Friday, June 27, 2014

Our Strength is in Unity

By Zvulun Orlev
As I write this column we still do not know the fate of our children who were kidnapped by the Hamas. Let us hope and pray that when this is available in public we will be able to thank and praise the Creator of the World for the kindness of returning the youths to their homes in peace. We have been through several weeks of fear, nerve-wracking tension, and deep thought because of our uncertainty and our lack of knowledge of what is happening. Is this a necessary price for us to pay because of our deep attachment to Eretz Yisrael in general and to Yehuda and the Shomron in particular?
Our Family
What can be added to what the families have said, or to the jabbering in the media? But our feelings do not let us ignore what is happening. These are our innocent children,part of the family of the broad camp of religious Zionism, who wanted to reach their homes in peace starting out in Gush Etzion. The "Law of Intertwined Religious Families" has once again been demonstrated in this matter. Who among our families doesn't have some sort of connection with at least one of these noble families through our diverse family ties? (This is true for my family too. My son was a study colleague of one of the boys in the Shaer family in a Hesder yeshiva. My daughter-in-law works with the father of the Fraenkel family.) Every one of our families feels personally involved in this kidnapping.
We are deeply moved once again by the showing of a will to sacrifice and the dedication of the commanders and the fighters of the IDF, the Security Service, and the Police, in their efforts to bring the boys back home safely. The revelations of companionship and unity of the nation, and the full backing given to the war against murderous terrorism, are worthy of all manner of praise. David Ben Gurion said, "Let every Jewish mother know that she has handed the fate of her children over to the commanders," and we can add more to this: "and to the hands of the people and the leaders, who have shown that in troubled times they will fight in unison to bring them back to their mothers safely."
In these painful times, many people are asking: What can we contribute to the success of the efforts by the Security Forces? My answer is: First of all, we must expand our prayers to the Creator of the World, asking Him to have mercy on the children and their families. Second, we must remain unified, show national solidarity with the political and military leaders, and show our support for their behavior, and in addition encourage them to continue on the right path. At such times it is best for the leadership, with all its variability, to be able to concentrate only on the main task, bringing the boys home, and not to be required to set aside resources of time, thought, and spiritual and emotional energy while trying to cope with accusations and opposition complaints based on political considerations. Only when we return to normal times can we allow ourselves to return to the routine of disputes, fights, accusations, divisiveness, and political controversy – opportunities that we never forego.
Entering the Land during War
The sages have taught us, "There is nothing that is not hinted at in the Torah" [Berachot 9a]. Rashi explains that the Five Books of Moshe are the foundation of the Prophets and the Writings, "and everything in them can be found in a hint in the Torah."
The generation of the desert left Egypt and went through the hardships of the desert in a miraculous and unnatural way. In their wars, they were told, "G-d will fight for you, and you shall remain silent" [Shemot 14:14]. For sustenance, they received manna from heaven, water from the rocks, meat from the quail, and so on. It is not surprising that this generation, which had become used to "behaving in an exalted manner... that was completely above and beyond nature" (from the Natziv's introduction to the book of Bamidbar), believed the slander of the scouts and therefore died in the desert. This generation was not capable of conquest of the land "in a natural way, based on the mystic guidance of the Kingdom of Heaven" [Natziv, ibid]. The generation which enters the land, on the other hand, experiences its first battles in this week's Torah portion, and conquers Sichon and Og and their nations in a natural way. This new generation did not need the techniques of the previous one. To expand a well-known Hebrew expression,"We have gotten through Pharaoh, Sichon, and Og. We will also manage to get through the Hamas."
The high point of the return to Zion in our generation was our sovereign rebirth, and this took place by natural processes (of course, it was with the help of heaven that we experienced the "beginning of our redemption" – "atchalta d'geula." For more than 130 years (starting in 5642-1882, many years before the modern "settlements"), our enemies have refused to recognize our rights to return to the land that belonged to our forefathers, and we have been forced to fight against them. After they failed in their attempts, our evil opponents try to harm the elderly, the women, the young children, and many who are not connected in any way with the armed forces or to the "settlement" movement. They make use of despicable methods which do not differentiate between a warrior or a woman, between a soldier and a student.
We have been taught a vital lesson by the families of Shaer, Yifrah, and Fraenkel – the path of faith, the link with the entire community of Yisrael, and the proper way to cling to the land and to the country. We have been given strength by the revelation of the spiritual power and strengths of these remarkable families. We have learned a valuable lesson of warm support on family and community levels, and we admire the warriors who are spending night and day in their efforts to bring back our children, who are their children too.
With prayer, with unity, and with determination, let us hope for good news.
Bring our Boys Back! Bring our Boys Back!

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