Shaarei Shamayim

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VAYISHLACH 5773

VAYISHLACH 5773

 

Jewish tradition looks at the lives of our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as reflecting 3 periods of Jewish history. The story of their lives, which spanned some 250 years, is a microcosm of the Jewish story throughout the ages. The 1st stage of Jewish History corresponds to Abraham. In the beginning of the Abraham story, he goes down to Egypt because of a famine. Pharaoh starts up with him and takes his wife Sarah captive. Gd strikes Pharaoh with a plague of boils and he regrets he ever started up with Abraham. He chases him away, but he gives him gifts as he leaves. This replay comes in the beginning of the story of the Jewish people as they go down to Egypt with father Jacob and leave with Moses. It is a reenactment on a much larger scale of what happened to Abraham over a period of 210 years.

 

What is the Isaac stage of Jewish History? What was unique about Isaac? He never left the land of Israel. So the Isaac period would be when the Jews came back to Israel from Egypt and remained there for some time. Isaac has 2 sons that are almost identical (twins), except they go in separate ways. So in the Isaac period in history, we find the kingdom of Israel splitting into 2—Israel in the north and Judea in the south. They are identical (twins), they are Jews, yet one goes one way, never to be heard of again and the other remains and is the one who gets the B’racha.

 

Jacob, from the beginning of his life, always lives up to his name, which means, “heal,” because he is always on the run. Which period in Jewish History would be the Jacob stage?  Galut, “exile.” Jacob runs, runs, runs until a certain moment in his life which he returns to Israel to face his brother Esav who had previously vowed to kill him. The night before he is mugged by a stranger and they fight all night. Jacob emerges from the fight wounded in his thigh and his name changed to Israel.

 

We are in that part of the Jacob stage of Jewish history. In our time, we the Jewish people, have returned to create a State of Israel wounded in the thigh—the procreative area—after suffering the loss of 6 million in the Holocaust.

 

The Rashbam, in his commentary takes another approach, and asks why was Jacob wounded in the thigh and not in another part of his body? He answers, so that Jacob would understand that he can no longer run away from his problems. The time has come to stand up to his brother! 

 

It is not coincidence that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas came on Thursday to the UN to seek “Observer Status” for Palestine. It was exactly 65 years ago Thursday, 11/29/47, that the Arabs living in Palestine foolishly squandering their opportunity for national self-determination by rejecting the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine. Instead they launch a war to snuff out the Jewish State at its very inception.

 

This week the Palestinian people—under the PA/PLO’s leadership— sought to go back in time and rectify their error. After not succeeding last year in applying for membership to the UN because of a U.S. veto, this week they began an end-around by first seeking “Observer Status” in the UN General Assembly similar to that of the Vatican. They were successful with a vote of 138 in favor, 9 against—the US and Canada, the Czech Republic and a few Island states—with 41 abstentions.

 

Despite Abbas’s words at the UN that, “We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel,” All the presentations that Abbas made to his own people in Arabic days before made it clear that his concept of an “observer state” will include all of Palestine, “from the river to the sea,” in accordance with the PLO Covenant, which was never cancelled.

 

Abbas and the rest of the PLO’s leaders should know better than to believe that it is possible to go back in time. After failing to wipe out Israel in 1948, in 1967 and again in 1973, and after decades of senseless bloodshed and terrorism, the Palestinian people should admit the failures of their past leaders, recognize that the State of Israel is here to stay and accept the idea of reconciliation and negotiation with the Jewish State.


The PLO is presently losing out to Hamas in the Palestinian popularity contest—especially after Hamas brazenly launched more than a 1300 missiles into Israel. The PLO hopes the UN initiative will shift attention away from Hamas to Abbas and the PLO.

 

It’s another hit to Israel, coming just a week after the missiles from Gaza finally were stopped. What are the problems this creates for Israel? Aside from Israel now taking a hit in the propaganda war, it declares Palestine as defined by the Palestinian Authority—a legitimate UN Observer—to be Palestinian territory. In other words, it recognizes all land that came under Israel control in 1967 to be theirs—including Maaleh Adumim, just east of Jerusalem with a population of 40,000, but also Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs and even the Kotel, the Western Wall!

 

But the biggest immediate problem is that this resolution may enable the Palestinians to pursue “war crime” charges against Israel at the UN’s International Criminal Court. Every Israeli leader and every Israeli soldier would be threatened. Imagine, Hamas will launch more rockets into Israel and Israeli leaders and soldiers, if they defend Israel by firing back, will be convicted of war crimes!

 

As I said, we are in the Jacob phase of Jewish history. It’s time for Jacob who was called Israel, it’s time for Israel to stand up for itself in spite of world pressure. A couple of weeks ago it did just that after the launch of 1300 missiles. Now it will do what it must to keep its people safe. Am Yisrael Chai, “the People of Israel shall live!” Amen!

 

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