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Posted on December 29, 2016 (5778) By Mordechai Lewis | Series: | Level:

“Yaakov called for his sons and said, gather together and I shall tell you what will befall you in the End of Days…”[1]

Rashi[2] says that Yaakov wished to reveal the conclusion[3] of all the exiles of the Jewish people, but the Divine Presence departed from him and he was unable to do so. The Gemara[4] states, “Yaakov said to his sons: Perhaps, Heaven forbid, there is a blemish among the issue of my bed[5] like the case of Avraham, from whom issued Yishmael or like the case of my father Yitzchak, from whom issued Eisav. His sons answered him reassuringly: Hear, O Israel,[6] Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One. They explained their response: Just as there is only One G-d in your heart, so there is only One G-d in our heart…”

Why did the shevatim say to Yaakov, “Just as there is only One G-d in your heart, so there is only One G-d in our heart?” The answer is given by Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l:

“During Golus, the Jewish people is split, not only physically-geographically, but also ideologically. One group does not see eye to eye with the other. This disparity exists not only in that the non-religious segment of our nation does not understand those who are religious, but even the people who keep the Torah and mitzvos are divided and subdivided many times among themselves.[7]

However, over 150 years ago, the disciples of the Vilna Gaon[8] and the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov[9] had made peace with each other. While both groups maintained their differences, both developed great respect and eventually a mutual love for each other.

So why should we be different today? The talmidim of our great yeshivos and kollelim who follow their Roshei HaYeshivah and devoted Chassidim who follow their Admorim, are all united in their absolute loyalty to Hashem’s Torah. Why can’t we tell the other, ‘I am deeply convinced that my outlook is true. So are you. We honor each other’s conviction and sincerity without any yielding an inch of our own sacred territory.’”[10]

When the shevatim said to Yaakov, “Just as there is only One G-d in your heart, so there is only One G-d in our heart,” they were telling us that we are one nation with one Torah.[11] We might have different sects of Judaism, yet we all are learning from the same Torah that was given to us at Har Sinai. As the Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai[12] says, “Hashem, the Torah and Yisrael are one.” Thus, all three vital components united in the desert[13] fulfilling the dictum, “the three-ply cord will not be severed easily.”[14]

If the producer of a movie plans on making a sequel, he will give hints towards the end of it that the plot isn’t over yet. Before the Divine Presence departed from Yaakov, was there any hint that he gave us about how to bring this last exile to a close? It’s two words: gather together.

The Medrash[15] says, “The Jewish people are like a bundle of reeds: A single reed can be broken even by a child, whereas a bundle of reeds cannot be broken even by an adult. [Although each individual may be unworthy of a certain spiritual level, together they are worthy of that level]. So too, the Jewish people will not be redeemed until they become a single group.”[16]

Elsewhere, the posuk says, “He was King over Yeshurun [Yisrael], when the leaders of the nation gathered and the tribes of Yisrael were unified.”[17] Rashi[18] explains, “When is He King over Yeshurun? Only when the tribes of Yisrael are unified and not when they are divided into separate groups – which, we know, happens as a result of loshon hora.[19]

The Medrash says that if Jews are worshipping idols, but they live in peace, then in Heaven, the Accuser is not able to prosecute them.[20] For Hashem states, “My beloved children, what do I ask of you? Only that you love one another and respect one another.”[21] As Dovid HaMelech[22] said, “Indeed, how good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers, moreover, in unity.” The Belzer Rebbe said that the salvation of the Jewish people rests on unity during times of trouble.[23]

With Hashem’s help, in the merit of becoming one like our Creator, with our brethren – through speech and action – may He soon gather us out of the lands to which we were scattered[24] and bring us to the Land that our forefathers possessed![25]


Dedicated in memory of Dovid Tzvi ben Yosef Yochanan, Kayla Rus bas Bunim Tuvia, Chana Tziporah bas HaRav Nochum Yehuda HaKohein, Dovid ben Uri HaLevi, Sarah bas Henoch Avraham, Altah Soshah Devorah bas Aryeh Leibush, Mashah Tzivyah bas R’ Shlomo Zalman, Shmuel Dovid HaLevi ben R’ Yosef Moshe HaLevi, Yehudah Ruvein ben Meir, Rafael Chaim Yitzchak Yaakov ben Binyamin Yehudah, Berinah Z’latah bas Reuven Yitzchak, Yosef ben Moshe HaLevi, Rafael Shachar ben Aharon, Aliza bas Henreias, Moshe ben Aliza, Yitzchak Hillel ben Aliza , Henreias Leah bas Aliza, Miriam Liba bas R’ Aharon and as a merit for a complete recovery of Chayah Malka bas Bas-Sheva, Shmuel ben Channah Menuchah, Shlomo Avraham Moshe ben Rivkah Shaindel, Menachem ben Rivka, Rivka bas Esther Rochel, Shilat bas Louza Aliza, Daniel ben Louza Aliza, Avraham ben Louza Aliza, Yosef ben Ahuva Masuda.


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[1]    Bereishis 49:1.
[2]    Ibid. “ואגידה לכם”.
[3]    i.e. duration of time or dates.
[4]    Pesachim 56a. [5]    The Maharsha explains that Yaakov feared that perhaps the Divine Presence had departed from him because one of his children did not believe in G-d’s absolute unity, and therefore was not worthy of receiving this prophecy. [6]    When the shevatim were saying Israel, they were addressing Yaakov (Rashi on Pesachim 56a “שמע ישראל”). [7]    Rav Schwab on Prayer, page 468.
[8]    I.e. Eliyahu Kremer.
[9]    I.e. Yisroel ben Eliezer.
[10] Selected Speeches by Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l, pages 72-79.
[11] see The Six Constant Mitzvos by Rabbi Yehuda Heimowitz and Rabbi Shai Markowitz, page 128, note 1.
[12] Zohar volume 3, Achrei Mos 73a. [13] The posuk says, “Israel encamped there.” (Shemos 19:2). Rashi explains this to mean one man, with one heart. Whereas, all other encampments were with complaints and argumentation. For Israel to rise to its highest calling, it must be unified. Only when it was united its goal of hearing the word of G-d could it receive the Torah. (Ibid. “ויחן שם ישראל”). [14] Koheles 4:12.
[15] Tanchuma, Netzavim 1.
[16] I.e. united.
[17] Devarim 33:5.
[18] Ibid. “ראשי” citing the Sifri. [19] Sefer Chofetz Chaim – English Translation by HaRav Yisroel Meir Kagen zt”l, page 13. See also Life Insurance and Lashon Hara. [20] Medrash Tanchuma, Tzav #7, Shoftim #18 and Bamidbar Rabbah 11:7.
[21] Tana D’vei Eliyahu Rabbah, chapter 28.
[22] Tehillim 133:1. [23] Quoted in Eim HaBanim Semeicha, chapter 1, page 111 in English edition. [24] see Yechezkeil 20:34.
[25] Devarim 30:3-5.
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