Beit Midrash

  • Family and Society
  • Israel and the Nations
To dedicate this lesson

Between Israel and the Nations

Many efforts have been invested in explaining the hatred of the nations towards Jews . Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai teaches not to seek for an explanation, but to accept it as a natural law. Instead of searching for an explanation, we should cast this law to uplift the nation of Israel.


Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

The relations between Israel and the nations are complicated. Many efforts have been invested in trying to understand the reason for this complication. Many books were written on this strange relationship between Israel and the nations. But after all the effort there is still a feeling that the basic reason wasn’t found. Since the Jewish people became a nation there is a continuous situation – a deep hatred in the hearts towards Am Yisrael, without an explanation and without justification. A deep and constant hatred that exists in all situations, whether the Jew successes or failures, always! Nations hate the Jews because they are capitalists and they hate the Jews because they are socialists. They hate Jews because they are right winged and because they are leftists. Sometimes it is because the Jews are over talented, where in other cases, because they are a burden. Sometimes the Jews are too advanced and sometimes because they are outdated and behind.

The truth is that there is no real reason. This hatred is without reason. Rabbi Shimon Bar - Yochay: said "Halacha, B'yaduh Sh'Eysav Sone L'Yaakov" – It is a know law that Esav hates Jacob (Sifri Bamidbar 79). The words of Rabbi Shimon Bar - Yochay seems puzzling, how can you say "it is a law"? He should have said it's known that Esav hates Jacob. What does it mean "Halacha" – law? Rabbi Menachem Zemba zt"l explains that Rabbi Shimon Bar – Yochay teaches us not to look for a reason. It is a law without a reason. Rabbi Shimon Bar - Yochay was known for always "searching for the meaning of whats written in the Torah", looking for the purpose of all the commandments. However, in this case - don't ask. Don’t look for a reasons and explanations, since there is no point. This is a deep behavior without any known sense.

It is not easy for some nations to admit this hatred. They try to hide it, cover it, ignore its existence or deny it. But it exists. Even if they try to fight it and uproot it, try to prevent it from erupting, they can’t always succeed. Occasionally the nature of Anti-Semitism explodes in a terrible way.

The most dreadful evil outbreak of nations against Israel was not long ago, only sixty years ago, the Holocaust. Many nations were involved in this wickedness, some in a great extent, others gave small help and some nations just stood by and did nothing to save the Jews. Only later, to overcome their moral dissonance, they felt a need to seek atonement for the wickedness and a majority of the United Nations decided to approve the Jewish state in Israel. However, the inherent nature has not changed. The attitude of the nations to Israel is complex. "It is a known law that Esav hates Jacob."

This law teaches us that instead of trying to change this nature we have to learn to live with it. There is no point in trying to escape this reality, because we can’t escape it. This is not only because we can't escape, this law has a role. This fate is not a blind fate, but it has a purpose! We can and should cast this factual content and give it meaning. We should give an uplifting meaning to the people dwelling in solitude, the one and special nation, the nation of G-D and of the Torah. We have to transform this difficult reality to an opportunity to build our nation, until the value of Israel will become clear. Then, in retrospective, we will understand Israel's special fate. –
"And many peoples shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the G-d of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem". (Isaiah B, C).
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