In Parshat Vayishlach, when Yaaakov heard that Esav was approaching him with four hundred men (Breisheet 32:8-9) “Yaakov was frightened and distressed. He divided the people that were with him along with the sheep, cattle and camels into two camps. He said ‘If Esav comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining camp will survive.’”

God already promised Yaakov that he had nothing to worry about so why was he distressed and afraid?

According to Rashi Yaakov feared that he may be killed and he was distressed that he might kill others.

Those who are living in Israel during these difficult times understand where Yaakov was coming from when he was afraid. When you have male and female terrorists as young as eleven years old attempting to stab innocent people with knives and scissors on the street, on the train or on a bus, the situation can be frightening. When you have drivers purposely trying to run over innocent people who are waiting at a bus stop it is not a surprise that people worry every time they need to take a bus. When rocks as big as cinder blocks are thrown at cars for no reason other than the fact that the kids throwing the rocks want to see Israelis dead it can make people nervous to drive on certain roads.

The Israeli soldiers, police and others who carry a weapon also understand where Yaakov was coming from when he was distressed. Israeli security personnel and those who carry weapons don’t want to have to use them. They are distressed about the fact that if a terrorist approaches them they may have to kill them. However, they know that Jewish law teaches us self defense, if someone comes to kill you, you need to kill them first.

Yaakov was afraid and distressed but he didn’t just worry. He was proactive. He divided the group in half to make sure that at least some, if not all of his family would be saved. He offered gifts to Esav, prayed and prepared for war.

Israel is concerned about the current situation just as Yaakov was. Just as Yaakov was proactive, so are we. Security has been tightened and many attacks have been thwarted. Israelis are still going on with their daily routines, just with a little more caution. Just as Yaakov prayed, we are praying for peace and for a full recovery for those who have been injured. And Israel has a strong army which is prepared for war if the need arises.

May we have peace in the State of Israel & throughout the world!