Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Rabbi Nachman KahanaCourtesy

After the exodus from Egypt, our ancestors wandered in the desert for 40 years before entering the holy land.

Knowing our nation’s dynamic and robust characteristics there must have been many adventures and challenges in those years; when in fact, the Torah does not make any reference to what occurred during the middle 38 years.

After the death of Yehoshua bin Nun there began a 400-year period led by Shoftim (judges) beginning with Otniel ben Kenaz and ending with the death of Eli the Kohen Gadol who served in the Mishkan of Shiloh. Like the five books of Torah, the book of Shoftim shares relatively few events of the times.

From the “miserly” amount of historical information in the Tanach, one can conclude that the information that is recorded was chosen because of its implications for the future, as stated in the Gemara (Megila 14a) that over the years there were many illustrious individuals who experienced prophecies, but only those prophecies that had relevance for future times were recorded in the 24 books of the Tanach.

I want to share with you episodes in the lives of two judges - Devorah and Shimshon (Samson).

Devorah, chapter 4 of the book of Shoftim

The fourth in the line of Judges following Otniel, Ehud, and Shamgar was Devorah. During her time the Jews were under the oppressive rule of Yavin king of Chatzor and his general Sisra.

Following a prophecy, she sent for Barak ben Abinoam to raise an army composed of the northern tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun to defeat the Canaanite oppressors. After a miraculous victory, she voiced the beautiful “Song (ode, a lyric poem that celebrates an individual or happening) of Devora.” It begins with praise for our heroic soldiers who fought and defeated a far larger military force.

Devorah then goes on to rebuke and repeat the heavenly curse put on the people of the city of Maroz which was situated on the eastern side of the Jordan river. They claimed that because of the distance, they were not obligated to join their fellow Jews who fought on the western side of the river.

What I glean from the anger and resentment voiced by Devorah to those who stood by when the nation was in danger that has implications for our time, are our fellow Jews in the galut who see this war relevant only to the Jews in Israel.

I call upon the youth in the galut who value their Judaism and are a few hours flying time from the Medina to put their careers on hold and volunteer as soldiers in Tzahal. I would believe so even if the war was restricted to the citizens of the Medina, but so much more so now that this war has implication for Jews the world over. For wherever you live, just around the corner there are Moslems who are Hamas-niks who would not hesitate to do to you what was perpetrated here on the day of Shmini Atzeret.

This is a war that will touch every Jewish home, bet knesset, yeshiva and Jewish community center; it’s just a matter of time. Hamas has to be eliminated here like the head of a snake that must be cut off from its body.

There must be an organized movement to bring young Jews here to fill the ranks of Tzahal which must increase its numbers in light of the many challenges facing us.

Shimshon (Samson) book of Shoftim chapter 13

Shimson, the physically strongest of all men, ended up as a pitiful, weakened mortal man, after his wife, Delilah, revealed to the Philistines the secret of his strength. They tortured and blinded him. They humiliated, debased, and humbled him and he became a shadow of what he was.

On the last day of his life, he was brought to the pagan temple where he was dehumanized in front of three thousand exhilarating goyim. He stood between two massive central pillars which held up the temple’s roof. With his last breaths he prayed to Hashem to restore to him his unnatural strength in order to bring down the building and kill thousands of Philistines. Slowly he felt his muscles becoming alive again, and at the last moment he cried out,

“Let me die with the Philistines.”

The building collapsed and 3000 goyim died together with the Shofet Shimshon.

BS”D A piece of good advice that appears in many Jewish sources

“Let your ears hear what your mouth is saying”.

Meaning before you utter a stupid statement consider the implications of your words.

This week, the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell urged the Union’s members and the US to halt all military help to Israel on the assertion that “too many Gazans are being killed”.

It sounds nice and worthy of the verse “love thy neighbor as thyself”, pointing to President Biden’s comment that Israel’s military achievements are “over the top”, meaning they are exaggerated. The comments came on the same day a Dutch court ruled that the Netherlands stop delivering parts for Israel’s F-35 fighter jets.

Were I less suspicious of all Europeans, it would never have entered my mind that the intent behind this humanitarian proposal is actually to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state. However, after 2000 years of living with the Christians, our Jewish reflexes have been sensitized “to smell a rat” even when wrapped in Dutch tulips.

Mr. Borell let me take you down the road of “make believe” what it means to deprive the State of Israel with the means to defend itself.

Israel will live forever, but not because of you and your friends, but because the Almighty will not let its destruction happen. However, let’s suppose Israel runs out of the means to defend itself, and the many millions of our Arab enemies take advantage of the situation and come to tear Israel apart; what will the Jewish State do?

Go out to the streets holding white flags? Gather together at the kotel and prepare to die? NO!

All Jews in Israel are in fact soldiers, and we all share the Samson syndrome that if there will not be an Israel there will not be a world.

“Let me die with the Philistines.”

The State of Israel will never come to the point of Shimshon, because when push comes to shove, we will use all the weapons at our disposal to kill our enemies.

The second nation in the world after the US to use atomic weapons could be Israel, and the third and fourth would be Russia and Iran to destroy Europe.

The world has a vested interest in making sure that Israel is never brought to the point where we feel the Samson syndrome, and let no fool ever raise the issue of weakening the Jewish State.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Nachman Kahanais a Torah scholar, author, teacher and lecturer, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, Co-founder of the Temple Institute, Co-founder of Atara Leyoshna – Ateret Kohanim, was rabbi of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem for 32 years, and is the author of the 15-volume “Mei Menuchot” series on Tosefot, and 3-volume “With All Your Might: The Torah of Eretz Yisrael in the Weekly Parashah” (2009-2011), and “Reflections from Yerushalayim: Thoughts on the Torah, the Land and the Nation of Israel” (2019) as well as weekly parasha commentary available where he blogs at http://NachmanKahana.com