Benzi’s latest “Behind the Flames” column in the Shabbat weekly Matzav HaRuach:
In this week’s Torah portion, we learn of the well-known negotiations being conducted between Efron the Hittite and Avraham Avinu on the sale of the Cave of Machpela to bury Sarah. After the negotiations end and Avraham and Efron reach an agreement on the cost of the place, the verse says: “And Efron’s field, which was in Machpela facing Mamre: The field and the cave within it, and all the trees in the field, with all its surrounding boundaries, was confirmed…”
What is the meaning of “And Efron’s field was confirmed”? Rashi explains there: “It (the field) received a rise in importance because it passed from the possession of a commoner into the possession of a king”. Avraham was really not a king, but he was certainly a son of a king – he is Avraham HaIvri who had begun to spread the news of Hashem in the world. So his moniker of “king” points to his value and importance to Efron, who was a gentile. With the transfer of ownership of the Cave of Machpela from Efron the gentile to Avraham the Hebrew, the Jew, the field of the cave was praised.
To our great misfortune, in our current lives, in the day-to-day activities of the Lehava organization, we frequently encounter cases that are the opposite of this. These cases, illustrating “he had a bad fall”; are cases of the sale of Jewish homes in the Land of Israel to gentiles. This is not about a one-time case, or even dozens of cases, but many hundreds of them.
Aside from the fact that this is forbidden by the Torah “you shall not show compassion”, the sale of Jewish homes to gentiles, most of them Arabs, and most of them taking place within concentrations of Jews, constitutes fertile ground for an outbreak of the virus of assimilation of the worst kind. It’s inevitable, and this is the nature of the world: Jews and non-Jews living together causes a sharp rise in the scope of mixed marriages. This is also the reason that among American Jews, and in general, in all the concentrations of Jews in the exile, the percentage of assimilation is especially high, and surging every year.
From a legal standpoint, absurdly, not much can currently be done on this subject. Until the religious and Charedi MKs wake up (and we’ll use this platform to call upon them to do so and to find a solution for the problem), we will say what can be done, and that is to increase ways to explain and publicize the problem: To insist on the severity of the prohibition of “Do not show compassion”, which to our great misfortune, so many religious and Charedi families fall on this issue more than once as a result of greed that’s hard to resist. Every Jew who sells his home to a gentile, particularly to a gentile who is part of a nation with whom the Jewish people are at war, a war drenched in blood for over 100 years, must know: He does earn lots of money from selling his property, and maybe even dozens of percentages over the original value. But he most likely will certainly be party to the next case of assimilation. Can his conscience bear this? What will he answer on the day he’s rebuked?
This Shabbat, Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah, which we usually celebrate with the participation of tens of thousands of Jews in the City of our Forefathers, we are celebrating in a limited capacity in order to preserve our lives, and we pray that we will merit a Jewish revival only in the Land of Israel, on the way to the Final Redemption.
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LEHAVA - Preventing Asimilation
In light of the growing severity of assimilation in the country, several community organizations have focused their energy, for many years, to save Jewish girls. We have established an organization named Lehava which fights assimilation in the Holy Land. Together, the experienced leadership of Lehava has made it their mission to reach these girls, before they reach villages and are gone.