Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Not by Chariots or Horses.” As I watched through the window of the synagogue, the people practicing their boxing, I remembered when I was young and learning to fight. It took an enormous amount of training, hard work, and practice, and still at the end of the day, the realization always that we are but the foot soldiers for G-d. We must be the best prepared in every way that we can (“Never again!”); however, it is G-d who not only leads us, but also fights for us. In the Prophets (Joshua 6), we learn that Hashem literally brought down the walls of the great city of Jericho simply by having Joshua and the Israelites march around it, blow the Shofar, and yell a great shout. So too may G-d continue to fight for us against the enemies in our time and speedily complete the final redemption.
While people can easily utter falsehoods, like Iran saying that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, the documents and computer drives that Israel captured in 2016 when they courageously raided Iran’s nuclear archive shows that Iran has been pursuing a dangerous nuclear weapons program for decades.
The world has tried to contain Iran for decades: From monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities through the IAEA, to sanctions and covert actions to deter and set back Iran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and the JCPOA deal to try to contain Iran’s march to nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, nothing has worked, and Iran is intent on getting the bomb.
Moreover, while the costs of a preemptive attack on Iran could be great, the doctrine from former Prime Minister, Menachem Begin that Israel cannot and will not allow countries that threaten Israel’s existence to get the means to carry it out is as true today as in 1981 when Israel took out Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Osirak.
The Jewish people learned from 2,000 years in exile and persecution ending in the Holocaust that killed six million Jews that we must take verbal threats of annihilation supported by facts on the ground against us most seriously. As children of the Holocaust survivors, we must be true to our words of “Never again” and act with courage and determination to confront the enemy covertly and if necessary, with overt action to stop their genocidal pursuit from ever getting off the ground. (Credit Photo: via https://www.flickr.com/photos/aeneastudio/3657735814 by aeneastudio and adapted by Andy Blumenthal)
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, Sheep No More.
In thinking about sacrifices as animal substitution for consequences to man, we can also reverse this logic to explore what sacrifices can teach us about consequences to man in their relationship to the Jewish people. In this particular case, I am thinking about Jewish responses to those who desire to be our friends and want to build kind and productive relationships with us or the opposite, to our enemies, who seek to persecute, attack us, and make the Jews their korban, victims.
In short, traditional korbanot in the Temple can teach us not only about how animals can substitute for people in our sacrifices to G-d for thanksgiving, communion, and acknowledging of consequences and teshuva (repentance) for our wrongdoing, but also how the Jewish people can relate to the nations of the world in everything from full peace, positive engagement, acts of guilt and sin against us, and even full-fledged war. Sacrifices teach us that while peace is always the desired state and fiery war a last resort in our self-defense and preservation, we know that after thousands of years of anti-Semitism, persecution, and Holocaust, we are no longer the sacrificial lamb on anyone’s Temple altar. (Source Photo: Pixabay Free Image)
From Antifa on the alt-left burning our cities this past summer to the storming of the Capitol this week by a mixed group, including those on the extreme right, a friend sent me this photo of the protester with a shirt that says “6MWE”. Unbelievably, it means: Six Million Wasn’t Enough! I can only imagine our martyred men, women, and children from the Holocaust just over 75 years ago, rolling over in the graves at this disgusting, anti-Semitic and genocidal insignia.
To those evil haters who dare say 6MWE, I say: Am Yisrael Chai and absolutely Never Again!
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Forever Together: Peace and Security.”
For Israel, we’re turning the corner towards peace and how wonderful it is, yet even as we do, we must never relax on the safety and security of our people.
Yes, in earnest, we hope for peace, we crave it, and we even sacrifice (sometimes painfully) for it, but also we know that we must safeguard that peace and our lives though the best, most advanced and relentless security, in case that often illusive and miraculously achieved peace at any time fails or falters. Strength, along with undying faith in the Almighty, is the constant and enduring safeguard of the peace that we so yearn for with our every fiber. This is why peace and security must always go hand-in-hand together. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)