Israel Forever

For the week ending 1 January 2005 / 20 Tevet 5765

Secret of Survival

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The beginning of the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt is described in this weeks Torah portion as taking place after they were there for RaBYM days. This word is seen by one of the commentators as an acronym for the four different exiles experienced by our people after entering Eretz Yisrael: R is for the Roman Empire (4th); B for Babylon (1st); Y for Yavan (Greeks, 3rd) and M for Media (and Persians, the 2nd).

The significance of this is that Egyptian exile is to be viewed as a forerunner of all the other exiles which were to follow. It was only natural then that the Torah should signal to us the secret of spiritual survival under the dominion of all these heathen powers. The signal was indeed communicated in an earlier chapter which informs us that, before leaving for Egypt, the Patriarch Yaakov sent his son Yehuda to Yosef in Egypt to set up a yeshiva for the family to study in upon their arrival.

The yeshiva, as a place of learning and a source of halachic authority, has always been the secret of survival for our people. This is an historical lesson which must be internalized and applied by our government in order to guarantee Israel forever.

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