Tuesday, August 28, 2007

THE UNIVERSAL HOMECOMING - KI TAVO HAFTARAH

SHABBAT KI TAVO HAFTARAH

From my friend Yosef ben Shlomo Hakohen:

The Universal Homecoming: Part One

Dear Friends,

In the comforting portion from the Prophets that we chant on this Shabbos, the Prophet Isaiah describes the future homecoming of our exiles to Jerusalem as a journey of “doves to their cotes” (Isaiah 60:8). The wandering People of Israel have returned home. Our sages reveal, however, that the journey of “doves to their cotes” is also referring to the future homecoming of all humankind. This teaching is found in Midrash Yalkut Shimoni on the Book of Isaiah (503), and the Midrash begins by citing the following proclamation of Hashem, the Compassionate One, regarding the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem :

“It shall come to pass that at every new Moon and on every Shabbos all humankind will come to bow before Me, says Hashem.” (Isaiah 66:23).

The Midrash comments:

“How is it possible that all humankind will come to Jerusalem every Shabbos and every New Month? (How can Jerusalem contain so many pilgrims?) Rabbi Levi says that in the future the entire Land of Israel will be like Jerusalem ; moreover, the entire world will be like the Land of Israel . And how can they come on the New Moon and on Shabbos from the ends of the world? The clouds will come and carry them, bringing them to Jerusalem , and they will pray there in the morning. And this is as the Prophet praises them: ‘Who are these? Like a cloud they fly, like doves to their cotes’ (Isaiah 60:8).”

As the above Midrash explains, all humankind will fly like a cloud to Jerusalem , and this poetic prophecy may be referring to air travel. In addition, the pilgrimage of all humankind to Jerusalem is described as a journey of doves coming home to their cotes. This description indicates that Jerusalem is the “spiritual” home of all people.

On the day of the universal homecoming of all the “doves” to Jerusalem , we, the People of Israel, will welcome the pilgrims from all over the world, and we will pray to the Compassionate One the following words on their behalf:

“Please Hashem, grant new life; please Hashem, grant success.” (Psalm 118:15)

According to the classical biblical commentator, Radak, this is a prayer that Israel will say on behalf of the pilgrims from all the peoples who will come to the Temple at the dawn of the messianic age. Through these words, states Radak, we are praying for new life and success “for all who come to take shelter in Your shade and who return to Your service.” Following this prayer, it is written:

“Blessed is the One Who comes in the Name of Hashem; we bless you from the House of Hashem.” (Psalm 118:26)

According to Radak, the above blessing will be said by the “Kohanim” – the Ministers of the Temple – to the pilgrims from all the peoples. The Radak explains that the Kohanim are blessing them in the Name of Hashem Who gave Israel the light of redemption; moreover, the Kohanim are inviting them to join Israel in the service of Hashem.

May we merit to experience the universal homecoming of all the doves, for in this new era, “All the ends of the earth will remember and return to Hashem” (Psalm 22:28).

Much Shalom,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

Hazon – Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/

NEVER GIVE UP!

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When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.- Abraham Joshua Heschel
The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the most important thing is to not be afraid.
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
"The greatest thing in the world is to do somebody else a favor." - Aish Kodesh
"As you want G*d to give you a chance, give everyone else a chance to also begin again." - Shlomo Carlebach

About Me

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I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!