Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bereishit - For the Sake of Israel

We learn in the very first word of the first chapter of the Torah, Bereishit, that the world (and everything in it) was created B' Reishit, for the sake of Reishit (the first). Reishit, the first is the Land of Israel, and the Torah and the Jewish people. 
While reading the Artscroll Torah Treasury today, I came upon a marvelous comment.
"When the train tracks from St. Petersurg, Russia to Berlin were built, R' Chaim Soloveitchik commented, 'This train line was built for the yeshivah students so that traveling to Volozhin be made easier. Everything in t he world is for Torah and those who learn it.'
His son, the Brisker Rav, continued with his father's perspective. 'Over a period of decades, the cruel czars of Russia had the peasants lay the Trans-Siberian railway. Fantastic amounts of money and a great many lives were invested in order to run the railway through the most inhospitable parts of Siberia all the way to the port at Vladivostok which faces toward Japan and the Far East. At the time, the project seemed to make no sense and many wondered exactly why it was done. Only years later, when the students of the Mirrer Yeshivah escaped the European inferno and arrived in Shanghai, China, by way of Siberia and the Trans-Siberian railway did the whole thing become clear. The railway, and all the funds and labor that went into it,w ere justified for it was for the sake of Torah and the Jews that G-d created the world and its history.

All this made me think of Jerusalem's Light Rail System. Launched in 1995, the Light Rail was to debut many times over the years, but was delayed again and again. The signs are still up in places proclaiming the scheduled completion of the Light Rail in 2008. Meanwhile after 16 years and 3.8 billion NIS the Light Rail is finally running and will go all the way to the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
I guess the time was not yet right to start the train to the Old City over the past few years, but it's right now. Meshiach is very close, BE"H, and so is the rebuilding of Our Holy Temple. When the Temple is rebuilt and the Jewish people begin their visits to Bet HaMikdash by the hundreds of thousands and even millions, surely traffic will be bumper-to-bumper-impossible in Jerusalem. We will need the Light Rail, IY"H, to bring us quickly and comfortably to the Holy Temple.
Perhaps those who planned the Jerusalem Light Rail thought it would be provide faster, less polluting transportation to the Holy City. But when the time comes, IY"H, may it be soon, everyone will understand that the Light Rail was created to make transportation to the rebuilt Third Temple more accessible.
Everything was created for the sake of Hashem's "first" - Am Yisrael, Torat Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael.
May the Temple be rebuilt speedily in our day.

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