Moshe Kempinski, author of "The Teacher and the Preacher", is the editor of the Jerusalem Insights weekly email journal and co-owner of Shorashim, a Biblical shop and learning center in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The thought that anything in this world is random is the spiritual antithesis to a Divinely created and directed world. The purpose of the faithful is to connect the dots and look for heavenly direction. This is true of all of creation but is especially true of the Jewish people.
In the words of Isaiah the prophet;
"You are my witnesses," declares Hashem, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.( Isaiah 43:10)
All the major events in the life of this people, then, become a clear and dramatic statement from the heavens. Listening to those “Divine statements” and understanding the hidden subtext has been critical in surviving the long and arduous walk of this people.
As it was with the spies that Moshe sent , the Eshkol region becomes a test of faith and purposeful steadfastness. This region was prominent during the painful and mistaken expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif in 2005 and it continued to be prominent in all the subsequent altercations and operations in the Gaza strip that resulted from the expulsion.
It is mainly into this region that rockets have been fired and it is in this area many precious souls have been snuffed out by terror. All this happening during the same days of the calendar year wherein the spies sent by Moses caused the rest of the people to fall into fear and failure. The wheel of history continues to turn.
When Moses sums up his journey with his people in the book of Deuteronomy, he reminds them of this failure. He does so with the hope that mistakes will be corrected as the cycle of Jewish history returns the people back into similar situations and tests.
“And all of you approached me and said, "Let us send men ahead of us so that they will search out the land for us and bring us back word by which route we shall go up, and to which cities we shall come. And the matter pleased me; so I took twelve men from you, one man for each tribe. And they turned and went up to the mountain, and they came to the valley of Eshkol and spied it out.( Deuteronomy 1:22-24)
The spies then gathered the abundant produce but mistook its meaning. The spies declared to the people that they had encountered "A people greater and taller than we; cities great and fortified up to the heavens, and we have even seen the sons of Anakim there."
The danger of falling into that same fear exists today.
It is the Israeli government that will have to decide how far to take this current operation and what needs to be done in our long struggle against evil and terrorism. Regardless of their decision it seems to be clear regrettably that at this time Hamas will not be completely vanquished.
Yet it is important to remember that it seems that from the Eternal destiny perspective this war seemed to be less about destroying Hamas than it was about strengthening and unifying the people of Israel for the challenges ahead.
Much has been done by the incredible sacrifice of our courageous and selfless boys to protect the men women and children of this land. The horrific plan of the mass massacre planned on Rosh Hashanah was thwarted along with so many myriads of other murderous plans. Yet the battle is far from over.
Am Yisrael, the People of Israel, need to gather the strength to go on with the knowledge that they are a different people of Israel than they were a mere month ago. We have come together in ways that we have not seen in a very long time. We have shown love concern and faith in with a passion that has been missing in the hearts of many in our land for many years. The People of Israel are being prepared for something dramatic and empowering.
As a result we need to remember Hashem’s promise as well ;
And I said to you, "Do not be broken or afraid of them.30. Hashem, your G-d, Who goes before you He will fight for you, just as He did for you in Egypt before your very eyes,( ibid:29)
Lerefuat yehidit bat Golda Yocheved