Vol 23.21 - Balak 2 Spanish French Audio Video
(5743) (Num. 24:17)'and uproot all the sons of Seth". The nations of the world will "perish" (Zec. 13:8. Tal Sanh. 11a). Is this explicit or will they be rectified "to serve G-d" (Rambam Hil. Melachim 11:4)
In the last prophecy of Bilaam in our Parsha where it primarily speaks of the era after the coming of Moshiach: “The end of days”
– and in the words of Ramban: “This prophecy refers to the time of Moshiach” for this is the essence of: “A star has gone forth from Jacob and a staff will arise from Israel” that it refers to Moshiach –
the verse continues: “which will crush the princes of Moab and uproot all the sons of Seth”
There are two commentaries relating to the meaning (pshat) of “uproot all the sons of Seth”:
1. Targum Onkelus explains: “They will rule over all people”
2. Ibn Ezra explains: this is like (the verse): “Kir shouting” and the reason is destruction. Namely, that it is an aspect of desolation and destruction. And this is also apparent from the Targum Yonason ben Uziel and Targum Yerushalmi for in the two targumin the eradication and killing of the nations is stressed.
It appears, seemingly, that the two commentaries differ about whether the nations of the world will remain in the future.
This is puzzling:
How is it possible to state that in the Future there will be a desolation and destruction of the “sons of Seth” – which means the destruction of all the nations – when there exists a clear prophecy in many places concerning the nations and converts in the Future, starting with the beginning of Yeshaya:
” And it shall be at the end of the days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be firmly established at the top of the mountains, and it shall be raised above the hills, and all the nations shall stream to it etc. And many peoples shall go, and they shall say, "Come, let us go up to the Lord's mount etc. And he shall judge between the nations and reprove many peoples”
And concluding with the end of Yeshaya:
“To gather all the nations and the tongues, and they shall come and they shall see My glory eEtc. and they shall recount My glory among the nations.”
Similarly there is the prophecy:
“For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the L-RD, to serve Him with one consent.”
and in many other places in the prophets.
2. In Zecharia there is a prophecy:
“And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the L-rd, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.”
The MIdrash states that the “third” portion that will remain – “Is Yisroel”. It thus follows that, in the Future, the other nations will be “cut off and expire”.
The commentary in the Ibn Ezra in the verse “uproot all the sons of Seth”, therefore is in accordance with the aforementioned prophecy in Zecharia
However, the question (par 1) on the prophecy still remains: How does the prophecy in Zecharia reconcile with all the many aforementioned prophecies that, in the Future , nations and converts will exist?
There is a debate in Talmud between Reish Lakish and R’ Yochanan in the explanation of: “the third shall be left therein”:
There is an explanation in the Rishonim that the debate between Reish Lakish and R’ Yochanan is whether the nations of the world are included in the “the third shall be left therein”.
According to R’ Yochanan “He is also particular regarding the nations of the world” (that they will not be cut-off).
But the difficulty still remains:
(Notwithstanding that which according to other commentators (as is also apparent from Rashi) the debate concerns only Yidden – namely whether Yidden are included in the “two parts therein shall be cut off and die”, and when R’ Yochanan replied: “Their Master is not pleased that you say so of them”. It refers to Yidden)
According to Reish Lakish, (according to all opinions hold that) all the nations will be cut off and “expire”!
3. This subject (whether in the Future, the nations of the world will exist) is not just a debate in the explanation of the verses but also an aspect of Halacha.
Rambam in (his book of Halachot) “Sefer HaYad” (in the Laws of Kings and their Wars) rules that one of the qualities of Moshiach will be that:
“He will then repair the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve G-d together, as it states: 'I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.'
And in the following chapter, Rambam explains the prophecy of Yeshaya:
'The wolf will dwell with the lamb etc. that Israel will dwell securely together with the wicked gentiles etc. . . They will all return to the true faith and no longer steal or destroy. Rather, they will eat permitted food at peace with Israel “
The Sefer HaYad’s purpose is not to recount events which will occur in the Future or even, in general, to recount the deeds that Moshiach will perform. But rather, it is a book of laws - “halachot halachot” and it recounts events only when they actually pertain to Halacha.
One must therefore say that not only the aspects in the beginning of the Halacha, where Rambam describes the manner and sequence of the revelation of Moshiach and the signs thereof,
(That: “If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its Mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David, his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of G-d, we may, with assurance, consider him Moshiach.
If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach.)
are related to Halacha – to know the signs that he is “definitely Moshiach “ –
but even in the conclusion of the Halacha ( what he will do after we already know that he is “definitely Moshiach “) is connected with laws related to the knowledge and recognition of “the definite Moshiach“:
(This is namely) to know that Moshiach will build the “temple in its location” and “gather the remnants of Yisroel) and that he will bring Geulah to Klal Yisroel. Consequently there will be the completeness of the laws of the Mitzvot of the Torah as it is explained there in the beginning of Chapter Eleven (as has been expounded at length in another place). And there also must be the faith and knowledge that he will carry out the Geulah throughout the entire world, as it states: “He will then repair the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve G-d together”
One could additionally say that this aspect not only regards the faith and knowledge of Yidden concerning Moshiach but also concerns the conduct of Bnei Yisroel, now.
Rambam rules that:
“G-d commanded Moshe Rabbeinu to force all the inhabitants of the world to accept the Mitzvot that the children of Noah were commanded”.
And since Moshiach will accomplish the “repairing of the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve G-d together . . and “transform the peoples etc.”, it follows that the aspect of the deed regarding the nations of the world to: “force all the inhabitants of the world to accept the Mitzvot that the children of Noah were commanded” is a glimmer of the preparation (hachsharah) to the coming of our righteous Moshiach in this.
Accordingly it fits that Rambam placed this Halacha (and so too all the laws of Bnei Noach) in Hilchot Melachim (the Laws of Kings), immediately before the laws and statutes of King Moshiach.
4. One can understand all this by prefacing an explanation of :“ two parts therein shall be cut off and die”, for it is seemingly puzzling:
How could it be that in the Future, all the nations will be cut off? It states that “G-d is good to all and His mercy is over all His handiwork”?
Even though we find many instances, beginning with the Generation of the Flood where “(G-d) obliterated every being” as it states: “The end of all flesh has come before Me” – nevertheless the reason was because: “for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth”.
From the wording of the aforementioned prophecies, however, it appears that it is speaking here, not (as in other prophecies) regarding the punishment of the evildoers of the nations, due to their corruption etc. But rather the destruction (karkar) of: “all the sons of Seth” – entire humanity, which also includes the righteous of the nations (as aforementioned in Par 2, that “The third will remain” – “refers to Yisroel”, just Yidden).
This (that just a third will remain) also has no connection to,
in contrast (l’havdil) and no pain should befall twice, G-d protect us,
to the decrees and destruction of Yidden, G-d protect us, during the time of the Churban, and also during the entire time off Galut, including the worst of them which transpired in the generation before us – because all this is in the time of Galut, and since it is a time of darkness, hiddenness and cloaking, the aspect of “His mercy is over all His handiwork”, even toward Yisroel, His chosen people, not in a revealed manner. (So much so that it begs the question: “Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?" and “Why have You brought harm to this people?” etc.)
However, concerning the time of the Future, where the prophecy states that the world will be rectified with the G-d’s sovereignty (Malchut Shakai) as it states further in the prophecy of Zecharia itself:
“And the L-rd shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the L-rd be One, and His name one.” and “your Teacher shall no longer be concealed from you”,
there will be the revelation of G-dliness Thus how can there be a destruction and desolation of all the nations?
5. Once could simply say the explanation of: “two parts therein shall be cut off” (and similarly the verse “uproot all the sons of Seth” ) is –
not that the nations will split/perish (farttilicht) by an act of destruction and desolation ( the opposite of mercy).
But that they will not have a continuation of generations (progeny).
They will not have the power to reproduce – which, in the course of time, will automatically (in a natural way) effect that they will be “cut off and die”.
And one cannot ask:
The cessation of the power of reproduction is a contradiction to “His mercy is over all His handiwork” – because, as is known, the power of reproduction of beings, is drawn from the power of G-d (Ein Sof) and is His infinite (bli gvul) power. For created beings, of themselves, are measured and limited. Therefore, it is not fitting to say that they have, of themselves, the aspect of reproduction - for that ability is - to reproduce infinitely (ad ein sof). And this is only from the infinite power of G-d, for He bestowed this into the nature of the body that reproduces.
When the power of reproduction is lacking, it does not mean that an aspect of nature was taken away, but rather, that an additional power was not added (which in essence is above nature).
6. This explanation, however, is not entirely sufficient, because:
1. Since, in the Future, the prophecy of: “For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the L-rd, to serve Him with one consent.” will be fulfilled - why must the existence of readers and workers (korim v’Ovdim) cease ( even for a while)?
2. It states explicitly in the prophecy that:
“And kings shall be your nursing fathers and their princesses your wet nurses” and also: “strangers shall stand and pasture your sheep, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.”
And Reish Lakish himself states that: “Whoever is careful with Tzitzis will merit to have two thousand eight hundred servants”. Therefore, how can one say that all the nations will (in the course of time) perish?
One must therefore conclude that, according to all the explanations, it does not mean simplistically, that in the Future the existence of the nations will cease. Their existence will also continue in the Future. But the aforementioned different opinions (the two explantions in “uproot all the sons of Seth” and similarly the aforementioned explanations (par 2) of “two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.”) concern the manner of how their existence will be manifested.
7. One could say the explanation is:
After the Future Geulah, when there will be the revelation of G-dliness in the world, as the verse states:
“And the L-rd shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the L-rd be One, and His name one.”
It is simple that there will be no existence of Tumah (impurity) and evil in the world (as it states in Zecharia (before the verse: “two parts” etc) : “And I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth”.
Therefore it is understood that regarding people, in the Future, there will not exist enemies of G-d and evildoers. For after the enemies and evildoers receive their punishment, as it is explained in many prophecies, the “entire world will be rectified (human, animal vegetable and mineral) to serve G-d”.
(And as Rashi explains the verse: “Hear Yisroel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One” that G-d who is our G-d now but not the G-d of the idol worshippers will , in the Future, be One G-d as it states: “For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the L-rd, to serve Him with one consent” and it states: “in that day shall the L-rd be One, and His name one.”).
Consequently, there is room for debate:
The main revelation in the Future is for Yidden, just as the Geulah is for Yidden. For we were exiled from our land – and (G-d) “gathered the remnants if Yisroel”.
The redemption of the entire world is an outcome and secondary thing to the Geulah of Yidden -just as the entire creation and its existence is for Yidden (as it states): “Bereshit – (G-d created the world) for the sake of the Torah, which is called (Prov. 8:22): “the beginning of His way,” and for the sake of Israel, who are called (Jer. 2:3) “the first of His grain.”
And there can be two ways in understanding this:
1. The condition of Geulah in the world, including the nations of the world, applies to them as being a component of the Geulah of Yidden.
2. The redemption of the Nations is considered (felt, also) as an independent aspect.
The explanation is:
According to the first way, it follows that the aspect of Moshiach and the Future revelation is only because of Yidden - so that they can study Torah and perform Mitzvot in the epitome of completeness. Therefore it is not sufficient that Yidden are not “subservient to (other) sovereignties” (Shibud Malchius). But rather it requires that the entire world be, as it should be – “They should not steal or destroy” – a refined world. And when the world is in this state – it is a proper place for Yidden to serve G-d. And in a completeness such as this, even the nations help the Yidden in all of this, as aforementioned (in par 6).
(According to the second way) one could say that the Geulah that is related to the world is not only a part of the Geulah of Yisroel, but that it is an aspect, in and of itself. This means that in the entire world in each specific part - one discerns the Supernal intent (kavana Elyona), and their creation and redemption is (also) their rectification and refinement, for they also are the creation of G-d.
8. Accordingly, one could say that the two aforementioned explanations:
(Par 1) of: “uproot all the sons of Seth” and similarly (in par 2): “two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.”
correspond to the two aforementioned ways. The issue is whether the “third portion that will remain” also includes the nations of the world or not.
According to the first way that the Geulah of the entire world (including the nations of the world) is a sub-part and is for the benefit of the Geulah of Yisroel, it follows that the existence of the nations of the world, in and of themselves, will be “cut off and expire” - lost. And not just that the ‘nation’ will perish but also the individuals. (And one can find an example of this in Halacha - namely the status of a slave. For a slave is not an entity for himself because everything that a slave acquires belongs to the master).
However, according to the second manner that there is a separate innovation and purpose in their rectification and refinement (not just as a component of the Geulah of Yisroel) it follows that in the Future their existence will not be nullified.
And this rationale in the explanation of: “uproot all the sons of Seth” that Moshiach “will rule over all people” – is that the nations of the world are “considered an entity (metzius)”. Therefore the rulership of Moshiach applies to them, (in and of themselves).
And according to R’ Yochanan (like the first explanation previously cited in Par 2) it also states regarding them: “Their Master is not pleased that you say so of them”. For G-d, who is the “Master” of the nations of the world is “not pleased” that they should not discern the Geulah. Therefore, he states that the nations of the world will also be considered in the “the third shall be left therein.”
9. Accordingly it follows that, in Halacha, according to Rambam and also in Torat HaChasidut, the view is like the aforementioned second explanation:
The Rambam stresses in many places that in the Future, the innovation of Geulah and its aspects will apply to the nations of the world. And in the very beginning he states that this is an independent aspect – not as a component of the Geulah of Yiden. He explains this in two places:
At the end of chapter eleven of Hilchot Melachim:
“He will then rectify the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve G-d together, as it states etc.”
And at the beginning of chapter twelve of Hilchot Melachim:
Israel will dwell securely together with the wicked gentiles etc. They will all return to the true faith and no longer steal or destroy. Rather, they will eat permitted food at peace with Israel”.
Similarly at the end of his book, he states:
“The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d.”
The simple meaning of his words are understood to mean that it also refers to the nations of the world.
One could say that the reason that Rambam holds that the Future Geulah will accomplish an innovation and uplifting of the nations of the world also, independently, is because it follows his (general) viewpoint:
“Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven Mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of 'the pious among the gentiles' and will merit a share in the world to come. This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moses, our teacher”
This means that Matan Torah effected an additional uplifting in the Seven Noachide commandments (which the Bnei Noach were commanded previously), and consequently also in the nature of the nations of the world - Therefore, they have a reward, independently.
This is also understood from the Alter Rebbe’s words in Tanya that:
“Through the superabundance of light (which will shine) upon the Jewish people (in the Future), the darkness of the nations will also be lit up, as it is written: “And nations will walk by your (the Jewish people’s) light” and it is also written that the nations will say to the Jewish people: “House of Jacob, go and we will walk along by the light of G‑d” and again: “And the glory of G‑d shall be revealed, and all flesh will see...” and “to enter the holes of the rocks and the clefts of boulders, for fear of G‑d and of His majestic glory.” This refers to the nations, who will be filled with the dread of G‑d; for it cannot be said of Israel, who will be one with G‑d, that they will seek refuge from Him. So also do we pray: “Appear in the majestic splendor of Your might to all the inhabitants of the world,” (including the other nations)
Since the Alter Rebbe is not satisfied with what he previously wrote:
“For then the physicality of the body and the world will be refined and become able to receive the reveled light of G-d that will shine upon the Jewish people through the Torah which is called strength (oz)”
which implies that the refinement of physicality ( of the body and the world) affects the Yidden in this world, that they should be able to receive the revealed light of G-d,
but added another aspect: “Through the superabundance of light (which will shine) upon the Jewish people (in the Future), the darkness of the nations will also be lit up,” – means that the Alter Rebbe emphasizes, as mentioned previously, that the “the darkness of the nations will also be lit up” is not just a part and component which relates to the uplifting and refinement of Yidden, but rather that it is an aspect which related to the nations of the world , independently.
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