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.
In the Torah portion of Re’eh , Hashem admonishes the people of Israel to make the right choices.
“Re’eh – See, I give you today a blessing and a curse.” (Deuteronomy 11:26)
The war that Israel has been fighting during these hot days of the summer of 2014 has not been against an enemy state but rather against a fanatical cult of hate and terror.
None of the rules apply.
“Re’eh – See, I give you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, that you will listen (heed) the commandments of Hashem your G-d, which I command you today; and the curse, if you will not listen (heed) the commandments of Hashem your G-d." (ibid 11:26-28)
One is struck by the use of the verbs “to see” and “to listen” in the same declaration. Those are clearly not similar actions and they bespeak different spiritual experiences as well.
The Sefat Emet writes;
"...hearing and seeing are two different things, the one unlike the other. For one who sees, perceives the seen object in perfect manner as it is without any change. But one who hears - the sound changes as it enters his ears and is no longer as it had been sounded. This is the advantage of seeing. Hearing has an advantage in that it brings that which is heard inside the person himself by way of the ear, while seeing is from the outside." (Sefat Emet, Shavu’ot, 5635)
Yet our Torah portipon is telling us that boths seeing and hearing are critical for true understanding
Our “sight” is accosted with a totality of what is before our eyes. We see many things at exactly the same time. In some ways, we have a sense that we are able to comprehend “the full picture“ of an event at one instant in time. Seeing gives us the sense of the reality around us
But to listen is to understand and to spiritually absorb on a deeper level. Our sense of hearing necessitates absorbing the experience in a sequential fashion. Listening is a physical action perceives the world in a comprehensible fashion and it does so with sensitivity to the nuances of sound and melody. We not only hear the particulars sounds but sense the emotions connected to them as well.” Hear o Israel Hashem is G-d Hashem is one:”
Yet our Torah portipon is telling us that boths seeing and hearing are critical for true understanding, as Isaiah tells us
”In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.” (Isaiah 29:18)
We are in the midst of a battle with a horde of killers. If we simply see the situation as it is, our immediate response is either to simply go in and destroy the enemy, come what may, or try to “reason with an enemy that we see has been so badly bruised and battered.
Yet there is a third approach that may or may not be the approach that Netanyahu and his inner cabinet has embarked upon. Listening to the subtext and the nuances in our realty one comes to the conclusion that one can never succeed against an enemy that thrives on death, terror and destruction. That is unless one is ready and capable to totally obliterate them.
In a reality bereft of prophets or Divine imperatives, that option may prove to be impossible and irrational. However, it remains open as an option of last resort.
The other option of negotiating, deliberating and compromising will never work with a “death cult” like Hamas, Isis or the Muslim Brotherhood. Any compromise will be seen as failure and every small gain is simply another step in their maniacal plan of world dominance.
What this government seems to be doing ,whether consciously or not, is opting for stretching the conflict until the terror “oxygen supply “ is depleted and the missile and weapon caches dwindle. This may be why both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yaalon speak of the need for fortitude and perseverance for the long battle needed to vanquish the surrounded and isolated terror entity called Hamas.
This is a very difficult choice, especially for the families living on the front line as I, with family living in Ashdod, am very much aware. Yet at this point on our walk of destiny wherein we need to walk a fine line so as not to lose our perceptual compass nor disrupt our own weapon supply lines the choices have been minimized and more clouded.
Divine advice is offered:
“However, if you hearken to the voice of Hashem, your G-d, to be careful to do all this commandment, which I am commanding you today.For Hashem, your G-d, has blessed you, as He spoke to you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. ( Deuteronomy 5:15-16)
In a time of Hester Panim ( the Hiding of G-d’s face) that is an awareness that many in Israel will still have to come to understand . In the meantime, we are promised by Hashem that we are His children.
“You are children of Hashem your G-d (14:1).
May He give our leaders and all His children the wisdom to make the right choices
Lerefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved