Israel Forever

For the week ending 16 November 2002 / 11 Kislev 5763

Stones and Politicians

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"The National Unity Government has come apart!"

This headline in the local media caused an entire nation and world to wonder how this could happen at a time when Israel faces some of the most serious security and economic problems it has ever had to deal with.

When Jews hear this weeks Torah portion read in synagogues they will get an insight into a historical perspective of unity.

When the Patriarch Yaakov lay down to sleep at the site where the Holy Temple would someday stand, the Torah relates that he formed a protective fence and pillow from "stones" he gathered from the area. After he awoke from his prophetic dream of angels and a ladder reaching to Heaven, those same "stones" are referred to as a single "stone." He erected that stone as a pillar upon which he poured a libation of oil in thanks to G-d who assured him in that dream that the earth he slept on would belong to his descendants forever.

How "stones" become one "stone" is explained by the Talmudic Sages. The stones which Yaakov gathered began to quarrel amongst themselves, with each vying for the privilege of having the righteous Patriarch rest his head upon it. G-d thereupon combined all of the stones into one large stone so that all of them would be privileged and pleased.

Let us put aside all of the cynical observations of political analysts who accuse one or the other of the protagonists in this drama, Prime Minister Sharon and Labor Party head Ben-Eliezer, of causing the collapse of the unity government by sticking to the uncompromising stances they adopted in order to gain popularity with the voters in their respective parties who must soon decide in primary elections their political futures. Let us be nave enough to attribute to each of these politicians a genuine concern for the nation as their motive. But are they not like those stones vying for the privilege of rescuing Israel from its security and economic woes? If G-d imposed on the Jewish state problems of such magnitude that compelled such competing "stones" to form into one entity, could we not expect that all parties would be pleased to have the privilege of serving the people who elected them as leaders?

Perhaps the difference between stones and politicians is that stones have no agenda other than providing support for the righteous. Let the politicians take a cue from the stones and increase their support for the righteous Torah institutions which are the best guarantee for the security and economy of Israel forever!

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