Israel Forever

For the week ending 15 November 2003 / 20 Heshvan 5764

We Will Outlive Them All!

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Israel poses the biggest threat to world peace!

The Jews are a race of murderers!

Sound familiar?

The first statement is the sensational conclusion of a survey conducted by the European Union. Although the Israeli government expressed shock at this report that a majority of Europeans consider Israel as the worlds biggest problem, this attitude could hardly surprise anyone familiar with the bloody history of anti-Semitism in so many European countries.

The second statement, however, really shocked Israel and world Jewry with its audacity. A member of parliament in the country that murdered six million Jews has the nerve to call the survivors of that slaughter "murderers"!

These shrill cries of Jew hatred emanating from Europe must be viewed in the context of the prophecy revealed to the Patriarch Avraham in the Torah chapter we read last Shabbat. This prophecy is introduced with the words "a deep sleep fell upon Avram, and behold, a horror of great darkness fell upon him" (Bereishet 15:12). Although the words in this chapter speak only of the exile which Avrahams descendants would endure in Egypt, our Sages saw in the aforementioned description of horror and darkness a reference to the four periods of exile Jews would suffer after they had already gained possession of their promised land.

In this weeks Torah portion, we hear Avraham, after he has demonstrated his loyalty by being prepared to sacrifice his son Yitzchak, promised that "Your descendants will inherit the gate of their enemies" (Bereishet 22.17).

The message communicated to Avraham that Jews would suffer from many tyrants but would outlive them all has become an indispensable part of the Jewish psyche that allows a hated people to be confident of Israel forever.

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