Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Congregation Beth Abraham of Bergenfield hosted Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon on Sunday, April 11, as part of the Mizrachi360 Program. Through this initiative, more than 360 Jewish communities worldwide will be hosting inspiring Israeli Torah scholars and speakers during the month of Iyar to mark Israel’s 73rd anniversary. Rav Rimon addressed the virtual audience on the topic of “Reishit Tzemichat Geulateinu.”

Through his timely topic of “Reishit Tzemichat Geulaeinu,” the first flowerings of our redemption, Rav Rimon inspired his audience in advance of celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut on the fifth of Iyar, this year observed on Thursday, April 15, the third of Iyar. In opening his address, Rav Rimon posed a question that often comes up as we read the Haggadah on Seder night. If the Jews were informed prior to their exodus from Egypt that they would be leaving in haste, b’chipazon, why does the account of their actual leaving in a rush seem to be spontaneous and the cause for not having time for their matzahs to rise? Weren’t they warned in advance of the need to rush and given the opportunity to prepare in advance for their baking?

Rav Rimon shared a Mechilta on Parshat Bo that suggests that it was not the rushing of the nation that is being referred to but the chipazon, rushing, of the Shechina. Citing the phrase from Shir Hashirim that describes the beloved one as “leaping upon the mountains and skipping upon the hills,” Rav Rimon offered the Maharal’s suggestion that the Exodus from Egypt was conducted on a higher than natural plane, not within the natural confines of time. The Exodus was above time and out of nature. That is why the bread did not have time to rise and the Korban Pesach was eaten in haste. Rav Kook offered that the entire redemption from Egypt was carried out by Hashem as a unique and one-time experience, never to be repeated or duplicated.

Rav Rimon contrasted our current journey to redemption as a slower-paced process alluded to in Sefer Yeshayahu 52:12, “For you shall not go out with haste nor go by flight.” Here again the term chipazon, haste, is used but we are told that we will not proceed in haste as we did when leaving Egypt. The next redemption, geula, will be a long and slow process within nature, featuring many ups and downs. As opposed to the swiftness of the first geula when we were brought instantly to a recognition of Hashem as our king and king of the world, future redemptions will be slow and within the realms of nature and normalcy.

However, offered Rav Rimon, as we journey to our next redemption, we are witnessing periods of great achievement such as the establishment of Medinat Yisrael, the flourishing of Torah and Yahadut within the state, and the establishment of an unparalleled IDF protecting its citizens. They are the first flowerings of our redemption. Yet these manifestations will appear over time in waves. Citing once again from Shir Hashirim 2:9, “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young heart,” the analogy of our current redemption is to a deer that flits in and out, comes in waves, sometimes with high points and other times with disappointments.

Rav Rimon concluded his presentation with an inspirational chasidic story. Before the establishment of the state, the son of the Sadigura Rebbe came to his father and asked, “When will our redemption come?” The Rebbe responded that the Shechina will return to us through 10 journeys. The son asked, “And which journey are we up to now?” The Rebbe responded, “We are up to the height of our heads.” The son was puzzled. “So why can we still not see the Shechina?” The Rebbe responded, “Because we are still bent.”

Rav Rimon prayed, “Let it be the will of Hashem that we be able to stand up straight and walk tall so that we may see the Shechina from an upright posture, b’koma zekufa. And indeed we already have reason to stand tall as our IDF is one of the finest, our high-tech innovations well exceed larger countries, and our advances in medicine including recent vaccinations against COVID are unequalled.”

Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon is a prolific Torah scholar and educator. His many popular works on halacha take the learner from the primary sources to the current practical applications of halacha in our modern reality and within the framework of a user-friendly, pedagogical methodology. Serving as the rav of Alon Shvut South, Rav Rimon is also the rosh yeshiva of the Lev Academic Center of Jerusalem’s prestigious Jerusalem College of Technology. In addition he is the founder and chairman of Sulamot, a highly recognized educational resource organization that disseminates educational materials geared toward the teaching of halacha in schools throughout Israel and the USA. In 2005, after the unfortunate disengagement of the residents of Gush Katif, Rav Rimon founded Jobkatif in an effort to assist the displaced residents in rebuilding their lives and regaining employment.