Rabbi Yitzchok Dov Koppelman

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Rav Yitzchok Dov Koppelman

(Shlita-Dean of the Yeshiva in Lucerne, Switzerland, Parshas Piches -5742)

The medrash Rabba states, "You shall oppress the Midianites - because they oppressed you. From here our Sages derive that one may kill someone who attempts to kill you. Rabbi Shimon explained: Why is one who causes another to sin worse than one who kills a person? One who kills another, removes only from this world but he does not take away the other's share in the next world; whereas one who causes another to sin, causes him to lose both worlds. Two nations met Israel with the sword, - and two caused them to sin. Concerning the Egyptians and Edomites who fought us with the sword - the Torah commands not to despise them. Concerning the Moabites and Ammonites who caused us to sin, that they may not enter into our midst even after ten generations."

We hear terrible news that Jews are being killed (may Hashem spare us) and this is certainly bitter.

Yet I have never seen anyone recite a chapter of Tehilim for the thousands and tens of thousands of Jews who were led away from the Torah by those wicked people (the Zionist government -ED.)

Daily, over there good Jews are led astray. When a Jew comes from Russia or Spain or wherever else Jews were scattered, his last spark of Jewishness is immediately extinguished. Those evil ones have established a factory to do away with religion, unparalleled since we became a people. Although missionaries rose against us in Spain, they were not successful. There were Jews who died to sanctify the Holy Name and those who keep their religion secretly and, as is well known, the rest left their land and birthplace. In every generation there are those who wish to destroy us and the Almighty delivers us from their hands. But these wicked people have been successful in causing millions of Jews to leave their religion. The Medrash cries out that he who causes another to sin is worse than one who kills another person, but no one pays attention. The main thing is (people believe Zionists) that they have been successful in the military field. The Tehilims are left to rot - until these people set their accursed minds on doing battle again. No one cries out concerning the Jewish souls who have been sullied by these evil people: "They are murdering Jews! They are murdering Jews!" In fact, the crime is worse than murder, for he who causes another to sin is worse than a murderer.

We would think that these "missionaries" must be gentiles, must stem from a nation that hates Jews. But no, they call themselves Jews. Although completely assimilated, they pretend to be Jews - and this is why they are successful.

As we said, it is tragic that Jews are being killed. But truth to tell, we are (may Hashem spare us) used to this, as happened during the pogroms of 1648-49, and in our times, when because of our sins millions of Jews were murdered. These tragedies never caused the Jewish nation to become "bankrupt". But the deeds of these wicked people who have declared war on G-d's Torah have left our people on the threshold of "bankruptcy" (may Hashem spare us), and if not for the Almighty's vow never to destroy the children of Avraham who knows what would be left of the Jewish people today.

In Kings (Melochim 1, Chapter 18) it states that the prophet Eliyohu asked the people, "How long will you step over both thresholds if G-d be the true G-d, follow Him and if Baal, follow him".

Was the prophet in doubt what the people were doing? And why did he give them a choice whether or not to follow Hashem?

I have seen an explanation from a Torah leader in our generation that Eliyohu addressed those who were sometimes sitting in the study halls of Torah and sometimes worshipped Baal. He told them, "If you think there is something to Baal, follow him--but do not site together with us for we have nothing to do with you!" Eliyoju's words were meant for Jews who kept the Torah and its laws but had been influenced by the Baal worshippers; while sitting in the Bais Hamedrash, they mingled the impure ideas with those of our Holy Torah.

This has been happening to the elite of our religious Jewry: They rejoice in the success of these wicked people, benefit from their impure table and dirty money, and honor them and their leaders - and in turn are respected for their cooperation. We say to them: "How long will you step over both thresholds?! If Hashem be the true G-d, follow Him and if the Baal - then do not return to our study hall, but follow him and his trends."

We can learn the way to serve Hashem properly from the words of the Ohr HaChaim HaKodosh on this week's sedra:

Why does the Torah tell us twice to hate the Midianites. Our Sages explain that this teaches us that even through the Torah usually does not allow to destroy the trees of an enemy city, this lowly and despised nation's trees should not be spared. We must understand why the Torah considers this action vengeance on Midyan more than, for example, eating of their booty. Wouldn't our consuming their booty cause them to suffer more, just as we find in the curses that the Torah mentions "and your enemies will consume it (your land)."

The Ohr HaChaim, in answer, writes: "Hashem advises to hate even what is sweet and good from them, destroy every tree, every sweet fountain and all that is good of theirs because they caused you to sin. Similarly, it says in Tehilim those who hate you, I will hate! "Those who hate you" can also be read, "who cause hatred".

By hating evil doers, sin will not lure us; we will keep them away from it, and we will be endowed with G-dliness. The trait of abhorring even what is good in sinners is helpful to those who want to live. It atones for the former sin in thinking wrong thoughts and shields from punishment. "Thus, the words "oppress the Midianites" tell us that by hating them and all that is good in them, by destroying their trees and wells, we atone for the sin of having desired them. This is one of the ways of rectifying the damage and repenting. "Hate them" is said in the present tense because this hatred must be constantly reinforced, until it is rooted in us". Until here the Ohr HaChaim, In other words, he, of blessed memory, tells us that our only hope is to hate those who incite others to sin and any good thing of theirs - and if we have anything of theirs we must destroy it. Further, we must arouse in ourselves great hatred of those who cause Jews to go astray. This is a righteous hatred, as King David said; "With absolute hatred do I hate them". It is hatred for its own sake, the deepest kind of hatred (since they have declared war on the Torah). We may have nothing to do with those sinners; we may not, G-d forbid, flatter them or appear friendly to them. There is no need to say that we may not benefit from them, and as the Ohr HaChaim HaKodosh wrote, this is beneficial for he who wants life.

The Torah states in this weeks sedra, "The name of the tribe's leader was Zimri ben Salu of the family of Shimon". Rashi z"l writes: This tells us Pinchas' praise, that he did not refrain from avenging a desecration of G-d's Name, even though the other was the prince of his tribe; therefore the Torah informs us who was killed.

This teaches that in matters involving desecration of G-d's Name one does not respect even an important person.

And in truth their prime minister, (Begin) is no leader. Where did he learn? Where are his tefilin? He is really from the worst of the worst; He was educated among criminals and murderers (the terrorist movement in the time of the British mandate-Ed.) and it is unbelievable that religious Jews flatter him and are friendly to him. He is responsible for the thousands and tens of thousands of Jewish souls lost to Torah. Who is responsible if not the prime minister? Thus, he resembles the wicked Titus; he is worse than the wicked Haman, because Haman attempted only physical annihilation, whereas he has caused thousands and tens of thousands to forsake their religion.

Some of those who flatter him justify themselves under the mantle of "loving each fellow Jews". They claim that one may not hate any other Jew and hence attack those who take an unequivocal stand in this issue and will not be influenced by falsifiers. Their attitude is the exact opposite of the Torah view, for there could be no worse hatred of fellow Jews than to flatter and love those evil people who have caused thousands and tens of thousands to forsake their religion (may Hashem spare us). If they had out rightly murdered them there would be no debate as to whether one may hate them. Since one who causes another to sin is worse than one who murders another person, and these people have caused such a rift in the entire Jewish people, one who loves them, hates all those unfortunate souls who have been murdered in this world and the next by these sinners. There is no greater hatred of Israel than this. Of a murderer it is written, "The congregation shall judge him and save him" - the judges should try to find some defense for him. On the other hand, of one who incites others to idol worship it is written, "You shall not have pity on him nor cover up for him." Since these people are worse than murderers, we must hate them, as Dovid ))HaMelech(( wrote, "The very essence of hatred, do I hate them".

Certainly, the Almighty will help so that the truth will be revealed quickly and all will see that the truth is with those who hate these wicked people. What will become of these sinners is not known, for we are too little to know this. One cannot imagine that they will deserve anything. People who have for 40, 50, 60 years caused Jewish souls to go astray, who have fought full strength against the Torah, who have destroyed an entire generation - who knows what will be their end. But we must strengthen ourselves to realize the truth - not to exhibit false zealousness, but rather to strive to see the real truth - until it will be fully revealed to us; may it be soon.