Biblical Readiness

Time and again we are confronted with anti-Semitism, unwarranted hatred and evil; Mumbai, Pittsburgh, Poway and many other tragic hits.

Am Yisroel Chai. We are one. We are here to stay. We will not buckle nor succumb. Almighty G-d does not sleep nor slumber. He protects the Jewish people and watches over us moreso than any human guard.

We are armed with Mezuzot, Tefillin and the overwhelming light of Jewish women’s Neirot Shabbat. Yet, the Torah teaches that we are humans in physical bodies and we must live responsibly in nature, as well.

There are differing viewpoints to our response in these unsettling times. I believe in the mode of David and Goliath. We go as King David, small and humble, but armored with Thillim, Psalms of David, together with ammunition. Being a minority is not our shortcoming. Like every Israeli soldier knows, our cause is our might. Hashem goes with us in battle and He fights.

There is a key episode in Torah, Parshat Toldot, when Esau and Jacob, twin brothers, butt heads, for all times, until Moshiach. Their father Isaac, who is blind seeks to bless Esau, in his old age. He asks his son to prepare a delectable dish just as he likes. Rivkah, our matriach, overhears her husband Isaac and seeks the Blessing for her pious Jacob. She dresses Jacob in the outdoor clothing of his brother Esau together with fur skins. Issac realizes something seems different. He proclaims, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, and the hands are the hands of Esau.” He then Blesses Jacob with the ultimate heartfelt of fatherly blessings, ours as a nation, for eternity. When Esau returns from the field with his prepared meat dish and realizes that he missed the opportunity, he is enraged. From here on in, Esau hates Jacob.

Why is the Torah relating this one time event to us, besides for its historical significance?

Our sages taught, “Maaseh Avot Siman Labanim”- Actions of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs are a sign for their children, for all generations.

We the Jewish people are a peaceful people; of the book, of their voice. But when our life depends on it, when there is a holy purpose for self-defense, we need to gird ourselves and be prepared for war.

In light of the turbulence against the Jewish people wherever they may be in the diaspora, we need to follow the lead of our matriach Rivkah. When our lives are at stake we all need to make an exception and let our voices ring with a battlecry. It is necessary to enclothe like Esau with defense weapons to protects ourselves and our communities. Albeit, in a quiet subtle way, we need to take action to be ready.

About the Author
Rochel Kaplan is a communal leader. She is involved in Jewish outreach in the Maryland region, promoting adult Jewish education based on Torah teachings and Chassidic philosophy, as a guide for Jewish life.