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From the World of Rabbi Avraham Kook 

I am full of love for G-d! I know that my love and yearning has no name. How can a feeling that surpasses everything: all goodness, all essence, all existence, be given a name?” 

(Orot HaKodesh 4:400) 

Rabbi Dov BegonRosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir 

Message for Today: 

“Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you”

“Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father will be here soon. I will then be able to kill my brother Jacob.’ Her older son’s plans were reported to Rebecca. She sent word and summoned her younger son Jacob. ‘Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you,’ she said” (Genesis 27:41-42).

When Rebecca became aware through Ruach HaKodesh [prophetic intuition] that Esau was thinking about killing Jacob, she hastened to tell Jacob, “Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you.” Rashi elaborates: “He regrets the brotherly relationship existing between you, harboring thoughts other than those of brotherhood, to estrange himself from you and to kill you.” Only through Jacob’s death could Esau be comforted.

Saintly Rebecca was the daughter of an evildoer and the brother of an evildoer and had grown up amongst evil men. Yet she was a wise and an intelligent woman who could discern what was happening in the hearts of the wicked, and who could deal with their plotting. She was not a naïve woman, the victim of her own delusions. She knew her wicked son Esau, who presented himself as though he wanted brotherhood and peace while really harboring thoughts of murder and death in his heart.

Today, the words “I will kill my brother Jacob” ring in the hearts of Esau’s and Ishmael’s descendants. Down through the generations, they have been striving to turn those words into reality through the murder of millions of Jews. This occurred in the terrible Holocaust, and we see it once more on an almost daily basis with terror attacks against Jewish men, women and children in Israel and throughout the world. Jews are being killed because they are Jews, for only through the murder of Jews, only through the shedding of Jewish blood, are their enemies comforted.

Our answer to their plotting and to their murder of Jews must be: “If one attacks you to kill you, kill him first” (Sanhedrin 72a). We have to deter Israel’s enemies, and the anti-Semites of the world. We have to strike at them and at those who send them until they fear and despair at the thought of harming Jews or of destroying the State of Israel. We have to strengthen the military and economic power of the State of Israel. We have to strengthen the spirit of the nation and its unity through a return to the Jewish roots which unite us. Most of all, we have to strengthen settlement and offer encouragement to the settlers who are holding on to the land of our life’s blood.

Today, they are the spearhead of the whole nation in its struggle over our continued national rebirth. They are facing up to all those who resent the rebirth of the Jewish People and who are trying to weaken us and to pressure our country to surrender.

Yet the Jewish People, experienced in pain and suffering, will know how to protect themselves, for Rebecca’s words flash before their eyes: “Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you.”

Looking forward to complete salvation,

Shabbat Shalom.

Thousands of hours of free Torah videos! – 

Rabbi Shlomo AvinerChief Rabbi of Bet El 
Don’t Shoot the Officer

The British writer Oscar Wild, in his book “Impressions of America”, relates that in 1880 he saw a sign in a tavern in the American Wild West reading: Don’t shoot the piano player. He’s doing the best he can.” In other words, that piano player, who was playing to infuse the tavern with a pleasant ambiance and to soften, slightly, the harsh nature of those present, was always the first to suffer when there were brawls, with bullets flying in every direction, as if he were responsible for the general mayhem. The point was – don’t shoot him. Don’t blame him. Don’t attack him instead of the real culprit.

And we say the same: Don’t shoot the army officer. He’s doing his best. He’s not responsible for the tensions extant among our people.

Quite the contrary, show him great respect for his devotion to our country’s security, and relate to him with indulgence in those isolated cases of mishap. Like that piano player who continues calmly to play when all around him are hitting and shooting, so, too, does the army officer become everyone’s sudden victim, blamable for all problems, and he cannot defend himself.

When I see someone hurt an officer, I am saddened and angered. It drives me to distraction! If he is too rough on one of the enemy during a military operation, the Left attacks him, the media deals him a blow and sues him in court. Yet if he uses force in dealing with a Jewish demonstration, then the Right insults him, calls him a Nazi, kicks him in the face and throws barbs and Molotov cocktails at him. Maybe the both of you can stop shooting at him from all sides, just because each of you thinks he’s too much like the Other.

Maybe, once and for all, you can decide if you trust him or not. If he dies defending your security, he’s good. You take advantage of him and then you insult him! You’re so ungrateful! Or maybe you’re just not mentally balanced.

I miss our master, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, who sometimes would kiss a soldier’s uniform. I miss the Netziv, Rabbi Naphtali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, who ruled that whoever demoralizes a Jewish soldier in battle is guilty of endangering our entire nation (from his commentary on Rav Achai Gaon’s “She’eltot”, 142). So please, don’t shoot the officer. Leave him on the side and don’t take advantage of his being forbidden to return fire, of his lovingly absorbing fuselage from all sides.

He risks his life to save you and you torment him! You’re not human! You’re not Jewish! I wept inside and phoned an officer, the victim of a media attack, to console him. He said to me, “We are doing such important things that such harassment won’t keep me from going on.” I set out to console him and I emerged consoled myself.

“All the same” – he didn’t say, but he could have – I’m kind of a sucker. I’m the type you can always deceive. I’m just a human being, and I’ve seen so many friends fall in combat, one after the other, and that’s what troubles me. Where are all the others, the hundreds and the thousands, who could have gone into battle, and instead they are hiding in the city or seeing the world. I see the lights from afar, and I think to myself that I am doing their share. Sometimes that hurts more than death itself. Lucky for me, I don’t have time to think about it.”

Yes. He walks with a gun on his shoulder and with great courage, from morning until evening, and from evening until morning. He works hard, everywhere, in all kinds of weather, and you don’t see any envy or jealousy on his face. He toils constantly for others. He doesn’t bother anybody else. He just serves others in the army.

Truth be told, the army doesn’t need any external investigations. It is constantly checking up on itself. When it comes to suffering casualties they’re fine, but when it comes to investigating themselves they’re not? I wasn’t so pleased with the external inquiries into the Yom Kippur War or Sabra and Shatila, which roasted the I.D.F. over the coals but left the political echelon smelling like roses. That’s not fair.

Make no mistake. The I.D.F. is not summer camp. It’s busy making war against cruel enemies who wish to annihilate us. Don’t forget: We’re at war. It may be HIC (a high intensity conflict) and it may be LIC (a low intensity conflict), but we can see that the War of Independence has not yet ended. Obviously in war you’ve got to follow the rules of war. “Jus in bello”. But don’t forget that we’re still at war.

And now suddenly everything is quiet. Do you think that that’s a coincidence? No. It’s thanks to those who risk their lives for their military calling on behalf of the nation. And along come self-styled experts from the Right and from the Left, who I’m not sure would risk themselves for others, and they curse out the army. And the army officer hears this, is insulted and remains silent.

Maybe you can leave him be? Those officers are already grownups and they know how to get along on their own and to talk to one another as loving, admiring friends. Don’t stick your nose into it. Nobody needs you. Quite the contrary, you need them. And if you don’t put your faith in them, what are you doing in this country?

Don’t worry. The army officer is a moral person. He doesn’t do bad things to innocent people for no reason. He is motivated by morality and values.

An officer’s wife said, “It isn’t easy for me. Not only is he away from home, such that I don’t see him and the children don’t see him, but the newspapers malign him.”

But that officer says to himself, “Thank G-d, in the army I’ve got friends. They are real friends I can count on. They are my bosom buddies. They’re always with me, wherever I go. My commanders, my equals, the soldiers I command. They know me. There’s no need to explain anything. They are loyal. They are true friends. They’re not afraid to be with me when things are rough, under fire, in pain, under enemy attack, under attack from friends…”

This from an officer who never eats and never sleeps. He barely deals with anything outside of duty. All his thoughts are trained on the Jewish People. He has no time for himself. He has no self.

But you, who have nothing but your own pleasures and your own worries, you, who eat in comfort and sleep in comfort, and when you are lacking something you cry bloody murder – have you no reverence for one who would sacrifice himself for his people’s fortune, who bears their troubles in his heart, who loves his fellow man like you love your own children, who doesn’t worry about his personal welfare and his personal life?

If someone lives like that, G-d is in his heart.

Rabbi Yaakov Filber


The principle that “our ancestors’ deeds presage our own” applies on the individual and national level. On the individual level our sages said (Yalkut Shimoni, VaEtchanan 830): “A person must ask himself, ‘When will my own deeds reach the level of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who acquired This World, the World-to-Come and the Messianic Era by way of their good deeds and Torah learning.” Each and every one




of us should view their way of life and their conduct as a model to emulate.


Yet the conduct of the Patriarchs further serves as a model for our national behavior. As Ramban wrote (Genesis 12:6): “Let me provide an axiom by which you can understand all the coming sections of the Torah, regarding Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is a major point which our sages mentioned concisely when they said (Tanchuma 9) that everything that happened to the Patriarchs is significant for their descendants. The Torah therefore elaborates in telling about the Patriarchs’ travels, their digging of wells, and all the other incidents. One might think that these stories are superfluous and of no benefit. Yet they all serve to teach us about the future. Whatever




happened to the three Patriarchs, we can ponder it and postulate what will happen to their descendants.”


Isaac was the first “Sabra”, the first Jew born in Eretz Yisrael. Seemingly, the trials he faced were easier than those faced by Abraham. Yet they could also be viewed as harder. Abraham’s trials occurred only from time to time, whereas Isaac’s life was one unending trial. Abraham, as one who forged a new path, was living fulfillment of “Who shall ascend the mountain of G-d” (Psalm 24:3). It is no easy task to climb a path that no man has walked before, to face difficulties by which no man has previously been tested, to construct a model for life such as never existed since Adam was created. The ascent to G-d’s mountain is fraught with difficulties, but with effort, with determination and devotion, one can ultimately succeed in withstanding the test.


Thus, Abraham’s entire life he was a wanderer. He wandered from Charan to Eretz Yisrael, and there, as well, he did not stay in one place, passing through the Land to Shechem and Elon Moreh. From there he moved on to Bet El. Then he moved to the Negev, and then to Egypt, and then back to Eretz Yisrael, so much so that the Torah said, “He continued in his travels” (Genesis 13:3). All this he did in order to proclaim G-d’s name wherever he went. For that reason Abraham was a shepherd, and his property was: “sheep, cattle, donkeys, male and female slaves, she-donkeys and camels” (12:16) — the sort of property that could wander with him. Abraham was not a planter, because he didn’t have the time to wait for the seasons of harvesting and gathering in the grain.


By contrast, Isaac was more static. He had to preserve what he received from Abraham. The Torah says, “Isaac farmed in the area. That year, he reaped a hundred times as much as he sowed, for G-d had blessed him” (26:12). Abraham in his wanderings created something out of nothing, and Isaac inherited a situation of everything being ready for him. He received a house of faith and good deeds, a heritage that Abraham passed on to him: “I know of him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they will keep G-d’s way, doing charity and justice” (18:19).


Even so, the mission faced by Isaac contained a facet that was more difficult. It constituted, “Who shall stand in His holy place?” (Psalm 24:3). This refers to standing in one place, preserving that which exists already. It connotes conduct involving humdrum routine that is boring and devoid of valor. Such a situation makes one complacent and unalert, and can ultimately lead to breakdown and disfunction. This danger of sinking into complacency is described by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook (Orot, page 84): “The material comfort that some of our nation will achieve, thereby thinking that they have already reached their final goal, will diminish their spirituality. A time will come when they say they have no spiritual ambitions. The longing for lofty, holy ideals will cease, and the spirit will then sink and wane.”


Isaac received from Abraham a legacy of faith, justice and charity, a home of kindness and tolerance for good people and bad. On becoming master of that home, he had the task of maintaining it and making it endure for generations to come. Only, the trial of routine is not a one-time or occasional experience, but an ongoing test which demands spiritual strength and fortitude if it is to be withstood.


Our ancestors’ deeds presage our own. In our own generation as well, we encounter these two phenomena: The first generation that arrived in the Land in modern times were pioneers. Like Abraham, they too walked from their land and their father’s home to Eretz Yisrael. They too fought against the desolation; if not in the spiritual realm, then in the physical realm of settling Eretz Yisrael. They paved new roads and settled new parts of the Land that no foot had long trod upon. They were a generation that settled the Land in the spirit of “Who shall ascend the Mountain of G-d.”


Yet in the test of Isaac we have failed. We, the second generation, have not succeeded in being the living fulfillment of “Who shall stand in His holy place?” Here, Rav Kook’s vision, quoted above, has been fulfilled.


We thus look forward to the fulfillment of the rest of Rav Kook’s vision, recorded there: “Ultimately a storm will come and foment a revolution. Then it will be seen clearly by all that Israel‘s strength lies in timeless holiness, in the light of G-d and in His Torah, in the longing for His spiritual light.”

Translation: R. Blumberg 

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