(Continued from here.)
Question: Aren’t the wars to defend the Land of Israel that we have won so miraculously proof that the messianic redemption has begun?
Answer: It is true that over recent decades the Jews living in Eretz Yisroel have, with the help of Hashem, won many wars against tremendous odds, but that does not constitute a sign of redemption. Consider the case of Purim, when the Jewish people took arms against our goyisheh enemies and won, but remained in exile afterward nonetheless, as the Talmud states, “We are still [even after the miracle of Purim] slaves of Achashverosh” (Megillah 14a).
Thus, refusing to associate these miracles with the messianic redemption does not mean “turning one’s back” on them. Indeed, we should give great thanks to Hashem for the miracles by which so many Jews were saved and so much of our sacred Land was protected, and vast segments of it liberated.
However, there is no inherent connection between these salvations and the future redemption other than the fact that all salvations are spiritually interrelated. Note also that in the Amidah prayer, we praise Hashem Who “redeems [the people of] Israel,” and the commentaries state that this is not a prayer for the future redemption, but for salvation “from the troubles that befall us” in exile. The Jewish people have experienced divine salvation despite fighting against great odds many times during their protracted exile, and this was yet another such occasion. Thus, the indisputable miraculousness of these events does not detract from the fact that we are still in exile.
Question: Shouldn’t we take action in order to hasten the redemption?
Answer: It is not our role to try to hasten the redemption through force. Hashem has promised us that when the time comes, Moshiach will usher in the age of redemption. For the true cause of the exile was not the Babylonians, the Romans, or any other empire, but our sins, and thus the only way to hasten and ultimately bring the redemption is by increasing in our own Torah observance and encouraging our fellow Jews to do likewise. This rectifies our sin, the cause of the exile, and therefore removes its outcome, the exile, automatically.
Question: Won’t leaving the exile and moving to Eretz Yisroel ...
Answer: Whoa, hold it right there. Until Moshiach comes, the Land of Israel is a part of exile and the Jews in it are in a state of exile just as are those living in the Diaspora. The confusion of the two meanings of the word golus—diaspora and exile—is unfortunate and highly misleading, although I imagine it is unintentional. This identification implies that living in the Land means living in a world of redemption, or at least partial redemption, while living in the diaspora means choosing to remain in exile.
With all due respect, this is incorrect. Even a Jew who lives in Eretz Yisroel declares during his prayers: “On account of our sins, we were exiled from our Land.” And he does so even when praying in the holiest city, Yerushalayim, and at the Kosel, the holiest place in the world that we can go. So even a Jew living in the Holy Land, in the holiest city, and standing at the Kosel, is in exile just the same. For exile is not about being banished from the Land, but about being in a state of exile in which we cannot serve Hashem properly, which is only possible when we have the Beis HaMikdash, a Jewish king (in the case of the upcoming redemption, the king Moshiach), and so on. There were Jews living in the Land throughout our long exile, albeit in smaller numbers, and yet no one ever saw anything redemptive in that.
Question: How do you respond when you see Jews displaying the Israeli flag?
Answer: I am unhappy. However, I find it doubly sad when I witness someone who identifies with the cause of strengthening the Jews of Yehuda and Shomron displaying the Israeli flag so proudly. It was only yesterday, in the suicidal idiocy and treason so euphemistically but callously termed “disengagement,” that we all saw the true colours of the Israeli government and its flag.
We saw how the government sent young men and women (who should have been elsewhere defending us from our true enemies) to systematically and efficiently expel our brethren from their homes and villages in the Gaza strip and Northern Shomron—all with that very flag emblazoned on their blackshirted vests. To add insult to injury, when their dirty deed was done, they raised that flag over the Jew-free territory to declare “victory” (may Hashem have mercy) in their mission. And then we saw how the same government that had promised so publicly, using costly advertising campaigns, that there would be a “solution for every settler” did nothing of the sort, instead leaving these expellees in the lurch. The “dawn of the redemption,” indeed.