web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

In Times Of Danger, Run To – Rather Than From – Israel

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

In this week’s parshah, the tribes of Reuven, Gad, and half of Menasheh request to remain on the eastern side of the Jordan. A cursory review of their request gives us insight into why these particular tribes tried to remain outside Israel.

Reuven was, of course, the first son of Yaakov. When the brothers returned from Egypt and told their father that the viceroy (who was really Joseph) insisted they bring brother Binyamin to Egypt before they would be given more food, Reuven steps forward. Turning to his father he declares: “If I do not bring Binyamin back you can kill my two sons.” Yaakov rejects Reuven’s overture (Genesis 42:37-38).

Only after Yehudah comes forward saying he would be a surety for Binyamin does Yaakov relent.

The difference between Yehudah and Reuven is obvious. Yehudah assumes responsibility. He expresses a total commitment to Binyamin and is ready to put himself on the line if he fails. Not so Reuven. He guarantees Binyamin’s safety by using his children as collateral rather than himself.

Not surprisingly the children of Reuven who don’t understand the message of areivut, of caring for others, bear children and a tribe that prefers to remain apart from Israel.

Gad is one of the children of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid. He is described as being very strong. In the words of Yaakov’s blessing as explicated by Rashi: Troops (armies) shall be found of Gad (Genesis 49:19). Still, when Joseph is sold Gad does not come forward to protect him. Here again, it is understandable that Gad becomes a tribe that asks to live outside Israel.

Menasheh is the eldest son of Joseph. When he is born Joseph calls him Menasheh, “For God has made me forget (nashani, the root of Menasheh) all my toil and all my father’s house” (Genesis 42:51). Here is a description of one who breaks with his home. Not coincidentally, Menasheh’s children wish to separate from Israel.

Moshe tells the two and a half tribes that they may live outside Israel but only after they first help conquer and settle the land. Here Moshe teaches the message of areivut to those who come from a tribe where the sense of caring is missing. And these tribes get the message. They lead the way in helping liberate the land. They were able to turn around the lack of areivut in their family history into a sense of real commitment to the Jewish people.

An important message, especially now, for Jews in the Diaspora – in times of need we should, like the two and a half tribes, run to Israel rather than from Israel.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


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 “In Times Of Danger, Run To – Rather Than From – Israel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Sydney has banned the  Chabad menorah from being lit this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.
Sydney Darkens Hanukkah by Banning Chabad Menorah Lighting
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich

“Can you hear what the dead are whispering? Leave Galut, escape to Eretz Israel-Lech lecha!”

Ancient stone with "House of David" inscription.

The ‘homely’ ancient rock, discovered in 1993, adds evidence of King David’s existence.

Chanukah is the holiday of liberty, combining The Book (faith and dedication to God) and the sword

Yehuda knew if the moment isn’t right or men are unwilling to listen a skilled leader bides his time

This is a recurring theme in this week’s parsha, in which there are many mistakes made based on perception.

“A person should sell even the beams of his own house in order to buy shoes.”

“I do not owe anything,” Mr. Feder replied. “However, if I must come – I will.”

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

Jacob was well aware that the brothers hated Joseph, yet he sent him to them anyway.

No Fault Lines
‘…His Father And Mother Were In Prison…’
(Yevamos 71b)

The child of a Jewish mother from a union with a non-Jewish father is not a mamzer.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.
M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

And so it was that both those women whose lives had been saved in Yerushalayim only about a month earlier, were now in a Manhattan hospital with the woman who inadvertently had helped save their lives.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

The dreams revealed their differences: The butler was active; the baker completely passive.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Benno Yaakov, the German Jewish commentator, posits Yaakov’s limping caused Eisav’s change of heart.

Jacob cries, overcome by the knowledge that his great love for Rachel will end in unbearable pain.

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Perhaps deep down Eliezer did hesitate. In his heart of hearts, he may not have wanted to succeed.

To be fully saved means not only to come out physically unscathed but emotionally healthy as well.

Having herself been victimized by Pharoah, Sarah should have been more sensitive to Hagar.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/in-times-of-danger-run-to-rather-than-from-israel/2014/07/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: