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Shabbat Parashat Vayechi 5778

Ein Ayah: The Dangers of Compromising the Wall of Separation

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 5:79)

Gemara: At the time that Shlomo married the daughter of Paroh, Gavriel came down and set a stick in the sea, and a sandbank developed, upon which the great city of Rome was built.


Ein Ayah: Something which is totally good has nothing that opposes it. The fact that there is opposition in the world, whether it be in philosophies or in practical life, is because even good things have at least a small element of evil and loss. This can be due to the lives of those who are recipients or participants in the matter or for a variety of other reasons. That is why there is always a clear opposition which casts aspersions on the good matter because of the bad in its midst. Once the opposition exists, it impacts even the good elements, which causes all the complication in life.

Had Israel remained intact, with its own character and origin, no evil and destruction would have clung to it. It would not have needed an internal or external opposition to its course. However, things changed when external philosophies and ways of life entered the nation. These outlooks and customs were intrinsically bad, connected poorly to the Jewish nation, and made it extend beyond its normal characteristic and nature. This destroyed the good and straight order of life, the good heart, and the pure spirit that was in tune with the divine. At that point, by necessity, an opposition to Judaism in general had to develop.

Rome possessed the quality that made it fit to serve as a whipping stick to exile and destroy Israel due to its different approaches to things, which appear to be spiritual. This came from the nature of its opposition to Israel on the level of outlook already from the beginning of its national existence. The matter started with Shlomo’s marriage to the daughter of Paroh, which officially opened the door to the incorporation of foreign influences into the nation. While Shlomo’s intentions were positive, extremely foreign matters infiltrated and caused intrinsic lackings. This let in opposing matters on the spiritual level. In truth, the opposing point has only a small fundamental kernel that relates to a weakness in the nation that arises from the exposure to the foreign influence. Had the opposition not come from something that contains deep wickedness and falsehood, it would not have spread, but would have impacted in a place where the existence of opposition would have been positive.

However, that which the daughter of Paroh brought in caused the development of a sandbank into a city. “I got a little angry, and they intensified it for bad” (Zecharia 1:15). The sandbank grew into hatred, evil, false incriminations, philosophical depravities, and idolatry. The origin of this opposing power came from the sea, referring to the general righteousness, but the foreign influence caused lowliness. Bnei Yisrael were at a point where even holy things which came from “pure water,” from the storehouses of Torah, picked up a negative form by certain people. This allowed idolatry to infiltrate in a manner that was dangerous for the nation.

The internal element in the waves of nothingness caused the development of a sandbank. The stick, while thin and flimsy, expanded greatly despite lacking a foundation. Upon this, the great city of Rome was built. This was the place from which where the opposition that destroyed our Land and Temple came. This turned into a source of constant opposition, bringing much evil and persecution. They were able to do this because they seized a small portion of spirituality from the sparks of light embedded in the dark clouds, which they came upon from exposure to the lights of Torah and prophecy. All of this came about when the power of intermixing and the destruction of the wall that separated between Israel and the nations began to increase – when Shlomo married the daughter of Paroh.


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