Noach /Haftorah for Rosh Chodesh – The Pintele Yid

This Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan on which we read a special haftorah from the last chapter of Yeshaya. Most of the haftorah depicts the end of days, after Moshiach reveals himself and Yerushalayim  is rebuilt with the Beis HaMikdash, and many non-Jews will bring the Jewish people back from exile, with honor, up to Yerushalayim. However, there will be one f(r)action who will rise up to attack the Jewish people in Yerushalayim, who will then fall in a blazing storm of fire and brimstone as a show of Hashem’s awesome might and power. The war, the war of Gog and Magog, is depicted in a number of places in Navi including Zecharya, Yechezkel, and the last chapter of Yeshaya.
After the great fall of Gog and Magog, the survivors of the war will spread out to the corners of the earth to publicize Hashem’s sovereignty and bring everyone else, including lost, assimilated Jews, up to Yerushalayim to proclaim Hashem’s Majesty and Oneness over the entire world. Yeshaya says: “And they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a tribute to the Lord, with horses and chariots, and with covered wagons and with mules, and with joyous songs upon My holy mount, Yerushalayim, says the Lord, as the Children of Israel bring the offering in a pure vessel to the house of the Lord. And from them too will I take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord” (Yeshaya 66:20, 21).

The Radak explains that even those Jews who will be entrenched in the ways of the gentiles, living on far off islands to the point that they forgot their roots and did not return from exile with the rest of the Jewish people -  still in all Hashem will take them to be Kohanim and Leviim for they are already from the family of Koheins and Levis. He will take the Koheins to serve as kohanim before Him and the Levis to serve as Leviim to sing and play musical instruments. The Radak goes on to quote from our sages that when Hashem says “I will also take from amongst them…” They [the gentiles] will bring them and their gifts, amongst them will be a Yisrael, a Kohen, and a Levi.For example, if they were sold into slavery and  forgot their roots, and were forced to be assimilated amongst the gentiles, Rebbe Eliezer says that also from them I will take. For they will bring them to the King Moshiach anyone who had amongst them a Yisrael, Kohen or Levi, I will also take them from amongst. those who came and who were brought. (Click here for Hebrew text.)

The Metzudas Dovid points out that these Jews must have some proof that they are Jewish, having come from a Jewish mother. Whether they are aware of this or someone else knows that their mother’s mother was Jewish, whatever the case,  they  must be authentic Jews. However, once that is determinedand Eliyahu HaNavi identifies that they have Kohen or Levite lineage (which means their father was a Kohen or Levi), they will then  serve in the Beis Hamikdash like any other devout Kohen or Levi.

Imagine Zeeks, the heavy metal rock star from Australia, with piercings all over his body, totally assimilated into the Australian pop culture, dragged to Jerusalem, being told he was not only a Jew but a Levite and his Jewish nation just became rulers of the entire world with The King Moshiach at their helm, with everyone bowing down to The King Almighty Master of the Universe. He now has the chance to sing praises to Hashem in the Beis HaMikdash with all the other Leviim. Or imagine Jonathan the fisherman, who has a knife collection and loves to hunt and fish off the shores of Alaska. Living amongst the Alaskan Eskimos whom he befriended, living off of fresh bear meat and fish. Now he is told he is Jewish and is brought to Jerusalem, bringing gifts before Hashem andsanctifying His Holy Name. Eliyahu HaNavi identifies him as a Kohen and he is now assigned to be part of the rotation to serve in the Beis HaMikdash.

The Beis HaMikdash, a place which one could be executed for stepping into in a state of  impurity. It is a place of the highest degree of holiness, the focal point of where Hashem’s Divine Presence will rest, speedily in our days. The service in the Beis HaMikdash must be done with the utmost of purity and to the most minute degrees of perfection, with not even  a wayward thought crossing one’s mind, lest it affect  the offering. Certainly every action must be meticulous and done with the utmost concentration and fear of Hashem; yet, a Kohen or Levi who until now has been totally assimilated into the gentile physical world, the antithesis of purity and Jewish Law, will now come and serve in the Beis HaMikdash, either to sing and play instruments amongst the Leviim if he is a Levi, or to perform the services like bringing the offerings in the Beis Hamikdash, on the alter itself (of course after he is purified and taught what to do)? One would think these services would only be reserved for those of utmost holiness, those who spent their whole life yearning for this day to come! The ones who looked forward to and prepared themselves for the Final Redemption and the rebuilding of Beis HaMikdash. Once Moshiach comes, only people ingrained with deep levels of fear in Hashem and a lifelong wealth of knowledge of how to serve Him should be deserving of participating in such pristine holiness and divine service.Yet we are taught here that even one who was totally lost from the guild and engrossed in a mode of life far from holiness will be accepted with open arms to play his role in serving Hashem as anyone else in the Beis HaMikdash. How can this be?

We see from here that no matter how far gone a Jew is from Judaism he is still a Jew, and if he is a Levi or a Kohen he is still a Levi or a Kohen, and nothing can take that away. No matter what he has done in his life he still has the potential to reach the greatest heights and to reconnect with Hashem on the highest levels. No matter how delicate and sensitive the service, he has the potential to perform that service just as well as anyone who grew up preparing and working on themselves for that very opportunity. This is what he was born to do, it’s inside him. It just has to be unleashed or revealed. G-D willing, may all Jews come together and witness this incredible experience speedily in our days!