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This week, we read about the Red Heifer purification. The purpose of this reading is to be some sort of preparation for the Passover sacrifice. We read about purification in the Haftarah as well. This is for the sake of being ready to come without impurity to Jerusalem and to learn about the Passover sacrifice. Reading  Parashat Parah, and its Haftarah, is also somewhat of a prayer, that we  become purified before the Redemption, hurriedly in our days.

The Haftarah is so encouraging, that the end is near. It mentions the prophecies that G-d will do in the End of Days for His Nation. וְנָתַתִּ֤י לָכֶם֙ לֵ֣ב חָדָ֔שׁ וְר֥וּחַ חֲדָשָׁ֖ה אֶתֵּ֣ן בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וַהֲסִ֨רֹתִ֜י אֶת־לֵ֤ב הָאֶ֙בֶן֙ מִבְּשַׂרְכֶ֔ם וְנָתַתִּ֥י לָכֶ֖ם לֵ֥ב בָּשָֽׂר: And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. A big win over our Yetzer Harah. The Midrash learns the passuk of having a change of heart, is also a yearly thing. Each year, before Yom Kippur, we will do Teshuva, and G-d will give us a new heart, and put in our hearts His Awe. But at the End of Days, this change of heart and spirit will be on a major scale. This new heart, is a heart that is interested in Torah.

The Malbim explains, the concept of the two, the new heart and the new spirit. What brings one to sin, are these two factors. Heart: brings about an inner force for passion, a want. Spirit on the other hand, is the imagination of these materialistic desires that the heart wants, as greater than they actually are, in a more seductive way.

The reading of the Haftarah is exactly this prayer. We ask G-d to purify us, to give us a new heart, so that we will have passion for doing good things. We also ask G-d that He gives us a new spirit, so that we will imagine the greatness of spirituality. The prophecy tells, that when this will happen, it will be followed by many miracles. Ruach Hakodesh will be given to the entire nation, and we will return to the Holy Land, in such a way, that we will never be exiled.

There will be two purifications, before bringing the Passover sacrifice in the End of Days. A purification of body, through the Red Heifer. And a purification of soul, through Teshuva and prayer.

The prophecy does not end with G-d just giving us a new heart and new spirit, which means we will stop desiring materialistic desires, and start desiring spirituality instead. It does not just end with a new spirit of imagination, of how great spirituality really is and stop imagining falsely the materialistic desires. The passuk adds an additional change in the change of heart. There will be a לב בשר, a heart of flesh, as well. What does that mean, a heart of flesh? Yerushalmi Yoma chapter 4, writes, that this means, each person will be disgusted from what his friend has וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם לֵב בָּשָׂר  שֶׁהוּא בּוֹשֵׂר בְּחֶלְקוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵירוֹ. We will finally be happy with what G-d gives us, and happy with what He does not give us. We will finally, forever, be grateful, as we will be full of Faith.

These three, are the main elements of Teshuva. To undo the desire, to undo the imagination, and to be content with what you have. Each time one sins, he develops a desire, his imagination becomes brighter and more seductive, and his focus shifts from the good he has, to a f.o.m.o., a fear of missing out. Teshuva means, to get back to how you were before the sin, without the force and pull to the Evil. (Beit Halevi Drush 15)

All this change of heart won’t happen alone. It will come in a time that G-d will make the Land beautiful again, and in a time where there will be a lot of Kiddush Hashem to counter the Hillul Hashem, the desecration of G-d’s Name that was done. As the passuk in the Haftarah says: לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֣ר לְבֵֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְקֹוִ֔ק לֹ֧א לְמַעַנְכֶ֛ם אֲנִ֥י עֹשֶׂ֖ה בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּ֤י אִם־לְשֵׁם־קָדְשִׁי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חִלַּלְתֶּ֔ם בַּגּוֹיִ֖ם אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥אתֶם שָֽׁם: G-d needs to make a Kiddush Hashem, in the places of the world that we made a Hillul Hashem. How so?

R’ Elyashiv wrote, that G-d needs to purify His world from the wicked. All the wars, G-d allowed them, for the sake of ridding the Evil doers from the world. יְקֹוָ֖ק אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה G-d says, I made all the wars! (Avodah Zarah 2b) For the meantime, during exile, we turn to Tehillim to find hope. But in the days of Mashiach, we will turn to Tehillim to praise G-d for getting rid of the wicked, and for rewarding the Tzaddikim. As it says, יִתַּ֤מּוּ חַטָּאִ֨ים׀ מִן־הָאָ֡רֶץ וּרְשָׁעִ֤ים׀ ע֤וֹד אֵינָ֗ם בָּרֲכִ֣י נַ֭פְשִׁי אֶת־יְקֹוָ֗ק הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ: All this will be the prerequisite to G-d giving us a new heart and spirit.  (Kobetz Tshubot R’ Elyashiv 5;15) According to this, He made WW2, to get rid of 24 million Russians who died in WW2, 7.7 million Germans, 5.6 million Poland, all for the sake of killing the wicked amongst them. He is making the Ukraine Russia war and October 7th, to get rid of the wicked amongst those who fell.

But what about the righteous who fell? They were given the opportunities to make Kiddush Hashem. There were so many amazing stories of Kiddush Hashem in WW2, in Oct. 7, and in every tragic event in between. This is in lines with the prophecy that G-d will give His people a chance to make a Kiddush Hashem. וְקִדַּשְׁתִּ֞י אֶת־שְׁמִ֣י הַגָּד֗וֹל הַֽמְחֻלָּל֙ בַּגּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר חִלַּלְתֶּ֖ם בְּתוֹכָ֑ם וְיָדְע֨וּ הַגּוֹיִ֜ם כִּי־אֲנִ֣י יְקֹוָ֗ק נְאֻם֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְקֹוִ֔ק בְּהִקָּדְשִׁ֥י בָכֶ֖ם לְעֵינֵיהֶֽם:  All the Kiddush Hashem will happen, in a time, where there are wars.

The second thing that will happen when G-d will give us a good heart, is G-d bringing His people back to the Land of Israel. וְלָקַחְתִּ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ מִן־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם וְקִבַּצְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מִכָּל־הָאֲרָצ֑וֹת וְהֵבֵאתִ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֶל־אַדְמַתְכֶֽם: And then, we will finally be able to dwell in the Holy Land with a relationship with G-d,   וִישַׁבְתֶּ֣ם בָּאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תִּי לַאֲבֹֽתֵיכֶ֑ם וִהְיִ֤יתֶם לִי֙ לְעָ֔ם וְאָ֣נֹכִ֔י אֶהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶ֖ם לֵאלֹקיםBut that will only happen, while something else, the most ironic thing, will happen.

To show you how ironic it is, I have to share first the following with you. Mark Twain wrote in the bestselling book he ever sold in his lifetime, Innocents Abroad, about the Holy Land, when he visited it in 1867, with a number of Christians:  Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince…  Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone… Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise?… Palestine is no more of this work-day world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition — it is dream-land. It seems to me that all the races and colors and tongues of the earth must be represented among the fourteen thousand souls that dwell in Jerusalem. Rags, wretchedness, poverty and dirt… abound.

The population of the entire Palestine in the 1860s was only 350,000; compare that to today’s 9.5 million. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are from the most expensive cities in the world to live in. According to Israeli daily business newspaper The Marker, Israel has seventy-one billionaires as of 2021, with one of the highest per capita rates in the world, at 6.7 billionaires for every million people. Israel’s modern infrastructure is rivaling many Western countries, and it has a high-technology sector competitively on par with Silicon Valley. It has the second-largest number of startup companies in the world after the United States, and the third-largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies after the U.S. and China. American companies, such as Intel, Microsoft, and Apple, built their first overseas research and development facilities in Israel.

The passuk says, in our Haftarah, prophecies that will come to true that defy all logic and are against all odds, and we are seeing them unravel in front of our eyes, after 2000 years. וְקָרָ֤אתִי אֶל־הַדָּגָן֙ וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֣י אֹת֔וֹ וְלֹא־אֶתֵּ֥ן עֲלֵיכֶ֖ם רָעָֽב:   I will call to the grain and will multiply it, and I will not decree famine again over you. And then,  וְהִרְבֵּיתִי֙ אֶת־פְּרִ֣י הָעֵ֔ץ וּתְנוּבַ֖ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה לְמַ֗עַן אֲ֠שֶׁר לֹ֣א תִקְח֥וּ ע֛וֹד חֶרְפַּ֥ת רָעָ֖ב בַּגּוֹיִֽם: And I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you shall no more have to accept the shame of famine among the nations. Agriculture in Israel is a highly developed industry. Israel is an exporter of fresh produce and a leader in agricultural technologies.

And then, וְהָאָ֥רֶץ הַנְּשַׁמָּ֖ה תֵּֽעָבֵ֑ד תַּ֚חַת אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָיְתָ֣ה שְׁמָמָ֔ה לְעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־עוֹבֵֽר: And the desolate land shall be worked, instead of its lying desolate in the sight of all that pass by. וְאָמְר֗וּ הָאָ֤רֶץ הַלֵּ֙זוּ֙ הַנְּשַׁמָּ֔ה הָיְתָ֖ה כְּגַן־עֵ֑דֶן וְהֶעָרִ֧ים הֶחֳרֵב֛וֹת וְהַֽנְשַׁמּ֥וֹת וְהַנֶּהֱרָס֖וֹת בְּצוּר֥וֹת יָשָֽׁבוּ: And they shall say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden, and the cities that were destroyed and desolate and pulled down have become settled as fortified cities.’ וְיָדְע֣וּ הַגּוֹיִ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִֽשָּׁאֲרוּ֘ סְבִיבוֹתֵיכֶם֒ כִּ֣י׀ אֲנִ֣י יְקֹוָ֗ק בָּנִ֙יתִי֙ הַנֶּ֣הֱרָס֔וֹת נָטַ֖עְתִּי הַנְּשַׁמָּ֑ה אֲנִ֥י יְקֹוָ֖ק דִּבַּ֥רְתִּי וְעָשִֽׂיתִי: And the nations that are left round about you shall know that I, YKVK, have built up the ruined places and have planted the desolate ones; I, YKVK, have spoken, and I will perform .

What did you say, Mark Twain, that the land was desolate? Look at how fast G-d turned all that around!

The Rambam writes, תשע פרות אדומות נעשו משנצטוו במצווה זו עד שחרב הבית בשניה. ראשונה עשה משה רבנו, שנייה עשה עזרא, ושבע מעזרא עד חורבן הבית. והעשירית יעשה המלך המשיח מהרה יגלה, אמן כן יהי רצון 9 Red Heifers were done from the time of the commandment until the destruction of the Second Temple. The first, by Moshe. The second by Ezra. From Ezra, until the Destruction of the Second Temple, 7 were done. The Tenth Heifer, Mashiach will do, hurriedly in our days. (Rambam Parah Adumah 3) On August 2018, a Red Heifer was born in Israel. On September 2022 there were five Red Heifers flown into Israel from Texas, that are being protected in Bet Shan. Although Mashiach will come in the year after Shemita (Megila 17b), which is the year that we are in now, and although we have the Red Heifer, we still can’t do the purification on Har Hamishcah which is Har Hazeitim. We first need Mashiach, the Bet Hamikdash to be built, and we need a Kohen Gadol.

But still, all the seemingly impossible prophecies are coming true, in front of our eyes!  Ask anyone who is working in Kiruv. I work in Lev Aharon, and we saw an amazing year, with boys turning around, one of Lev Aharon’s best years. Boys are not interested in their past lives, and they have renewed spiritual flames in their hearts.

May Hashem answer our prayers this week, Parashat Parah, and bring us the Final Purification.

About the author, Yosef

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