Torah Tidbits

2 September 2014 / 7 Elul 5774
Issue 1029
Shabbat Parshat Bo
January 17, 2013

Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

The long awaited moment has finally arrived! The Jewish people are about to be redeemed from Egypt, and the date, the night of the 15th of Nisan, is coined for posterity as a “Leil Shimurim”, a night of safeguarding.
The full pasuk (Sh’mot 12:42) reads as follows: It is a ‘leil shimurim’ unto G-d to take them out of the Land of Egypt, this is the night unto G-d, ‘shimurim’ for all the children of Israel throughout the generations.”
Who is doing the watching, and what is it that is being safeguarded?
Rashi, suggests that we attribute a different meaning to the phrase ‘shimurim’ in each part of the verse. ‘Leil shimurim unto G-d’, he says, is a reference to the fact that the Almighty had long waited and anticipated the arrival of this historic moment in time. 430 years have transpired since He had made the original covenant with Abraham promising to redeem his descendants. The second ‘shimurim’ ‘for all the children of Israel’ is an additional promise handed down at this time: The Almighty promises that henceforth, he will ‘watch over’ the people of Israel on this night, protecting them from harm. For Rashi the verse is focused on G-d. It is He who waited and He who will continue to safeguard his people forever.
Ibn Ezra says that the second ‘shimurim’ means that on this night we are all to act as ‘shomrim’, guards, who must stay awake throughout the long night hours. On the night of Pesach, we are to stay awake relating to one another the wonders of the Exodus. Ramban similarly writes that we must safeguard this date with prayer and service.
An additional explanation was put forth by Rebbe Tzvi Elimelech from Dinov. Just as the Almighty waited for the first Exodus to arrive, so too must the children of Israel anticipate the coming of the Final Redemption, as the first redemption serves as a model for the ultimate and final one.
We have indeed long awaited the Final Redemption, how though are we to behave in the interim?
One could say that Rashi, sides with the view that the onus is entirely on the Almighty, while Ramban’s and Ibn Ezra’s approach places a shared responsibility on our shoulders as well.
Over 125 years ago, the Chibat-Zion movement was founded on the belief that we must buy up the land, establish colonies, working to make the redemption a reality. Others, like the Satmar Rebbe, later strongly opposed this activity believing that we must calmly wait for the Almighty to bring about the redemption.
Those of us who have left the Diaspora and made Aliyah have adopted an active stance.
Where do you stand?

Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

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