Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Bereshit
To dedicate this lesson

Why are they harassing us?

How should we relate to the events befalling us every day? To our sorrow, each day brings another terrorist attack.


Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon

Kislev 17 5776
Allow me to open with an additional question: the Nation of Israel acts with tremendous morality. Instead of killing Arab civilians, the army takes many precautions to reduce the killing. No nation in the world would act in this manner.
Soldiers and civilians alike ask how to act towards a terrorist, whether to strike in order to kill him or to strike his feet to neutralize him. Soldiers and rescue teams ask: who should we treat first – the fatally injured terrorist or the lightly or moderately wounded civilian injured by this very same terrorist? These are not questions that our enemies ask. (Regardless of the answer to this specific question, the mere fact that it is raised illustrates high morality).
Two weeks ago there was an attack near Otniel. An Arab ambulance arrived there, and despite the shouts of a Jewish youth the paramedics did not proffer help. Rather, when it realized that there were only Jews among the injured, it left.
There is no doubt. The Nation of Israel is the most ethical nation in the world. Why doesn’t the world see this? Why do they call us unethical? Why do they lie about us? They count the dead on each side, and they also count the terrorists who harm as regular dead! In Europe a picture is publicized of an Arab with raised hands and an IDF soldier hitting him, but in the picture they do not show that the terrorist is holding a knife!
The immediate, even knee-jerk explanation is that this is anti-Semitism . This existed throughout the years, throughout the generations. Esau hates Jacob (Rashi, Genesis 34:4). This is certainly true; however, I believe the answer runs deeper.
Until the Nation of Israel came into being, nations acted barbarically, without standards of morality. Along with Israel’s emergence in the world, the Torah, ethics and new standards of morality were introduced. As such, the nations of the world inspect us under a microscope.
The nations of the world recognize that the Nation of Israel is a moral nation. The fact that many nations do not act on the same moral level yet demand we act on an even higher moral level, demonstrates that they understand that the Nation of Israel introduced morality, and it is at the core of its existence.
Let us continue to be moral. Let us continue to be humane. Let us recognize that it is our mission to continue bringing morality to the nations. However, let us know that we will teach the world the rules of morality and we will not consent to external dictates. Let us remember that one rule of morality is "if someone tries to kill you – arise to kill him first" (Numbers Rabba 21:4). To ensure morality among nations, we need to remove evil from the world, to act severely with terrorists in order to help the whole world become purer, holier, and more ethical.
However, it is reasonable to give another answer to the reason for the world’s anti-Semitism today. "G-d has reigned: let the peoples tremble!" When the Kingdom of Heaven flourishes and ascends, when the Jewish People who represent the Heavenly Kingdom succeed, the nations tremble. The nations are unable to accept this.
There has been no nation which survived thousands of years (and already, as is known, Mark Twain was amazed about this and said: What is the secret of the eternality of the Jewish Nation). This in and of itself is proof of G’d’s existence. There has been no nation which was expelled from its land and then returned to it. Not only did the Nation of Israel return to its land, but we merited the State of Israel, an army of our own. Can we not feel that G-d loves His nation Israel!"
The State of Israel is a very young and small state. Yet, look at our accomplishments. On the world stage we have great influence. Israel is in third place in hi-tech. Life expectancy is among the highest in the world. According to surveys, Israel is considered to be one of the best places in the world to live; its citizens among the happiest in spite of all the terrorist attacks. The State of Israel is in first place in successful fertility treatments. Israel, which suffers from a serious dearth of water, is a world leader in desalination and in three decades is predicted to be an exporter of water, G-d willing!
In Parshat Ekev the Torah promises "A Land whose stones are iron and from whose mountains you will mine copper" "You will lack nothing there". For years I waited to see the fulfillment of the promise. Today we are witnesses to the discovery of gas and kerosene. Are these not signs of redemption?
"G-d has reigned: let the peoples tremble!" The world has difficulty in accepting the success of the Jewish people and the enormity of the process of redemption.
The current redemption is an elevated, natural redemption. In a natural redemption there are many difficult challenges . However, we need to be attentive to the enormity of the hour, to the tremendous and elevated time in which we find ourselves. We cry for the wounded, and the dead. We embrace the dear families. However, we remember: the difficulties are also part of the enormity. The Nation of Israel is strong and stable, thank G-d, and as a result of our internal strength and morality, our enemies are fighting us in low and despicable ways.
Let us pray to G-d that we may dwell in serenity and security in our Land, to settle in the whole Land of Israel, to live in brotherhood and love, in peace and friendship, and to see the coming of the Messiah speedily in our days.

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