Truth, Justice and Some Infinitely Sad
This week's Parshah, Shoftim, begins as follows,
"You shall appoint Judges and Officers
"G-d is my Light and my Salvation," says King David, in the Chapter from Tehillim (27) which we recite throughout the month of Elul, and from Rosh HaShanah through Hoshana Rabba. Chazal relate the "Light" to Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Judgment, and "Salvation" to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Last Erev Shabbat, which was also Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul, came the terrible news that Rav Eliyahu Shlomo Ra'anan had, may G-d protect us, been stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist. The victim was a teacher at "Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav Kook," the world-famous yeshiva founded by Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, the victim's grandfather, a spiritual giant of our century, who had possessed a deep, mystical love of the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and the G-d of Israel, and had passed these attributes along, in goodly, and G-dly measure, to his grandson.
Why do the Arabs hate us so much?
Part of the answer is the rejection by the Jewish People, in the seventh century, of its second offshoot, Islam, and its prophet, Mohammed.
I believe the hatred may stem as well from a more ancient rejection - that of Hagar, Avraham's concubine, and her son, Yishmael, by Avraham Avinu, at the demand of his wife, Sarah, and their rejection by G-d Himself, Who says to Avraham, "For through Yitzchak will be your line of descent."
The causes of the rejection, as recounted in the Bible, were the contemptuous attitude which Hagar developed towards her mistress, Sarah, showing her true colors, and the attitude of mockery , "me-tzachek," which Yishmael, the "pereh Adam," the "wild man," displayed towards his younger brother from the moment of Yitzchak's birth.
In Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles 5: 18-20), there is a brief description of a war between the Hebrew Tribes Reuven, Gad and half the Tribe of Menashe, and a nation called the "Hagarites," presumably the descendants of Hagar, and their allies, from which the Jewish tribes emerge victorious. Their victory is attributed to the fact that the Jewish fighters called upon G-d and placed their trust in Him.
In our time, Islam, especially Fundamentalist Islam, has begun demonstrating unstoppable qualities and world-domination potential around the globe. This is due in part to their particularly ruthless brand of combat, and, more basically, to the fact that they were "blessed" with the ability to dominate other nations, "Yado BaKol," "Their hand is raised against all other nations."
It is also true because they are convinced that their cause is just in the eyes of their god, Allah. But, in truth, they worship the false so-called "Old Testament" god of anger, violence and revenge, who metes out only strict justice, and who has no compassion - the god of the jihad, the "holy" war.
They believe, as did their ancestors, in spreading their religion "by the sword." We believe that our way of life will ultimately triumph, not by the sword, but rather by the spirit.
They do not value truth. Neither then nor now. As King David writes,
"L-rd, save me from lying lips, from the deceitful tongue;
Let us overcome them by relying upon our G-d, according to the model described in Divrei HaYamim, alluded to above, where the People of Israel defeated the descendants of Hagar and Yishmael,
"For they cried out unto G-d,
Let us recover the heritage of Yitzchak, in whose name is the idea of "tzchok," "laughter," of the "panim sochakos," "the smiling face," as his mother, Sarah, said "All who hear of Yitzchak's birth will laugh with me (Bereshit, Genesis 21:6)." Let us discard the hatred and scorn of Yishmael, the "metzachek," who "laughed at" and "mocked" us.
Let us overcome them by relying upon the G-d about Whom King David said in the 27th chapter of Tehillim,
"...The L-rd is the stronghold of my life,
And then "Salvation" will be delivered to us, though we are surrounded on all sides by fierce enemies, in accordance with the expression "Yeshuat Hashem K'heref Ayin," "The Salvation of G-d comes in the blink of an eye."
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU[http://188.8.131.52/footer.html]