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A Message from Sderot

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
BatEl Segev has lived in Sderot, near the Gaza Strip, for eight years, and has endured numerous missile attacks during that time. A few days ago, at precisely the moment she had arranged to study Torah with a group of friends, a siren indicating that missiles could be coming towards Sderot was sounded. They studied anyway and BatEl sent me an idea that was raised during their discussion:
“We have been reading Torah portions about the patrirachs and matriarchs of Am Yisrael and, according to our sages, we are supposed to ask ourselves, ‘When will my deeds rise to the level of my ancestors’ deeds?’. We are obligated to emulate them and, for example, we are supposed to learn from Yaakov Avinu, about whom the verse says: ‘Yaakov was a wholesome man, dwelling in tents.’ Yaakov did not run after external things until he had developed as a person and built a tent, a home, a foundation for future growth.Yaakov knew the rule regarding tzedakah that ‘the poor of your own city come first.’ The first priority is to take care of your inner circle. Before worrying about those starving in other parts of the world, we need to give a tasty dinner to our own children. It’s a lot easier to do things in the world out there, especially when you get admiration and applause for your efforts. At home, we don’t get any applause for folding the laundry, much less for raising our children with tireless daily devotion - our children, those precious souls entrusted to our care by G-d. As opposed to Yaakov, Esav is ‘a man of the field.’ A field is an open area without borders. It’s different from Yaakov’s tent that has four unmistakable canvas boundaries that separate the outside from the inside. Esav has no borders or restraint when it comes to food, women, lust, or murder. His lack of restraint impairs his judgment to the point where he sells his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup. In the end, the wholesome brother who sat in his tent and built a spiritual world had much more influence than the brother who went out to conquer the world by physical means.”


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