Israel Forever

For the week ending 11 June 2011 / 8 Sivan 5771

The Ark Moves On

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"When the Ark would journey, Moshe said, 'Arise, G-d, and let your foes be scattered; let those who hate You flee before you." (Bamidbar 31:35)

This passage from this week's Torah portion is familiar to all Jews who recite it when the Torah is taken out of the Ark for the purpose of public reading.

When we consider how the Jewish People and their state are treated by the nations of the world, we can appreciate the difference between the above-underlined enemies. "Foes," say our Sages, refers to the concealed enemies, while "those who hate You" are the active pursuers.

Throughout history we have been forced to defend ourselves against our obvious persecutors, but also to guard ourselves against those who easily turned against us when it suited their needs.

There is, however, another dimension to the hatred shown towards Jews. Moshe was addressing G-d when he spoke of "those who hate You." This led our Sages to conclude that whoever hates Jews really hates the One Who created the world.

Perhaps there is an important message in the fact that these words accompanied the journey of the Ark.The people chosen by G-d to receive the Torah contained in that Ark may suffer from open and concealed enemies, but the Ark continues to move on – forever!

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