Parshat Bechukotai: The correct way for a Jew to pursue their enemies

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Parshat Bechukotai

Parshat Bechukotai: The Jewish way to pursue our enemies

Moharanat (Rav Natan of Breslov) explains (in Pidyon Bachor, Halacha 5:13) about “You will pursue your enemies etc” (Parshat Bechukotai).

Is this really the purpose of Am Yisrael, the holy nation, that we will ‘pursue your enemies, and they will fall before you by the sword etc,’ to take vengeance and spill blood, God forbid?!

After all, doesn’t God seek peace for His nation, and doesn’t He bless His people with peace?

Isn’t it enough that we received His blessing to have peace in Eretz Yisrael, why do we need to ‘pursue our enemies’?

All the worlds were created solely to know Hashem

Really it’s known that all the worlds were only created in order for their inhabitants to know and recognize Hashem Yitbarach, as is brought down in the Zohar. And even more so, that everything was only created on behalf of Am Yisrael, that received God’s Torah, which contains the holy daat (spiritual knowledge) that will enable us to be able to know and recognize Hashem Yitbarach.

And so, all the greatness and rulership is truly only fitting for Am Yisrael, who do God’s will, and who merited to this daat, that only because of this the whole world was created. And so, only they can really be called ‘Adam’, man, as our rabbis have explained.

Because anyone who does not have this knowledge [of Hashem], he’s really only an animal in the shape of a man.[1]

We are obligated to ‘civilize’ the world

That’s why each person is obligated to busy himself with the mitzvah of ‘civilizing’ the world, meaning that he has to share this true daat, or knowledge of Hashem with others, which is the essence of the mitzvah to populate the world, as our rabbis explain.

When Israel merits to do Hashem’s will, then they are obliged to use all of their strength to share this knowledge with the nations of the world, as it’s written: ‘tell the nations of His glory’, etc, and in many other verses besides.

Israel’s true holy war

This is the holy war that Israel is commanded to undertake, everything is only in order to restore the truth, and to acknowledge that Hashem – He is Elokim! This is the true purpose. And this is the essential meaning of the guarantee that we will ‘pursue our enemies’ etc….

This pursuit is the basis of true peace, because as long as people don’t merit to follow the Torah, and don’t do Hashem’s will, God forbid, and they don’t turn their backs on their sins, and they continue to blemish [their souls], God forbid, then even if it seems they have a lot of ‘peace’, really he has no peace at all.

Because God says there can be no peace for evildoers.

A person can’t have peace with others if he isn’t at peace with himself

For as long as he’s not doing good deeds, and acting according to Hashem’s will, how is it possible that there could be real peace?! He doesn’t even have ‘peace’ within himself!

This is the aspect of ‘pursue your enemies’, that when we do the will of Hashem Yitbarach, then it’s a mitzvah to run after our enemies, in order to bring them closer to the truth, which is really the essence of peace….

And then our enemies will fall before us in their ruin, by way of our prayers and requests [for them to make teshuva] which they call ‘destruction’….

And five will chase a hundred…

And this is what it means “five of you will pursue a hundred”. Rashi explains that they will fall before you in a way in an unnatural way. But only if you are true soldier who will be part of a holy government, that will know the [spiritual truth about Hashem] very strongly. Because ultimately, this true truth will be revealed…

And then it’s obvious that the five people who are clinging on to this truth will have the strength to chase after a hundred, to chase after them with true words, and with requests [to make teshuva] and to return to Hashem Yitbarach, which are from the aspect of ruin, and from the aspect of the true weapons of Am Yisrael.

Until we conquer them! And impart this true daat to them, and then after that 100 of them will chase after myriads in turn, as it’s written in the Torah.

Translated and adapted from Aish Moharan, Rav Berland’s commentary on the Parsha of the week.

[1] Rebbe Nachman elucidates this idea more in his works, including Likutey Moharan.

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