Compassion and Truth/Hatred and Murder: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Toldot 5775
Parashat Toldot 5775
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Compassion and Truth
The prophet Micha (7,20) requests from HaShem:
תתן אמת ליעקב חסד לאברהם אשר נשבעת לאבתינו מימי קדם:
Show Your truth to Ya’akov (fulfill Your truthful promise to Ya’akov that his descendants will be as multifold as the soil, in the merit of Ya’akov’s quality of truth) and show compassion to Abraham (in the merit of Avraham’s quality of compassion) as you pledged on oath to our ancestors (to Yitzchak at Mount Moriah) in days long ago.
Micha is informing us that Avraham was the master of compassion and Ya’akov the master of truth. However, the reality of Avraham’s and Ya’akov’s lives, as recorded in the few incidences in the Torah, seemingly does not substantiate this assessment.
In fact, in several of the incidents in Avraham’s biography we find a gross lack of compassion. Avraham banished Hagar and Yishmael to the wilderness and was prepared to sacrifice his beloved son Yitzchak. Avraham even embarked on a deadly war against four kings.
Ya’akov’s life is not a testimony to pure truth. Ya’akov took advantage of his brother’s hunger to receive the rights of the firstborn. He acted perfidiously when posing as Aisav in order to receive his brother’s blessings, and seemingly deceived Lavan more than once.
So how could the prophet Micha hold up Avraham as the virtuous symbol of compassion and Ya’akov as the virtuous symbol of truth?
The Creator tests His righteous children just at the very point of their greatest resistance. Avraham’s greatest virtue was his compassion and love of man, as attested to by his hospitality towards all strangers who happened to pass his way. So HaShem commanded Avraham to subjugate his most passionate quality of compassion in the service of HaShem by making war, by sending Hagar and Yishmael into the wilderness and to sacrifice his beloved son Yitzchak by his own hands. That was the will of HaShem even when it ran counter to Avraham’s most basic moral orientation of chesed and compassion.
Ya’akov was the personification of emet – truth. He was the ultimate “ben Torah” who did not stray from the dictates of Halacha in the tent of Hashem. HaShem brings Ya’akov to the point of ultimate resistance where Ya’akov is commanded to subjugate his most basic instinct of truth to deceive his brother and his father in the service of the higher truth of HaShem.
These were challenges of the highest order when Avraham and Ya’akov were challenged to compromise their most moral and holy consciences to serve HaShem, even when they did not understand why they were being told to do so.
Authentic Halachic Jews share three common qualities, as stated in many of our holy sources, we are:
רחמנים ביישנים וגומלי חסדים
Naturally compassionate, humble and seek to perform deeds of loving kindness.
Cruelty, brutality, malice, callousness, ferocity, and sadism define the gentile, not the Jew. Behind almost every societal initiative in the world stands a Jew, whether it is acknowledged or not.
Hatred and Murder
There is an ever growing wave of brutality stemming from the Arabs in Eretz Yisrael towards the Jewish people. Just this morning, on the 25th of Cheshvan, two Arabs with Israeli citizenship entered a bet knesset in the Har Nof neighborhood of Yerushalayim with guns and knives and murdered at random 4 Jews, wounding another 8, and causing 24 children to suddenly be without their fathers.
This murderous incident follows on the wake of others which claimed of late the lives of many Jews. The Arabs, in addition to their religious beliefs that Jews have no place in the Holy Land, are emboldened and inspired by the inhumane actions of ISIS and other Islamic groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to be more aggressive and murderous in their path to global Jihad.
Although the majority of Arabs here have not partaken in acts of violence, none of them are far away from crossing the line to sadistic murder, be it their sisters, wives and anyone who gets in their way.
The State of Israel was founded on the basic pillars of democracy and equal human rights. All citizens, be they Jew, Moslem, Druze etc., are equal before the law. No Arab in any of their 22 countries has the rights and privileges which are extended to the Arabs in Israel.
However, things have changed. The hatred spewed out daily from the mouths of their teachers, imams, mass media etc., has created a generation of Arabs whose daily diet consists of hating the Jew. Not every Arab will take a kitchen knife and put it into the back of a Jew walking in the street, but every Arab in the Medina exults in these acts and honors the perpetrators with the soubriquet Shahid – martyr.
As these acts increase in number and ferocity a change will come about in the thinking of our people and leaders. That when it is a question of life or death, we or them, the children of Yitzchak vs. the children of Yishmael, democratic principles must be suspended in the name of the ultimate goal of remaining alive.
Indeed, we are by nature compassionate, humble and seekers of deeds of loving kindness.
However, HaShem has not brought us here after 2000 years of galut, to die in the name of democracy and equal rights when dealing with a religion of psychotic murderers who believe in a god that lusts for the blood of the “kofer”.
With every passing day it becomes clear to more and more people that we and Islam cannot live together. Our mother Sarah had it right when she requested that Avraham send Yishmael away; it was an indication for her children 3500 years later of the path we have to take when dealing with the pereh adam – the wild beast of Yishmael.
We have to adopt a mindset that will permit us in clear conscience to do everything necessary to guarantee the survival and thriving of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael. For if we falter, no compassion will be extended to us by the Arabs and there will not be another chance.