Shalom! Think about it, Three times a day we say the Amidah - the last word of the Shemoneh Esrei is ... Shalom! The path we travel along within the Shemoneh Esrei is to reach the tachlis - which is the last word - Shalom!

We've all heard the the language of the prophet Ovadiah (1-18), “V’Hayah Beit Yaakov Aish, U'Beit Yosef L’Havah." Beit Yaakov AISH. This Adam Gadol pointed out that Aish is spelled Alef Shin. Alef Shin stand for Emes and Shalom. The Shoresh of Beit Yaakov, the Jewish People, is Truth (Emes) and Peace (Shalom).

As you know, After the Torah reading on Mondays and Thursdays, we say a series of Yehi Ratzon prayers, followed by "Acheinu Beis Yisroel". Why, asked this Adam Gadol, doesn't Acheinu start with Yehi Ratzon, like the tefillos that precede it? Answer: Because there is no greater Ratzon to H" than when Yidden say Acheinu for each other. When one Jew worries about another, and davens on his or her behalf, saying "Acheinu Beis Yisroel" - there is no greater Yehi Ratzon than this.

We're at the end of the Ikvasa D'Moshiach, and the King, H" Yisbarach, is about to establish his Kingdom openly in the world once again. The King needs to have shalom within his kingdom. With the sound of Maoz Tzur still ringing in our ears, and the Koach of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol still in the air, our nation needs "a few good men - or women - to join the Army of Achdus. During the times of Purim, it took one man - Mordechai, to change the world. Mordechai, with complete and total Emunah and Bitachon in H", knew that the Yidden needed salvation. He had a holy fire inside of him, and used that fire to ultimately bring about the salvation of our people. He placed that fire into the heart of Esther HaMalkah, and in turn she risked her life, to approach Achashverosh, against all odds, to save the Jewish Nation. Earlier in history, after the Yidden left Egypt and encountered the Yam Suf in front of them, and the enemy behind them, they also felt there was no way out. It wasn't until Nachshon ben Aminadav began to walk into the ocean, up to his neck, that the sea split and the nation passed through on dry land.

The lesson is so pure. So simple. We need to have Emunah and Bitachon that H" is about to bring about our complete salvation. We need to have the Mesirus Nefesh of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol, Esther HaMalkah, Mordechai HaTzadik and Nachshon ben Aminadav. And we need to use our Kochos to make Shalom within Klal Yisroel.

We're looking for soldiers to help the Army of Achdus. I would like to ask for your assistance in gathering together inspirational Torah on the power of Shalom and Achdus within Klal Yisroel. If you know of inspirational pieces by Gedolim, please send them our way for publication and distribution. If you happen to be close with an Adam Gadol that would be willing to write a Drasha on the power of shalom and achdus for distribution, please send them to us. If you have any ideas for shalom and achdus projects or initiatives, send them over. We would love to start distributing a Shabbos email with content on shalom and achdus.

With our soldiers facing a sha'as sakanah, let's make an Army of Achdus to bring about Shalom within Klal Yisroel, and to arouse H"s compassion so that the Ish Milchamah will bring about the ultimate and final redemption for our Holy people, B'SHALOM, bimheira v'yamenu.

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