Friday, October 27, 2023

A Nation Dwells Alone

A bitter irony that has emerged since the war that Hamas recently initiated has been the clarity we have received about our standing in the world. The initial shock from the attacks and subsequent condemnation of the depravity committed by Hamas has transitioned to nuanced and equivocal statements from other nations as they counsel Israel on how to defend itself against an existential threat. Russia demanded an immediate ceasefire and a promise from Israel to allow the delivery of humanitarian into Gaza. This is especially rich as Russia has deliberately targeted the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. Independent accounts have confirmed that over 27,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since it began the war against Ukraine less than two years ago. Considering the high casualties, would it consider a ceasefire in its war against Ukraine? Not to be outdone in its anti-Semitic rhetoric, Turkey said that Hamas aren't terrorists; they're mujahideen defending the homeland. As I wasn't sure what mujahideen are, I looked up the definition, and mujahideen are Muslims who fight on behalf of their faith and the Muslim community. This statement came from a NATO ally that America supplies advanced fighter jets. Here in America, much has been reported about the inaction of Ivy League universities to condemn unadulterated Jew hatred that is proliferated on its campuses. Pro-Hamas rallies are taking place nationwide, and its supporters are more assertive in their contempt for the Jewish People. I mention all this not to make everyone more depressed but rather to encourage some reflection. For thousands of years, Jews were targeted by violent mobs who killed and pillaged our ancestors. There was some wishful thinking that those tragic memories were permanently in our rearview mirror. At the very least, if a violent mob would ever unleash a pogrom against our people, the enlightened world would condemn those actions and come to our defense. The Jewish People are referred to a הֶן־עָם֙ לְבָדָ֣ד יִשְׁכֹּ֔ן וּבַגּוֹיִ֖ם לֹ֥א יִתְחַשָּֽׁב. This passage is translated as a nation that dwells alone and is not respected among the nations. In this week Parsha, God promises Avraham the Land of Israel, and this promise was subsequently codified to Yitzchak and Yaakov and their descendants. The Land of Israel is so holy and unique that other faiths and people continue their thousands of years of practice of killing Jews to claim that they are the true heirs to the Land. It's essential to embrace our status in the world and work on being worthy heirs to this precious gift as other nations continue to be tepid with their support. It's important to remember the Talmudic teaching that we have no one to rely on but our Father in Heaven. Let's continue to plead with Him that Israel can defeat the forces that want its demise. Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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