Amid the heart-rending price that we are paying in the current chapter of our war of survival (that began in 1948), we shall read in this week's Torah portion the dramatic chapter of the birth of our nation and the destruction of our enemies in Egypt long ago.
The Jewish people are not a one-time episode as shown time and again.
Defying normal deterministic cycles of history, the Jewish people confound the world in every generation.
From its first appearance, the Jewish people challenged those who believe it is their job to enforce the laws of history and to finally erase the anomaly that is the Jewish people.
Not surprisingly, it is those who most clearly represent evil that lead the charge against the Jewish people in every generation.
For those like Pharaoh, the Church, the UN Court of Justice, Iran, Hamas, Harvard, the BBC,., the Jewish people are an insufferable phenomenon
From the beginning of Israel's appearance as a people, evil in each generation challenges that which represents God's expectation for humanity. They raged in battle against this stubborn annoyance.
Nothing has changed since the Egyptian chariots sank to the bottom of the Red Sea.
The Torah tells us that the ten plagues that brought destruction to Egypt differentiated between Jews and Egyptians. One might ask, surely there were good Egyptians and not-so-good Jews in Egypt at the time.
Was it not unfair and discriminatory to inflict collective punishment upon innocent civilians? Was every individual Egyptian at fault?
Why, during the plague of the firstborn did even the lowliest servant or prisoner suffer the same fate as the evil Pharaoh?
Our rabbis tell us that none of the above shed a tear for the suffering of their Jewish neighbors. Did Egyptian children celebrate and receive sweets when Jews were killed as they do in Gaza, Judea Samaria, and parts of New Jersey? Probably.
Our commentators have all grappled with the question of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart.
Did hardening Pharaoh's heart not contradict the basic Jewish principle of free will and the power of repentance?
Many answers are offered but I saw one lately that relates well to our battle against evil today.
The punishment of Egypt was not an individual affair. God did not instruct Moshe to seek and arrest the extremists or radicals and bring them to trial.
This was a historical judgment predicated upon a very long period of national behavior, This reckoning was not personal. It would serve as a precedent in the battles of good versus evil for all time. It is how good battles evil.
Surely there must have been a few good Egyptians during the centuries of harsh Jewish servitude,
The hardening of Pharaoh's heart was necessary to deliver historic justice. to an entire society that represented something very clear.
The God of history decided that there were no innocent Egyptian bystanders in the society that was so thoroughly indoctrinated in evil. Sodom is a classic example.
Closer to home, Churchill and Roosevelt felt the same about other societies, deeply indoctrinated to evil, They did not wage war against the Nazi party or even the armed forces of that nation but rather the entire nation that embraced the evil.
They probably read their Bible.
Israel's leaders have tragically followed the opposite teachings of the Torah when dealing with the evil society dedicated to our destruction.
Ou leadership has long insisted we are fighting extremist individuals and not an evil enemy nation. Sweet talk, bravado, wishful thinking, or bribes have been their tools in fighting evil.
This leadership has convinced themselves that our friends are our enemies and that our enemies are our friends. (the prophet said that in the end of times good will be called evil and evil will be called good)
Before October 7, former deputy of the Shabak (secret service) Mr. Ben Barak said that the "noar hagvaot" (young idealist settlers in the land of Israel known as "hilltop youth" and disparaged in the leftist media) are a bigger threat than Hamas. Yes, he really said that
Let us pray that Israel's leaders are attending synagogue during these weeks of the Exodus story and begin to understand how to battle evil.
Destroy, conquer, expel, settle, annex.
Read all about it in our Torah.
[email protected]is a well known tour guide and author of"Jews, Israelis and Arabs"