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Rabbi Yehuda Teriki said the following, wild story. There was a couple that lived in London. They brought up their only child with love. When their son became of marriageable age, they set him up with the greatest, sweetest, girl. The couple, together, bought a home and settled down.

A year passed, and then another, and another, … and the young couple still were not able to bear a child. Ten years passed, and they still did not merit to be parents. The couple loved each other very much, and they decided that they would never separate, even if they would not have children. But the pressure from some family members was too much for them to bear, and they went for a divorce. Their pain was enormous. Their friends and families supported them through the difficult procedure, consoling them that the day will come when they will both be parents, each one building their own home.

Suddenly, the great, bittersweet news came.  A mere few weeks after the divorce, the wife discovered that she was pregnant! As sweet as the news was, it was so, so bitter! The husband was a Kohen, and a Kohen cannot marry a divorced woman, under any circumstances! He could not take his divorced wife back as a wife! The husband was so broken, as he said, repeatedly, “Life would better, if it would be over!”

He went to Israel, to get away, to maybe clear his mind. He went to the Kotel. He stood by the big stones, and he cried out, “Tatte! Tatte! Why?!? Why?!?”

There was a fellow Jew there at the Wall, that heard the cries, and approached him. He tried to calm this broken man, and offered his help. The husband replied, “No one can help me!” The man said, “I head you cry out Tatte, Father! Where is your father? What does he say about your situation?”

The broken new father-Kohen said, “My father is very sick, he is hospitalized in a hospital in London, on his death bed. I did not want to involve him in my pain and my choices. I was afraid the pain might kill him. I never told my father what I am going through…”

The man at the Wall told him, “But how can you not visit your dying father??”

The divorced husband thought to himself, that maybe this is a sign from Heaven. “Hashem brought this man in order to give me the message, that the right thing, is to visit my father! Better I should visit him before he dies…”

When he got back to London, that was the first thing he did. He entered the hospital room of his dying father, and hugged him, as he burst out into bitter tears. The father patted his son on the cheek, and said, “Son, don’t cry!”

The son said, “How can I not cry, if my whole world is falling apart!?!”

The father asked what the son was talking about… The son could not hold back, and he told his father all that had happened… “My wife finally became pregnant, but this news is bitter as much as it is sweet, because she became pregnant… after I divorced her! She is no longer my wife!”

The father looked at his crying son in the eye for a while, and then finally said, “Marry her again! It is no problem!”

The son began to realize that his father’s mind was no longer with him. “But Tatte, it is forbidden for a Kohen to marry a divorced woman!”

The father started to choke with tears… “I tried to keep the secret from you my whole life, and take it with me to the grave… But it seems that, from Heaven, I am being forced to tell you… Your mother and I,…(tears in father’s eye well up, as he pauses a long pause,) we were a couple that had no children, and we decided to adopt you as our son… You are not a Kohen, and you are allowed to remarry your divorced wife and build your new home…

With those last words, the father closed his eyes and returned his soul to his Creator… The adopted son did the research, and found, that this was really the case, and of course, you know the ending. They lived happily ever after. I love endings like that.

I have been having internet problems at home; my Zoom was not working steadily, and my virtual sessions, kept becoming disrupted.  I invited the Bezeq internet guy, an irreligious man, to see if there was a way he could fix my connections. We started discussing the hostages and the situation in Israel, as a group of hostage family members slept right outside my home for the night in tents. Aryeh Deri is my neighbor, and they wanted to make a point, that the government should not rest in their mission of returning the hostages to their families. I had just gotten home from bringing the hostage family members a box of cookies and offering them scrambled eggs… That is when the Bezeq technician, started telling me how, since the Oct. 7th he is living an unsettled life. “I can’t rely on this government to protect me; I can’t rely on the army to protect me. Someone from the inside must have let the massacre happen! It all makes no sense!”

I told him I am not here in Israel because I feel it is safe to be here. I never relied on the government or army. I am here, because I am part of the Chosen Nation, and the merit of living in Israel, even though it is sometimes so difficult to live here. I just had thoughts recently of returning to U.S.A, but my mother in New Jersey told me, “Yosef! If you come back here, you are going in the wrong direction! All the antisemitism here, the college campus Pro Pal protests… America is over, and many people here, want to move to Israel!”

The non-religious Israeli technician tells me, “If so, what do I gain that G-d chose us as His Nation, if wherever we are, we are unsafe? Let him choose someone else, for a change!”

I felt so bad for this man. I at least have a reason to be here. This man is in a Land, where now, he has no reason to be! His whole life anchor/belief system, sunk!

Some of my hardest coaching sessions were coaching Kohanim who were limited in the dating market, and could not marry divorced women. Similarly, they felt, “Why did G-d have to choose me, to be a Kohen?”

Well, just like the father of the Kohen was able to help his son, at the end, with just one, small piece of information, so too, G-d will help all those who are stuck, in the end, with just one small, unexpected reality. Allow me to explain.

The midrash tells us why G-d chose specifically, the Ox/ Bull/ Cow, the Sheep, and the Goat, as the ONLY animals that He will accept as a sacrifice. The Passuk in Kohelet says, וְהָאֱלֹהִ֖ים יְבַקֵּ֥שׁ אֶת־נִרְדָּֽף And the Elokim, He will seek out the one who is being chased! (Kohelet 3 15) So too regarding Korbanot/sacrifices, the Bull is chased by the Lion, the Sheep is chased by the Wolf, and the Goat is chased by Leopard. (For this reason, there are shepherds and cowboys, to protect these animals…)  G-d said, I only want these three brought before Me as sacrifice! Only from those that are chased, and not from those animals that chase others…

The Midrash explains that G-d always seeks those who are being chased, as we find that Kayin chased Hevel, and G-d accepted Hevel’s sacrifice. Noach was chased by the people of his generation, Avraham was chased by Nimrod, Yitzhak was chased by the Pelishtim, Yaakov was chased by Esav, Yosef was chased by his brothers, Moshe was chased by Pharoah, David was chased by Shaul, AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE ARE CHASED BY THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD!!!

Being chased and being chosen, according to Judaism, are one and the same, something we can learn from the Rambam. The Rambam in his letter of Iggeret Teiman, addresses the suffering and resilience of the oppressed Jewish People of Yemen and of the oppressed Jews in general. The Torah compares the Jews to the Dust of the Earth. וְהָיָ֤ה זַרְעֲךָ֙ כַּעֲפַ֣ר הָאָ֔רֶץ  This metaphor suggests, that the although the Jews are as low as the Dust, as we are trampled upon by all the nations, in the end, the Jews will persevere and overpower. Just like the Dust, in the end of one’s life, is put on top of those who trampled on it, at burial! The Jewish people will always be “successfully” picked on and persecuted by the Gentiles! But in the end, G-d will always cure their pain and save them, and lift them above their enemies… (Iggeret Teiman) Just like G-d choses the animals that are chased to serve Him, so too, G-d chooses the Jews who are chased, to be His people, and He will always bring us out on top, in the end.

I had a crazy idea though. We are all being chased by our Yetzer Hara, our Evil Inclination. Too often, the Y. Hara is able to get us to fail our spiritual tests. There are three types of sin. חטא is a sin that a person is not aware that he is doing something wrong. עבירה is a sin where a person knows that he is doing something wrong, but he can’t stop himself from transgressing. עון is when someone sins intentionally.

Whenever G-d wants to bestow goodness on someone, theשטן , Satan, says to G-d, Are you going to give him all this goodness for nothing special he did? Test him first! And the Satan goes, taking with him the keys of temptation, and he seduces this person into spiritually self-destructive behavior. That is why he is called שטן המשחית  (Rokeach) In the end, though, just as fast as the illusioned Kohen realized that he was just lacking some information, to solve his problem, so too, we will realize the same. Whether we are chased physically or spiritually, G-d will always help us, in the end, to come out on top, and it will all seem so simple in the End, with a happy ending.

About the author, Yosef

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