We Are Kings and They Know It

We can try appeasing the nations of the world through politics, and we can try showing that we’re like them socially; but none of this will help. They’ll always be turned off by our kingly essence.

By Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier – The Beis Medrash

After Shechem violated Dina, her brothers Shimon and Levi said that they’d make peace with the people of Shechem if all the men of the city would circumcise themselves, like Yidden do. After they circumcised themselves, Shimon and Levi killed them all, because they were legally responsible for allowing the violation to happen.

Why did they need the people of Shechem to circumcise themselves? Why couldn’t they just kill them?

Reb Yonason Eibeshitz [1] gives a witty answer: How would the world respond if an entire city is killed? It depends. If it’s a city of goyim then the whole world would be in an uproar but if it’s a city of Yidden, R”l, no one would care. Shimon and Levi wanted Shechem to become a city of Yidden.

But why do they hate us?

On Yud Tes Kislev we celebrate the liberation of the Alter Rebbe from prison. It’s known that his imprisonment wasn’t simply a result of certain people’s slander but rather a Heavenly decree for spreading Chassidus. A decree which was eventually overturned.

But there is something very puzzling about this. One of the accusations was that the Alter Rebbe wanted to become a king. If everything that happened was a result of a Heavenly decree and thus has some validity, what kind of truth could there have been to the claim that the Alter Rebbe wanted to be a king?

The truth is that in essence every Yid is a king. By accepting the yoke of Heaven we have the ability to transcend all the yokes of nature. A king may do as he pleases, and likewise a Yid may do as he pleases even when nature dictates otherwise. Keeping Shabbos is naturally a problem for parnassah, but when a Yid keeps Shabbos it helps their parnassah. Eating certain foods may be healthy for a goy, but a Yid can be heathy without eating those non-kosher foods.

The reason we follow dina d’malchusa is not out of fear or reverence, but because the Torah tells us to. Following the law of the land is not a bow to nature but to Hashem. Therefore, if the law threatens Torah, we totally disregard it.

We rule nature, provided we follow Hashem’s Torah. And the greater one’s acceptance of Hashem, the greater one’s rulership is. Therefore, the Alter Rebbe, who certainly excelled in accepting Hashem’s yoke, was very much above nature. He ruled it. A king after all!

It’s natural for servants to despise their master. And this is the ultimate explanation for why goyim hate us. When they see us, they see kings and they can’t tolerate it.

This reality won’t change. We can try appeasing the nations of the world through politics, and we can try showing that we’re like them socially; but none of this will help. Firstly, they’ll always be turned off by our kingly essence. And also, lowering ourselves to the realm of nature won’t help us because naturally they’ll always prevail. Our strength lies only in our ability to be different—to­­ defy them and to defy nature.

We’re witnessing the truth of these ideas in Eretz Yisroel now. Communities of Yidden were wiped out, R”l!, and the world refuses to recognize this. The Israeli government is trying to appease the nations of the world by showing weakness. But this isn’t working.

The message of Yud Tes Kislev is that we must all remember that we are kings. This is why they hate us, and this is why we will, b’ezras Hashem, prevail.[2]

[1] Tiferes Yehonason

[2] Based on sichos from 19 Kislev 5723 and Vayakhel-Pekudei 5720

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