Evangelical Flash90

There are several different traditions for the writing of a Sefer Torah. There are some letters that are written extra large and some letters written extra small. There is a broken VAV in Parshat Pinchas and two backwards NUNs in B'haalot'cha. And there are words and letters above which it is the minhag to write dots.

There are reasons and speculations about these unusual scribal practices.

It seems clear that the dots above a word are like an asterisk in our own writing. They call our attention to the word.

Eisav ran to meet him, embraced him, fell on his neck, kissed him, and they wept (B'reishit 33:4).

Rashi quotes a B'raita in Sifrei (in Parshat B'haalot'cha, saying that there is dispute as to what the dots are telling to us. Some say that the dots are telling us that the kiss was not sincere. Says R' Shimon bar Yochai: There is a well- known fact of Jewish Life (HALACHA B'YADU'A), that Eisav hates Yaakov. Yet at this moment, Eisav's feelings turned upside down and he kissed Yaakov with a full heart.

It is important to realize that this is not a dispute of entirely opposite opinions. The unnamed 'some' state that the kiss wasn't sincere and Eisav maintained his animosity for Yaakov. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai does not say the opposite. He only argues that at this moment, feelings of brotherly love tempoarily took over. But basically, Eisav always hates Yaakov.

This is true of the Eisavs of the world throughout history and the Yaakovs of the world (the Jewish People). Eisav and grandson Amalek, and descendants of Edom have amply demonstrated this perennial hatred.

So who is right? The Some who say, or the RASHBI?

This is not a machloket with a resolution - they both make valid comments, even though they disagree.

So what are we supposed to do?

After many centuries of being accused of deicide, tortured, murdered, forced to convert, subjected to the Inquisition, pogroms, massacres, the Holocaust... we can testify to the HALACHA B'YADU'A stated by R' Shimon bar Yochai. And global anti-Semitism is sadly alive and well in our time. And continued threats to our existence.

So how do we view the Catholic Church's various apologetic statements over the last number of decades? And how are we supposed to react to Evangelical Christian support of Israel? And how are we to feel about peace treaties between Arab countries - be they Egypt and Jordan of years back or the new slew of agreements with the UAE and Bahrain, with other countries possibly to follow suit?

I certainly don't have the answers. I wonder who does. But I think we need to take both sides of RASHBI's opinion into account.

Do these countries and groups who claim to be so supportive of Israel have their own agenda? To be sure. Do they kiss Yaakov with all their heart? I won't say what I feel is the answer.

Bottom line - we must never let our guard down. We must never be totally complacent with the turn of events. Should we accept the hug and kiss and whaetever else is involved. Perhaps, but with caution.

And a strong amount of trust, faith, and confidence in G-d's promises of protec- tion of His People.

My goal in this DT was not to dictate the way we should view the long history of the world vis-a-vis the Jewish people. I just wanted to put the Six Dots into the spotlight so you and your family and friends can bring the topic up and have fruitful discussions about it.

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