Kenneth Cohen

How to Face Our Enemies

The Torah uses two words expressing Yakov’s fear of facing Eisav. It says both ויירא and ויצר, that express such fear.

Rashi explains that ויירא was the fear that he would be killed. The ויצר is the fear that he will be forced to kill others. This is similar to the famous statement made by Golda Meir. “We can forgive you for killing our sons, but we cannot forgive you, for making us kill your sons.”

It is important to reiterate the fact that we are not motivated to fight our enemy because of our hatred of them. The motivation needs to come out of love for our people and homeland. This elevates the level of our army.

The current situation is one that was certainly not able to be anticipated. Our soldiers have the constant realization of what is at stake. The vision of the atrocities and the pain suffered by our Jewish brethren, creates a passion in our army.

They have a clear understanding of what we are fighting for. Of course, we wish things could have been different. We naively tried everything possible to avoid this situation. We paid a heavy price avoiding the inevitable.

We allowed Western values to replace Torah values. We refused to accept the warnings years ago of Rabbi Meir Kahane, when he tried to make it clear the painful reality of those wishing to destroy us.

Yakov Avinu was a simple, peace loving individual. But he taught us that we must face our enemies, and not delude ourselves. We are not happy about having to kill “their sons.” But our love of our people, our G-d, and our Torah, demands this of us. Our very survival depends on this.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at