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Friday, September 20, 2019

The Torah and Talmud are very clear about the pursuit of peace... Tanach and Chazal have always been more concerned with peace than war. After all, the Torah is the first document to ever to discuss peace as a normal condition of life. Devorim 20 makes it clear Hashem is our warrior, and anyone who ever committed an aveyrah cannot be a soldier. Even the order to murder Amalek is problematical. See the Rambam in Melochim 6! Devorim states that a Jewish army can’t lay a siege, pillage or rape women in the cities of its enemies with impunity. The Torah also makes it clear that the rulers of the Jewish people need to have a sefer Torah written and kept at their side to remind them that Hashem is the ultimate power. We can quote from Yehoshua, Shmuel Alef, Michah, Yeshayahu (timely fellow that he is) Hoshea, Tanhuma Shoftim and more.

So despite all the pain and tzaar, despite all that has gone before, and because the chaos in the Middle East has very little to do with Israel, our enemies want to blame Israel for  things like thwarting Erdogan’s fevered dream of a new Muslim Brotherhood Ottoman Empire; the coups against Morsi; Iran and her nuclear ambitions, and Assad’s use of chemical weapons. With everything that has emerged from that insanity, despite the jihadists from everywhere funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, because we are Jews, we still must give peace a chance. How many times a day do we utter the phrase, “Oseh Shalom Bimromov, Hu Yaaseh Shalom Aleinu vi Al Kol Yisroel, Amen?” If that phrase carries meaning for a people that prides itself for being of and in the world, as well as a light unto the nations, the Torah commands “Rodeph Shalom!” Pursue peace!

We will just have to grit our teeth and bear it, because no matter how loudly we holler for retribution, certainly at this time of year, we realize that we are not the controllers of the universe. We can call for bombs and war to fend off our enemies, but there is an old Yiddish expression that is as timely as Yeshayahu’s Yom Kippur haftorah.  “Man tracht und Got lacht.” Man plans and God laughs. And that just about sums up the last couple of weeks in the Middle East.