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Shabbat Parashat Vayeitzei 5783

Parashat Hashavua: The Connection between Divine Presence and a Straight Angle

Harav Yosef Carmel

The wonderful vision that Yaakov had in Beit El is introduced with “and behold Hashem was standing (nitzav) above him” (Bereishit 28:13). This root of natzov comes up in several places in Tanach, including Bereishit 18:1-2 (the angels with Avraham), ibid. 24:13 (Eliezer by the wellspring), Shemot 2:4 (Miriam looking at what happened to Moshe), Shmuel I, 19:20 (Shmuel with Shaul’s messengers), and many others. We have demonstrated in the past that this word hints at the Shechina (Divine Presence). We have also discussed that unity is a condition for the presence of the Shechina.

By looking at other prophecies, we can uncover another condition for the Shechina. Amos tried to convince Hashem not to send the Ten Tribes into exile and destroy the Kingdom of Israel and its capital, Shomron. He succeeded twice (see Amos 7:6 and ibid. 3). However, his third prophecy contains a frightful message: “I will not continue to pass over [the deserved punishment] … the temples of Israel will be destroyed and I will rise up against the House of Yerovam with the sword” (ibid. 8-9).

What caused the Attribute of Strict Judgment to take over? The hint is in the opening pasuk of the prophecy: “So I was shown, Hashem was nitzav on a wall checked with a plumb line and in His Hand was a plumb line.” Here nitzav is related to the plumb line and hints at the mathematical meaning of a perpendicular line as well as the hint of the Shechina. The condition for Shechina is rectitude, i.e., honesty, as opposed to the crookedness that prevailed in the Kingdom of Israel. Amos is saturated with criticism of corruption and social dysfunction. Hashem revealed Himself to the forefathers because they were straight in their moral path. This is what made Yaakov fit to receive his prophetic dream. Hashem is found only in a place that is built straight, "with the help of a plumb line."

The political struggles that have been shaking Israeli society in the last few years are accompanied by a lack of rectitude and by complaints directed at rivals from other political parties. Falsifying facts and presenting fabrications have become commonplace. Due to this, the public loses faith in its politicians and in the “horns in the hands of the media,” whose job it is to report objectively on the ideas and actions of those who take part in molding the actions of society. The resulting lack of faith, along with incessant incitement against those who are “different,” are liable, Heaven forbid, to activate the Attribute of Strict Judgement. Then, the end can be scarily unpredictable.

If we care about our lives, we must unite and increase rectitude.

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Tishrei 20 ,5781


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Tamuz 10 ,5774


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Adar II 17, 5782


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