Areyah Kaltmann

Yahya Sinwar vs. Moses

This week a video of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, trailing behind his brother, wife and children, walking in a tunnel below the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis was released.

It is very revealing because it shows more than just a family’s escape from a war that Sinwar created. The date of the video is October 10th and while his people—the civilians Sinwar is supposed to protect remain exposed above the ground—he, their cowardly leader, is shielded by the safety and protection of a tunnel. 

Contrast this with the profile of  a Jewish leader that is commanded to go to the front line of battle and lead his troops onto victory. Rashi (in parashat Pinchas 27:17) states that Moses, Joshua and David refused to remain in the safety of their homes, while they dispatched their armies to war. A leader shows his troops and for that matter the world – that he is with his men, vulnerable but committed to fighting the war that he is charged to lead. Sinwar can’t even lead his very own family and needs his young infants to lead him to safety.
When Moses first ascended to Jewish leadership and was attacked by the first bully nation of Amalek, he sits exposed on a rock, with his hands stretched to the heavens to encourage his troops to remember G-d during battle. Rashi asks why couldn’t Moshe be seated in a more comfortable way, after all this was a long struggle and rocks are no fun to be perched on. Rashi answers that Moses refused to be pampered by luxury while his army was  fighting for their very survival. Moses—whose birthday and Yahrzeit are both on today’s Hebrew date of 7 Adar—symbolically sat on a rock to show his army that he felt their pain and they were never alone in the fight for their very survival.
As our brothers and sisters in Israel live under the constant barrage of missiles they have to know that their ultimate Commander In Chief, G-d, isn’t hiding but rather HE is with them in their pain. 
Let’s hope and pray that G-d will take all of us out of our suffering once and for all with the coming of Moshiach very soon!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann

About the Author
Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann is the Director of Chabad Columbus at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center. For over three decades, Rabbi Kaltmann and his wife Esther have put their heart and soul into serving the Columbus Jewish community. In addition to directing Chabad Columbus, the Rabbi and his family also operate LifeTown Columbus — which teaches essential life skills to more than 2,100 Ohio students with special needs in a 5,000-square-foot miniature city, Kitchen of Life — which fosters social-emotional skills for young people through culinary arts, Friendship Circle Columbus, the Jewish Business Network, and dozens of other programs. Areyah and Esther have adult children who serve Chabad of Downtown Columbus, oversee Chabad’s many programs and enthusiastically serve people throughout the state.