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29.10.2014 17:53    Comments: 0    Categories: Weekly Parashah      Tags: torah shabbat parashah lech lecha  

Message for Today: 

Jewish Victory, from Start to Finish

Two world wars are mentioned in the Bible. One occurred during Abraham’s day, between the four kings and the five. That was a war between two coalitions of evildoers. On the one side were a number of kings including Amrafel, a.k.a. Nimrod, who had rebelled against G-d. On the other side was Bera King of Sodom, who, like his name, was evil [ra] to G-d and evil to man (Rashi on Genesis 14:2).

The other world war will occur in the end of days, that of Gog and Magog. At first, the nations of the world will fight against one another: “Every man’s sword shall be against his brother” (Ezekiel 38:20); “On that day, a great panic from the L-rd shall be among them, and each of them will lay hold on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor” (Zechariah 14:13; Rashi, Malbim).

With both of these world wars, the Jewish People ultimately achieve a resounding victory.

In the first of the two, Abraham defeats Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, and as he returns from the war, the King of Sodom and MalkiTzedek, King of Shalem go forth to Emek Shaveh, the valley of the king, and they bless Abraham (Genesis 14:17). Rashi explains why it is called “Emek Shaveh” [lit., “level valley”]. It is because all the nations were rendered equal [hushvu] there and they crowned Abraham over them as a prince of G-d. They treated him with royal honors and appointed him leader of the nations. They did this not just due to his wisdom and reliability, but because they saw with their own eyes his military might and fortitude.

As noted above, during the other Biblical world war, that of Gog and Magog, described by both Ezekiel (38-39) and Zechariah (14), the nations of the world will fight one another. In the first stage, the conflict will be between Ishmael and Edom (Malbim and other sources), and in the second stage, they will all fight against Israel with the intention of conquering Jerusalem. Even so, they will suffer a terrible defeat, and Israel will enjoy an enormous victory:

Jerusalem shall dwell in security…. The L-rd shall be King over all the earth. On that day, the L-rd shall be one and His name One…. It shall come to pass that everyone that is left of all the nations who came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the L-rd of hosts, and to keep the festival of booths” (Zechariah 14:11,9,16); “Then I will magnify and sanctify Myself, and I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the L-rd” (Ezekiel 38:23).

As is known, in the Kaddish recited by Jews for thousands of years, with the words, “May G-d’s great name be magnified and sanctified,” we have to have in mind also Israel’s being victorious against its enemies, for through this G-d’s name is magnified and sanctified in the world.

Today there are war clouds over the earth. It is a war between Islam, on the one hand, and the western world, under the aegis of the United States, on the other. In the background is the Jewish People, rising to rebirth in the State of Israel. Our ancestors’ deed presage our own. In the first war of history, the nations appointed Abraham to be their president and leader, and gave him the honor of kings. So too in the final war, the war of Gog and Magog, only a resounding victory by Israel over its enemies seeking to banish it from its land and to conquer Jerusalem, like today, will cause the nations of the world to treat Israel with respect:

“All the inhabitants of the world will realize…. That the kingdom is Yours, and to all eternity You will reign in glory…. The L-rd shall be King over the all the earth. On that day [the day of victory], the L-rd shall be One and His name One” (Aleinu prayer).

Looking forward to complete salvation,

Shabbat Shalom.

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