Parshat Vayechi By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
The Four Empires
According to the Midrash, Yakov foresaw the four exiles that the Jewish People would experience based on four tribes juxtaposed to each other both in Yakov’s blessings and Moshe Rabeinu’s blessings: Yehuda and Levi, Binyamin and Yosef. The Midrash ties Yehuda to the Babylonian Exile, Binyamin to the Median-Persian Exile, Levi to the Greek Exile, and Yosef to the Roman Exile.
We see primary Jewish figures in the Babylonian Exile coming from the tribe of Yehudah, i.e Daniel, and his companions, and in the Median-Persian Exile Mordechai, of the Purim story, from the tribe of Binyamin takes a dominant role. In the Greek Exile the Hasmoneans kohanim, from the tribe of Levi, took a dominant role in ending Greek dominion in the Land of Israel as is known from the Hanuka story. The Roman Exile still continues to influence the Jewish People to the effect that the Beit Hamikdash destroyed by the Romans has still not been rebuilt.
Based on this Midrash we learn that the key method of ending this exile is through the figure/offspring or attributes of Yosef. Our Sages also teach us that Yosef is the primary fighter against Esav, whose offspring also consisted of the Romans. In a previous issue, we discussed the Midrash that makes a direct link between Yosef and Zion, saying that “everything that became Yosef became of Zion.” Also, we noted that the numerical value of Yosef and Zion is identical. All this suggests that a primary method of ending the effects of the Roman Exile is by our deep connection to Zion. Also according to the Arizal, the term Zion is synonymous with Hebron. Indeed, it was in Hebron that Esav, the forerunner of the Roman Empire, was killed by Hushim the son of Dan when he argued about the rights of Yakov’s burial at Maarat Hamachpela. Therefore, this is the time to hold steadfast to Hebron and our Holy Land, thus overcoming the Roman Exile, and building the Third Temple, God willing speedily, amen.
Miracles from the Holy Land:
In the spring of 1967, following close to a decade of relative calm, Israel found itself poised for war against four of its Arab neighbors. According to all the military analysts and pundits, it was to be a lopsided match. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) consisted of 275,000 troops, compared to the 456,000 soldiers of the combined Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian armies. The united Arab forces also had a decided edge with regards to weaponry and military equipment: they boasted more than double the number of tanks, and close to four times the amount of combat aircraft. The three-week period preceding the Six-Day War was one of dread, shock, and fright for the residents of the Holy Land. With close to two and a half million Jews living in the tiny country, it had the highest concentration of Jews since pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe. So pessimistic was the outlook that the nation’s cemeteries and national parks were marked to become gravesites for the many who would surely perish in the course of the war. However, despite all the prognostications, by the time the war ended, the territory under Israeli control had tripled in size. Jews returned to sites where their ancestors had lived for thousands of years, sites from which waves of terror were launched against them for so many years.