Rabbi Schwartz is the rabbi of Ohab Zedek in New York, NY.
Rabbi Yehuda Ha Nassi’s son Shimon was preparing for the standard 12 year yeshiva program away from home and as he was leaving he was told that a bride had already been chosen for him. He broke protocol by asking to meet his future wife before his departure. His father allowed it and the young couple had a short meeting. Shimon was so enamored with the young girl that he asked to interrupt his 12 years of learning by marrying after 6 years. Rebbe allowed it and after a second thought, Shimon begged his father if he could marry the girl immediately and then, while married, learn the requisite 12 years. Rebbe’s response was to compare his son’s behavior to God and that the behavior is manifest in the Torah portion of Terumah.
Moshe, in the Shirat Hayam predicted that God would firmly implant his people in the Mountain of His dwelling and that then His sanctuary would be established. Yet, God couldn’t wait that long. The time of the unification of God and His people, so that He would dwell in their midst, was taking too long. God broke protocol, as it were, by commanding us to build His sanctuary before crossing over into Israel.
There is a dispute at the end of Masechet Sanhedrin over whether God or Israel must make the first step to our salvation. The Gemara seems to conclude with Rabbi Yehoshua that God will make the first move, yet Rambam in Hilchot Teshuva decides that “אין ישראל נגאלין אלא בתשובה.” Our redemption will only come on the heels of our repentance.
God had already promised us that we would repent in order to deserve such salvation at Devarim 30:8. “.וְאַ ָתּה ָתשׁוּב וְָשַׁמְע ָתּ ְבּקוֹל ה’ ”
Rav Yissachar Teichtel in his groundbreaking book, אם הבנים שמחה posits that the oaths placed upon us regarding the redemption have not been violated by any mean. The oath to refrain from establishing a political movement in Israel without God’s input is not an issue, he argues. The events of the last 100 years are clarion calls to act in the framework of Rebbe’s son Shimon. And the oath not to rebel against the will of the nations in our return to Israel, has also been undone by such acts as the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and the league of Nations Recognition of 1922 to say nothing of the UN Partition Plan of 1947.
The Talmud says that we lost an opportunity for the Messaianic arrival in the Days of King Hezikiah because he did not adequately show his appreciation for the salvation of Jerusalem and Israel. Let us not make the same mistake. Let us take advantage of the incredible good will that millions of Americans have toward Israel. Let us join the RZA in presenting Israel’s best foot forward by continuing to seek its peace and prosperity. It all starts, like Shimon, son of Rebbe with our initiative and one foot at a time.