The Talmud explains that a statement in Torah never requires reinforcement. Consequently, the statement made by Rashi at the beginning of his commentary on the Torah that Israel is a Jewish land, “G-d took Eretz Yisrael from the gentiles and gave it to us,” is everlastingly true.
To actualize “that no sword shall pass through your land even a sword of peace” and “you shall rest without being disturbed”, the Baal Shem Tov explains that “a person is found in the place where his attention is focused.” If we meditate and concentrate on Jerusalem, then, in a sense, we are there. We can conduct our Hakkafos in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mt. and then insure the fulfillment of Rashi’s statement, “G-d took Israel from the gentiles and gave it to us.” Even in the last days of Galus, in the last moments before Mashiach’s coming, it will become clear to all that all of Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jewish people.
After Jerusalem, comes all of Israel — as it says, “In the future, Jerusalem will spread out to encompass all of Israel.” Even now, Israel is a land where “the eyes of G-d are always upon it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year”.
Beginning from Hebron and the cave of Machpelah which Abraham had purchased for”400 shekels of Kesef”, G-d promised Abraham “I will give this land to your descendants” as an eternal inheritance.
Therefore this Hakkafah pertains to Hebron and Abraham with whom G-d established a covenant which included the totality of the land of Israel. Even now in Galus the non-Jews will recognize that the Jewish people are the rightful owners of all of Israel, and this will serve as a preparation for the future redemption. Then G-d will be revealed to all as King of the Worlds, and “Kings will become your handmaidens and their ministers your nursemaids”.
Since we are still in Galus (even the first stage of the redemption has not yet begun), it is necessary to utilize natural means to ensure that “No sword shall pass through your land, and you shall rest undisturbed”.
Hence, it is necessary to maintain an army to discourage aggression by those who do not as yet recognize that Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
This is accomplished through our acknowledgement that it is not “our strength and our power which has brought us success”, but rather our unshakeable trust and loyalty to G-d. Since “they come with chariots and horses”, nevertheless, we recognize that armament is not the decisive factor. What is really important is G-d’s blessings. “G-d will answer on the day we call”. Torah, itself, though, commands that precautions be taken by employing natural means of defense.
The army itself (particularly when they wear Tzitzis and Tefillin), will serve to instill fear among the enemy to the point where “no sword will pass through your land”.
Therefore, in this Hakkafah, which, according to the Kabbalah alludes to the attribute of victory, all those who are in the army or who were once in the army (even only in the reserves) should participate and proceed with the power of victory, not to relinquish one inch of Eretz Yisrael.
Thereafter all matters will be settled in a peaceful and pleasant manner. Those who oppose will be frozen with fear.
This will pave the way for the coming of Mashiach when the sovereignty of the King of the Worlds will be revealed.
It would be desirable that all of the above be accomplished by G-d’s decree. This can be effected through the power of Torah. The true masters of Eretz Yisrael and of the entire world are the Sages — as the Talmud comments, “who are our kings — our Rabbis.” Through their judgment in Torah they show G-d what He must do, as it were.
Since the entire world was created through the medium of Torah, it follows that Torah contains a clear judgment concerning every situation. (If someone does not see Torah’s judgment regarding a specific matter, the fault lies not in the Torah, but in him.)
The above is particularly true regarding Israel. A clear Torah judgment exists which states that we must not relinquish any portion of Eretz Yisrael, the land which G-d gave us as an eternal inheritance.
Therefore, in this Hakkafah, Rabbanim, Roshei Yeshiva who prepare students to become Rabbanim, and also teachers of young children should participate.
They should continue to uphold the Torah judgments that all of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, that the time for Mashiach’s coming is long overdue and that we are just moments before the redemption.
They should proceed with the Torah judgment that the above should not entail any hardships but rather come with ease and tranquility. Then there will be no dispute since we possess the Torah which is the eternal word of G-d.
The coming of Mashiach is dependent on the spreading of Chassidus to the furthermost reaches of the world. When Mashiach was revealed to the Baal Shem Tov, the Baal Shem asked him, “When will you come?” and Mashiach answered, “When the wellsprings of your Torah spread to the outermost reaches of the world”. That concept is particularly relevant to those Jews who, aside from the general condition of exile, must suffer a second exile — being imprisoned behind the Iron curtain.
In those countries behind the Iron curtain, the Baal Shem Tov and his students, the Alter Rebbe and his students, and the succeeding Rebbeim, lived. (When the Previous Rebbe left Russia he wrote to Jews there that “physical distance cannot separate;” we are now together with those imprisoned Jews.
Therefore, those Jews who left Russia should participate in this Hakkafah, and since Simcha destroys all barriers, may the Simcha of Simchas Torah remove and break down all the barriers so that all may leave, “we will go with our children, our old, our sons and daughters”, “with our gold and silver”.
May we meet them, together with Mashiach in our Holy Land; may it be rebuilt and restored speedily in our days.
Kabbalah asserts the end is rooted in the beginning and the beginning in the end. That is why the Previous Rebbe instituted the custom that those who participate in the first Hakkafah should take part in the final one as well.
That concept shows the connection between a soul, while enclothed in a body (the end), and G-d’s essence (the beginning). This is particularly expressed on Shemini Atzeres when “the Jews and G-d are alone together”. Since the Jewish people are one with G-d’s essence, they have the potential to control the entire creation.
May the “name of G-d’s glorious kingdom be blessed forever”, i.e., may G-d’s glorious kingdom be revealed in this world. That revelation is effected through the very existence of the Jewish people in the world (aside from the fact that every Jew possesses a multitude of good deeds).
May it be a good and sweet year, with revealed and obvious blessings in the areas of children, health and wealth. May G-d open His good heart to us, so that we enjoy success in all matters, beginning with success in the spreading of Torah and including success in material affairs.
May we speedily merit the Messianic redemption and “then G-d will be one and His name one”.
- (Back to text) Even those areas which were never possessed by the Jewish people, merely promised in the phrase “and G-d will widen your boundaries”.
- (Back to text) In “Torah Or”, the Alter Rebbe explains the esoteric significance of these ‘400 shekels’.
- (Back to text) Including the areas mentioned in footnote (A) which at that time were inhabited by the “Kani”, “Knizi”, and “Kadmoni”.
- (Back to text) In Kabbalistic terms, the ‘Hakkafah’ of ‘Hod’ (Glory). This attribute is also the attribute of Torah.
- (Back to text) The Messianic redemption is also related to Hod. Kabbalah explains that the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash relates to Hod. Therefore, the redemption which will restore it is also connected to Hod.
- (Back to text) The Talmud comments that “even an Iron curtain cannot separate the Jews from G-d.”
- (Back to text) In a manner which is revealed to us.
- (Back to text) On Shemini Atzeres we ask for rain — Geshem. However, rain is symbolic of all a Jew’s physical needs. On the verse “I will bring your Geshem (rain) in the proper time”, the Baal Shem commented, “Don’t read Geshem (rain), read Gashmiyus — all material needs.