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Our enemies and us

לזכר החיילים

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Two verses from the Torah portion we read on Shabbat morning explain concisely our way of acting in the world and, by contrast, the way of our enemies.

The first verse simply describes what the Palestinians do: “And all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Avraham his father — the Philistines stuffed them up and filled them with earth.”

The Philistines stopped up with earth the wells that Avraham, Yitzchak’s father, had dug. It’s not just that our enemies don’t build or do anything positive for themselves; they destroy what we have built. They could have transformed Gaza into Singapore and instead chose to bring misery to themselves and horrible suffering to us. How symbolic is the image of a stuffed up well since this action deprives the evil doers of water too. But nothing matters to them more than bringing terror and destruction to their neighbors.

But later we read the following verse: “And Isaac again dug the wells of water which were dug in the days of his father, Avraham, and the Philistines had stopped them up after Avraham’s death; and he gave them names that his father had given them.”

This is one of the most beautiful verses in the Torah. It reflects what is happening now in Israel, especially in the communities on the Gaza periphery. Yitzchak got up one morning and saw that the wells which his father had dug were stuffed up with earth. The natural reaction to such a situation would be to despair. What can be said or done when your life’s work has been destroyed? But Yitzchak returns and digs the same wells and gives them the same names given them by his father.

What can be done regarding the destruction in Nahal Oz? The answer, from ancient times until today, is the same: Dig the wells of life-sustaining water once again. The pioneers of the first generation — such as Avraham — did this with a gleam in their eyes, with great fervor and a sense of renewal. Out of the ashes, the next generation will rebuild with the same passion and commitment.

Shavua tov and may we hear an abundance of good news.


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