Friday, July 25, 2014

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The Jews Stand Alone

by Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier of The Beis Midrash

We are all well aware of the seriousness of the current situation in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). Even those of us outside Eretz Yisrael are experiencing frustration and sadness. But when and how will it end?

Been There; Done Otherwise

This week's parsha (Torah portion read for this week) seems to sum up the current situation perfectly. Before the Jews entered Eretz Yisroel, Hashem (G-d) defined the precise boundaries of the Land. But first He commanded:

You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it...But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.

Some observations:

  • How would the politically-minded people of today have reacted to Hashem's command to clear the land? But Hashem knows what works and what doesn't, and the same principle applies to the terrorists who threaten Eretz Yisroel today. There's no question that stopping short of destroying all terrorists will, G-d forbid, come back to haunt us. We must finish the job we started. The Rebbe made the very same point by illustrating Israel's failure to do so during the Yom Kippur war and the campaign of Shalom Hagalil. We must learn, once and for all: clear the land from our enemies.[1]

  • We see time and again that we're alone in the world. The Torah says that our enemies "will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides." Our enemies may be despicable terrorists who draw up plans of mass terrorist attacks. They may be villains who use humans as shields and spend humanitarian funds to dig terror tunnels. But the world doesn't rush to see it that way. We're left to deal with them on our own. Our enemies remain spikes in our eyes and thorns in our sides, not the world's. And this will persist for as long as terrorist are around. Shying away from action until the world comes around won't work; it'll always remain our pain and our responsibility.

  • "They will harass you in the land in which you settle." To our enemies, it's not enough that we give them parts of our land; they want to harass us in our own cities as well. They constantly demand that we give them more.[2] In fact, they don't want us to exist altogether, and they will continue to act this way as long as they exist.

  • We have two kinds of enemies, spikes and thorns. Spikes are the overt enemies, the ones who commit terrorist acts against us or openly support those who do. But then there are the thorns. They are the nations who present themselves as peace-makers, when in reality they have only their own agendas in mind.[3] These thorns also try to isolate us from the rest of the world. As Rashi explains, "the commentators interpret this in the sense of a hedge of thorns which will surround you, fencing you in and confining you so that none can leave or enter."

  • The Torah first tells us that Hashem is giving us the Land, and then identifies its boundaries. We must make it clear to the world that a) this land is ours for one reason only: Hashem gave it to us, and b) every inch of the land is holy and must remain in our controlled territory.

Enough is Enough!

Addressing the Shalom Hagalil campaign, the Rebbe said: so many Jewish soldiers have sacrificed their lives fighting to protect Eretz Yisroel. We must see to it that the job is completed, for if it's not, their self-sacrifice will have been in vain, G-d forbid!

We laud Prime Minister Netanyahu for his strong stance until now, and we pray that he follow the Torah's directive, finishing the job he began, making decisions based on security advantage rather than political advantage. The political world never did and never will want to understand us.

As for us

What can we do to help? Social media has become a major and influential component in the current crisis. People sitting in the comfort of their homes and offices can make commotions which reverberate across the globe. This reminds us that our every action can impact the entire world. We must do our part - giving tzedaka, learning Torah and adding in mitzvos in merit of the IDF and all the Jews living in Eretz Yisroel.

May Hashem guard our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel, and may we merit to see true peace in the Land with the coming of Moshiach now.

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