A rocket from Gaza hit the Hesder Yeshivah in Sderot yesterday. No one was hurt, Baruch HaShem. Here is a message from Rabbi Hagai Lundin, who teaches at the Yeshivah, a message that is applicable to every person who deals with crisis and distress: “In this week’s Portion, BeHa’alotcha, appears the verse with which we open the Holy Ark in synagogues until today, every time the Torah scroll is taken out. This is what we declare: ” וַיְהִי בִּנְסֹעַ הָאָרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה: קוּמָה ה’ וְיָפֻצוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ וְיָנֻסוּ מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ מִפָּנֶיךָ.” (“And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said: ‘Rise up, O LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.'”) Why talk about war, enemies and haters when we take the Torah scroll out? On such an occasion we would expect verses of peace. So that’s it, this is exactly the point. At the beginning of the journey of the People of Israel in the desert, when the Torah had just appeared in the world, there was an inevitable war. There were outer and inner struggles. This is how it is with every person: when we want to study, to move forward in life, to implement values we believe in, to settle in the Land of Israel – we must develop coping skills to face a raid of enemies, haters and distractors. We must draw strength from the Torah to cope with the difficulties – for example, in order to live in Sderot and the Gaza-periphery with love and devotion. But this, of course, is not the ideal, final situation. After we get strength and read from the Torah, after we are reminded of the values that guide us, we put the Book back in its place reciting a totally different verse in which we ask: “דְּרָכֶיהָ דַרְכֵי נֹעַם וְכָל נְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ שָׁלוֹם.” (“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”)
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