Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Afflicted and Riding on an Ass

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is submissive, and yet he promises salvation, afflicted and riding on an ass, even upon a colt, the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)

Submissive, and yet he promises salvation describes the Messiah, for when they laughed at Him while He sat in prison, he submitted for the sake of Israel to the judgment imposed upon Him, and is therefore properly called submissive.  Why is He spoken of as yet he promises salvation?  Because after submitting to the judgment for their sake, He said: All of you deserve extermination; nevertheless, you will be saved . . . by the mercy of the Holy One, blessed be He.

Afflicted and He is riding upon an ass describes the Messiah.  And why is He called afflicted?  Because He was afflicted during all His years in prison while the transgressors in Israel laughed at Him.

Why does the Scripture say riding upon an ass?  The ass represents the wicked who have no merit of their own . . . but through the merit of the Messiah, the Holy One, blessed be He, guides them in a straight way, and redeems them, as it is written: They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them; I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born (Jer. 31:9)  [Pesikta Rabbati, 34:1-2].

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Y'shua sent two talmidim, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her.  Loose them and bring them to Me. "And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The L-rd has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."  

All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on an ass, a colt, the foal of a donkey.' "  So the talmidim went and did as Y'shua commanded them.  They brought the ass and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.  

And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the L-RD!' Hosanna in the highest!"  And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?" (Matthew 21:1-10)

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