By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And Reuven Heard and Saved Him from Them
Two weeks ago we noted the “doubled-dream” pattern that takes place in the parshiot of the month of Kislev. If we double the numerical value of the word “to dream” hlm (78) twice to signify these “doubled-dreams” and combine their numerical values (78*2) we see that their numerical value equals that of Yosef (156) and also of Zion (156). It seems that these numerical values are not coincidental, since our Sages teach that “everything that occurred to Yosef occurred to Zion” (Tanhuma, Vayigash 11). Also, as we read in the parsha two weeks ago, it was when Yosef was born that Yakov decided to return to the Land of Israel, Zion. The connection between dreams, Zion, and Yosef fits perfectly with the verses we say before Birkat Hamazon to remember Zion in an up-beat way on Shabbat and holidays (versus the dirge “On the Rivers of Babylon” said on weekdays) – “A Song of Ascent – When Hashem returns the Return to Zion we were like dreamers.” These ideas seem to teach us that the ability to return and settle Zion lies with the power of the “dream” and the vision.
Here I would like to relate my own personal story and “dream for Zion.” Although I was born in Israel, my family and I moved to the U.S.A when I was five. For years my family and I had the dream to return to Israel. Finally, after ten years, at the age of fifteen, I was able to realize this dream, and I moved with my family back to Israel. My wish is to share with you “the dream for Zion,” so that we may all be united in this dream and vision. Each person in their own way and ability, regardless of the ability to actualize this dream at present, can and should be part of this dream and vision, for the Dream and Hope for Zion has power “and Hashem will not forsake forever those who have hope in Him” (Zichronot of Rosh Hashana and “Shoshanat Yakov”).
We should also remember that, just as Yosef and his dreams were met with fierce antagonism, so too the “dream and vision for the return to Zion” is met with fierce antagonism. However, we should not fret from this. Our Sages teach us that the greater spiritual aspirations are met with greater antagonism in order to increase our reward in overcoming this antagonism and also for other reasons as well. Based on the Arizal’s assertion that Zion is synonymous with Hebron we also can understand why seemingly small developments in the Jewish settlement of Hebron cause such fierce antagonism world-over, due to Hebron’s high spiritual potential as Beacon of the Holy Land. However, how can Zion be saved from such fierce antagonism? One of the turning points in the saving of Yosef in this parsha is Reuven’s intervention to save Yosef. One of the dominant attributes of Reuven was love, as his mother Leah mentioned her hope for love from her husband Yakov due to Reuven’s birth: “for now my husband shall love me.” This approach of Reuven also teaches us that in regard to “saving” Zion, so linked to Yosef as we discussed above, a key step is deepening the love for Zion. The “love for Zion” is only met truly when we internalize our connection to Zion, realizing that the Holy Presence of the Holy Land is the light of our souls, that the Holy Land is our People’s soul-mate, saturating our souls with our natural love for our Holy Land and Temple.
Real Stories from the Holy Land #291
The “saving” of the Jewish community of Hebron was celebrated throughout many years in Hebron on the fourteenth of Kislev (which occurred at the end of last week) called “The Window Purim” after the following miracle: A cruel Pasha ruled over Hebron in 5574 (1824). One day he summoned the head of Hebron’s Jewish Community. The Pasha demanded the following ultimatum: In three days you will bring me 50,000 grushim. If you do not, half of your community will be burned and the others sold as slaves.
Consequently, the rabbis declared a fast, and everyone gathered in the synagogue pouring their hearts out before Hashem. They fasted for three days — night and day. At midnight, before the third day began, the Pasha suddenly awoke to the sight of three awesome old men standing by his bed. They demanded of him 50,000 grushim. Refusal meant immediate death. The frightened Pasha was petrified. But he managed to get out of bed and gave them his purse full of gold coins. He added his wife’s gold necklace, to complete the requested sum.
The next morning the Pasha sent soldiers to demand the tax he had decreed upon the Jews of Hebron. When they pounded on the gate of the Jewish quarter, a Jew ran to open it. But before he got to the gate, he stumbled over a bag lying on the ground and picked it up. The Jew noticed a small window by the side of the gate where he had found the bag (the bag apparently coming from that window). Meanwhile, other Jews opened the bag and found it filled with gold coins. Counting it, they found that it was the exact amount the Pasha had demanded of them. Joyously they ran to the Pasha’s home to pay him the money he had demanded, in addition to the gold necklace that was in the bag.
The Pasha, seeing the money and the necklace was stunned, and said, “Be aware, the bag and its contents are mine. It was taken from me last night by the three Patriarchs, to save my soul from an evil sin. And now, knowing that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob awoke for fear of your lives, and for your sakes they rose from their graves, from this moment I have only the greatest respect for you. I cancel my decree. Take back this money. It belongs to you. Pray for me that I should be saved from misfortune all the days of my life.”
Sources: Sefer Hebron p. 306.
Comments, questions, and/or stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org