by Rabbi Dovid Siegel
This week's haftorah is devoted to the Jewish nation's future unification.
it opens with Hashem instructing the Prophet Yechezkel to take two pieces
of wood and inscribe them with names of the Jewish kingdoms, Yehuda and
Yosef. Hashem then said, "Bring them near one another to appear as one and
they shall unite in your hands." Radak interprets this to mean that
Yechezkel should hold the pieces alongside each other and they will
miraculously unite into one solid piece of wood. He explains that this
refers to the future miraculous unification of the Jewish kingdom. The
individual pieces of wood represent the individual kingdoms of Israel.
Although Hashem unconditionally granted Dovid Hamelech's dynasty the
kingdom of Israel this did not preclude fragmentation. In fact, soon after
Shlomo Hamelech's passing the kingdom suffered a severe split. Yeravam ben
Nvat, a descendent of the tribe of Yosef led a powerful rebellion against
the Judean dynasty and gained control over most of the Jewish nation. The
split was so intense that the seceding camp of Yosef totally severed ties
with its brothers never to return to them. Yechezkel prophesied that
these kingdoms will eventually reunite and form one inseparable unit. The
unification will be so perfect that it will leave no trace of any previous
dissension. The entire nation's sense of kinship will be so pronounced
that it will be likened to one solid piece of wood, void of all factions
Yechezkel continues and states in Hashem's name, "And I will purify them
and they shall be a nation to Me and I will be G-d to them...My Divine
Presence will rest upon them ... forever." (37:23,28) These verses predict
the final phase of unity- Hashem's unification with His people. In the
Messianic era all aspects of unity will be achieved. The entire Jewish
nation will become one inseparable entity and Hashem will reunite with His
people. This unification will resemble that of the Jewish people, an
everlasting and inseparable one.
It is important to note the order of this unity. The first phase will be
our nation's unification and after this is achieved Hashem will return to
His people. Sefer Charedim sensitizes us to the order of this development.
He reflects upon Hashem's distinct quality of oneness and explains that it
can only be appreciated and revealed through His people's harmonious
interaction. Hashem's favor and kindness emanates from His perfect oneness
and reveals this quality in full. When the Jewish people function as a
harmonious body they deserve Hashem's favor and kindness. They project
and reflect Hashem's goodness and express His oneness and bring true glory
to His name . However, if the Jewish people are fragmented and divided
they display- Heaven forbid- division in Hashem's interactive system.
Their divisive behavior gives the impression that Hashem's influence is
disjointed and fragmented and not achieving its ultimate purpose. At that
point Hashem removes His presence from His people and disassociates Himself
from their inappropriate ways. The Jewish people's lack of success and
accomplishment is then attributed to Hashem's unwillingness to remain
involved in their lives.
We now understand that the Jewish people's unity is a prerequisite to
Hashem's return to His people. Sefer Charedim explains with this the
introductory words of the Shabbos afternoon Amida service. We state
therein, "You are one, Your identity is one and who can is likened to Your
people Israel one nation in the land." He interprets these words to refer
to the glorious Messianic era. During that period Hashem's oneness will be
recognized through His harmonious interactive system reflected in the
oneness of His people. Their perfect unity will provide the perfect
setting for Hashem's revelation to the world. During that time Hashem's
master plan will be expressed through the perfect interaction of His
people. Every detail of Hashem's kindness will serve its intended purpose
and reveal His absolute oneness and control over every aspect of this
world. Undoubtedly, this will require the Jewish people's total
cooperation and perfect harmonious interaction with one another. Indeed,
it can be said that when Hashem's people unite as an inseparable entity
His identity and perfect quality of oneness will be recognized throughout
the world. (adapted from Sefer Charedim chap. 7)
In truth, the foundation for this unity was laid in this week's sedra.
Yosef developed an ingenious scheme to silence all his brothers'
suspicions and convince them of their grave misjudgement of his actions.
He successfully removed their deep seeded jealousy and hatred and brought
about a sincere unification to the household of Yaakov. Yosef and Yehuda,
the two powers to be, embraced one another and displayed a true sense of
kinship. Unfortunately, irrevocable damage already occurred that would
ultimately yield a severe split in the Jewish kingdom. Yosef's descendant,
Yeravam would eventually severe relations with Yehuda's descendant Rechavam
and establish his own leadership. (see Gur Aryeh to Breishis 48:7)
However, groundwork was already established to reunite these kingdoms and
return the Jewish nation to its original perfect unity.
This week's sedra records the immediate result of the unity of the
household of Yaakov. After Yaakov Avinu discovered Yosef's existence and
salvation the Torah states, "And their father, Yaakov's spirit was
restored to life." (Breishis 45:27) Rashi quotes the Sages who explain
these words to refer to the return of Hashem's Divine Spirit to Yaakov. (ad
loc) Yosef's absence from Yaakov's household indirectly prevented Hashem's
Divine Spirit from resting upon Yaakov. Now, after twenty-two dark years
Yaakov Avinu's household was reunited and Hashem returned His Divine
Presence to Yaakov. This development is indicative of the Jewish people's
future experience. The ten lost tribes representing the kingdom of Yoseif
will be divided from the Judean kingdom for over two thousand years. This
will result in Hashem's removing His Divine Presence from amidst His people
and throughout their long dark exile they will have no direct contact with
Him. However, the time will eventually arrive for the Jewish people to
reunite and become one inseparable entity. This miraculous unity will
immediately lead to a second unity, that of Hashem and His people. In
response to their total unification Hashem will return His Divine Presence
and rest amongst His people us and "The spirit of Israel will be restored
This lesson is apropos for our times where so much potential diversity
exists. We pray to Hashem that we merit total unification thereby yielding
Hashem's return to us resting His Divine Presence amongst us.
Text Copyright © 2001 Rabbi Dovid Siegel and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is Rosh Kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim of
Kiryat Sefer, Israel.