Helping others is an art — knowing what needs to be done, and being able to do it.
Giving a hungry person food is straightforward.
But what if two people are fighting, and each one asks for your help. If you help one, you’re hurting the other. Who do you help?
It’s like travelling for days on a ship. All you see is water. You have no idea which way to go. Fortunately, the ship’s captain has navigating tools, and is able to steer the ship in the right direction.
Israel and Hamas are fighting. On social media and college campuses, people are taking opposing sides. How do you decide who is right?
Those who support Hamas claim that Israel is an occupier, a colonizer, and is therefore an unjust oppressor. And, they argue, when someone is an oppressor, then anything you do to stop the oppressor is justified. (The end justifies the means.)
How do you argue against that?
You look in the Torah, which G-d, the Creator of the world, gave us. And you know how to navigate.
1. The commentator Rashi asks, why did the Torah begin with the story of creation? (Torah means instruction. The Torah tell us what G-d’s commandments are, what we need to do. So the Torah should have begun with the first commandment.)
And Rashi answers, it’s important to know that G-d created everything. So that if non-Jews claim (as many are doing now) that the Jews stole the land of Israel, we can answer, that G-d created and owns everything. He decided to first give the land of Israel to others, and later he took it away from them, and gave it to the Jewish people.
So the Jewish people are not unlawful occupiers. G-d, Who owns everything, gave it to us.
2. The Torah, which forbids murder, allows and requires killing in self-defence. Which is what Israel is doing.
As Israel defeats and destroys Hamas, as many world leaders support Israel and suppress antisemitism (including, as we have recently seen, that congress and influential people are now in the process of effecting positive change on college campuses in the U.S.), we look forward to G-d’s continued blessings and salvation, especially as we commemorate the miraculous days of Chanukah, when we increasingly light up the outside darkness by adding another candle each night, until we will soon see the complete Redemption, when the world will be completely illuminated with awareness of G-d’s presence, and we will see a world of light, happiness, and peace.
May it happen very soon.