web analytics
November 25, 2014 / 3 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

‘Be Strong and of Good Courage’

Prayer Rally at the Kotel for the three missing teenagers.

Prayer Rally at the Kotel for the three missing teenagers.

Just last week three teenage boys, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Sha’ar were abducted and kidnapped in Israel. Less than 72 hours later, Naftali’s mother, Racheli Frankel, appeared on Israeli television and passionately thanked those who were searching for her son. A clear example of strength in the wake of grief.

Google.com defines courage as “the ability to do something that frightens” one” and “strength in the face of pain or grief.” Racheli Frankel along with many others in her situation exemplify such courage.

Courage is a much needed response when dealing with a tragedy or violent crime and the resulting fear. It is therefore not surprising that, in Scripture, courage is a phrase associated with overcoming fear.

Moses tells the people they will conquer the Canaanite nations and states “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them.” (Duet. 31:6). When instructing Joshua of his leadership role and the mission of entering Israel, on three different occasions, G-d states “Be strong and of good courage.” The last of the three adds “be not afraid, neither be dismayed.” (Joshua 1:1-9). Later, Joshua relays the message to his captains stating “Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage.”(Joshua 10:25).

The message is that in the face of dangers and difficulties, as a nation or individuals, we need to be courageous and unshakeable. We will not allow other people, through fear, to intimidate or define us.

This message was also demonstrated by the great Rabbi Akiva. At the age of 40 Rabbi Akiva saw water falling drop by drop onto a rock and eroding the rock. If water could penetrate a rock then Rabbi Akiva realized that knowledge could penetrate his mind and he could become a scholar. He had the courage to quit his job as a shepherd and enroll in school, initially learning the aleph-bet to combat his illiteracy.

Thereafter, Rabbi Akiva became such a great scholar to the point he accumulated 24,000 students. Unfortunately, because of improper conduct towards each other, each of these students perished. Most would pack in the towel but Rabbi Akiva had the courage to re-bound and teach five promising students who became prominent leaders of the Jewish people.

And when the Romans issued decrees outlawing Jewish practices, Rabbi Akiva took a stand and supported the Bar Kochba rebellion. Tragically, Bar Kochba and his supporters were defeated and Jewish study was declared forbidden. Knowing that abstaining from learning Torah would result in a spiritual death of the people, Rabbi Akiva courageously gathered and taught large groups of people.

Unfortunately, he was captured and tortured in front of his students. During his last breath, Rabbi Akiva recited the prayer Shema Yisrael in front of his students. This was ultimately a tremendous display of courage – sanctifying G-d’s name among the ruling group of dissenters. A clear sign of strength in the face of pain.

Rabbi Akiva exhibited courage to learn and change at any age, courage to overcome tragedy and courage to stand up for his beliefs despite heavy challenges.

The messages and/or examples of strength and courage relayed by G-d and leaders like Moses, Joshua and Rabbi Akiva have been transmitted throughout generations during which nations or extremists have tried to enslave, belittle, annihilate or otherwise harm us. To this day Anti-Semitism persists with the goal of causing us to be fearful, retreat or renounce our faith. Nations or groups of terrorists call for our destruction or are more subtle and incite or provoke others against us. The modern day extremists are brazen and do not hesitate to harm or kidnap our people of all ages and most recently three of our teenage children.

About the Author: Scott R. Bugay is a native Chicagoan who currently resides in South Florida with his wife and four children. Scott is an attorney who practices in the areas of probate, guardianship and social security disability.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “‘Be Strong and of Good Courage’”

  1. GOD SPOKE TO ISRAEL THROUGH MOSES, ” BE STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF YOUR GOD. THE ENEMIES WHICH YOU HAVE SEEN TODAY, TOMORROW, THEY ARE NO MORE!!! SAME WAY, GOD WILL FIGHT THE BATTLE FOR PRESENT DAY ISRAEL !! SOON AND VERY SOON ALL HER ENEMIES WILL BE ELIMINATED BY ‘I AM THAT I AM’ GOD!!

  2. David Morris says:

    TEHILLIM – 130

  3. GOOD MUST NEVER GIVE UP AGAINST EVIL; FIGHT IT EVERYWHERE

  4. We are at war with islam, a people(s) dedicated to our destruction and all manner of evil…there is no room in Israel, Greater Zion or in any place where Jews and men of good will are found for cowards; shun them, eschew them, they are the enemy as surely as if they took up the sword against all of us. There is no diversity with it's accompanying cowardice in the Torah or Talmud…Israel is ours and the islamic enemy has platned itself in our midst with hidden daggers and evil intent: "They Must Go!"

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Pro-ISIS Group Says ‘Use Ferguson Flames to Fuel Terror in America’
Latest Indepth Stories
Red Line Obama

“What’s a line between friends?”

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

Thousands of rabbis pose in front of Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn on Sunday during the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

Arabs create opening for terrorists to walk the security wall between Ramallah and Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

More Articles from Scott Bugay
Prayer Rally at the Kotel for the three missing teenagers.

We must show, as individuals and as a nation, that our faith is strengthened by such cowardly acts.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/be-strong-and-of-good-courage/2014/06/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: