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Adam Gross

Chatam Sofer on Jewish Unity (Parshat Masai)

Chatam Sofer to Parshat Masai, as quoted from Vedibarta Bam by R Moshe Bogomilsky:

“Hashem told the prophet Hoshea, “Ephraim is united in idol-worship, let him alone” (Hosea 4:17). From this our sages (Bereishit Rabbah 38:6) derive that the power of peace and unity is so great that even when the Jewish people sin, if unity prevails, G‑d does not rebuke or punish them.

[Noting the journeys of the Children of Israel as per Numbers 33:25-26], the word “chareidah” in Hebrew means “fear” (see Bereishit 26:33). The word “makheilot” can be associated with the word “hakheil,” which means “gather together” and the word “tachat” can mean “lowering down.” Thus, the Torah is teaching us that “vayise’u meichareidah” — the Jewish people can journey away and not have to fear retribution for their iniquities if “vayachanu bemakheilot” — they are encamped in unity.

However, if “vayise’u mimakheilot” — they journey away from their unity — and disharmony and animosity prevails, then “vayachanu betachat” — they will be encamped at a lower level — and, G‑d forbid, they will be punished for any iniquities which were previously not taken into consideration.”

About the Author
Adam Gross, an Oxford-educated strategist, has over 20 years' experience solving complex problems in the international arena for United Nations agencies, international financial institutions, private sector, NGOs and social enterprises across Europe, Africa and Asia. Adam made aliyah with his family in 2019 to live in northern Israel.
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