Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Chayei Sara
To dedicate this lesson

Our Knives Versus Yours


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

I write these words having just returned from the Brit Mila of a close friend’s new grandson. This is a particularly important time to celebrate Smachot, as our nation is, once again, enduring the latest attempt by Palestinian terrorists to inflict harm upon innocent Jews & disrupt our normal lives. They will not succeed in their evil designs.

This latest wave of terror is being called the "Knife Intifada," as Palestinians randomly stab those waiting at a bus stop or a train station. The latest victims are a beautiful 26-year old woman, an occupational therapy teacher; & a 20-year old soldier, one of twins – may Hashem avenge their blood & crush our enemies.

These desperate acts by depraved criminals will fail, as I said. The reason can be found in the Parsha we just finished. There we are told about two knives of our own, special knives that stand out in history. One is the knife used to circumcise Yitzchak - the very first Brit Mila performed on any Jewish child; the second knife is that of the Akeida, the knife which Avraham lifted, but did not use.

These knives symbolize faith, continuity, life. When we bring a child into the Brit shel Avraham, we attest to the fact that our bond with Hashem – a bond that began in the days of the Patriarchs – is ongoing & never-ending. Moreover, Yitzchak’s particular Brit – coming as it did when his parents were old, seemingly beyond child-bearing age – reminds us that we live miraculous lives, above & beyond nature, serving as evidence that no mortal force can ever overcome us.

The knife of the Akeida is an equally-powerful symbol of our unbreakable partnership with G-d, an indication that we will go to any limit whatsoever to demonstrate our allegiance to Him. That, in turn, invokes an equal response from above: Hashem will do whatever it takes to defend us & keep us alive as a People.

The knife in the Akeida is called a "ma’a’chelet," an unusual name, to say the least. Chazal say it derives from the word "ochel" - food, or sustenance – indicating that we are "fed," or sustained, throughout the generations by virtue of the sacrifices we make – such as the Akeida - to remain faithful servants of G-d.

Our response to this latest challenge is the same as it always has been: Be vigilant, but continue to live our everyday life. Show no fear - & certainly no mercy – to the terrorists; give them no satisfaction whatsoever in their evil desires. Pray to Hashem to keep us strong, redouble our love for our fellow Jews.

And for those reading this who still reside outside Israel, book your flights & come be a part of history!
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