Israel Forever

For the week ending 5 December 2009 / 17 Kislev 5770

Relations with the Nations

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

The ever-changing relationship between the State of Israel and the nations of the world finds symbolic expression in this week's Torah portion.

When the Patriarch Yaakov prepared for a confrontation with his wicked brother Eisav, he divided his household into two camps so that if one camp was attacked the other would be able to flee to safety. In his commentary, Ramban sees this as a preview of the experience of Yaakov's descendants in the exile they were to endure in lands ruled by Eisav's descendants. "One ruler will make decrees against their finances or their lives," he writes, "while another ruler will have pity on them and rescue their refugees."

Not only does this explain the movement of Jews throughout the centuries from one land to another, but it can also be seen as a prediction of the changing attitudes of almost all nations towards the Jewish state. This should be seen not only as a warning that we cannot rely on any nation forever, but also as a source of confidence that Heaven will never abandon us and will protect Israel forever.

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