web analytics
May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach


Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin

In the spring of 1981 Menachem Begin faced one of the most difficult decisions of his premiership. Iraq had indicated its intentions to build a nuclear bomb and left no doubt as to the designated target. Israeli intelligence had estimated that Iraq would have a working bomb within two years. Despite diplomatic efforts, Iraq continued with its efforts to develop her nuclear program. Once his military leaders presented him with a viable plan of attack against the Iraqi nuclear plant at Osirak, Begin had to decide whether to give the mission a green light. Time was not on his side, as it was believed that only a few months remained before the plant went hot. If that happened an attack would no longer be viable because of the radioactive fallout that would result from the plant’s destruction.

Although Begin realized there would be an international outcry against the bombing, he nonetheless felt it was necessary to ensure Israel’s future. On June 7, 1981 Israel successfully neutralized the Iraqi threat. As Begin suspected, many countries, including the United States condemned the attack. But with the passage of time most of these same countries realized that Israel had made the world a safer place.

In a speech delivered to the Knesset that June 26, Begin explained his reasons. What follows is a partial translation of his speech.

“My dear friends, we have experienced many awful days and nights since we discovered that in Osirak they were planning to develop atomic bombs. We faced a terrible dilemma. Assuming we did nothing what would happen to us? What would happen to our children? We have fought and won five wars. We do not want a sixth one….But now, with Iraq, a cruel enemy, possessing atomic bombs, when we went out to the streets and saw five year old children playing, we wondered what would be in two or three years when they will be seven and eight. What will happen to them when Saddam Hussein will have two to three bombs the strength of those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Tens of thousands of these children might be killed or injured….We therefore asked ourselves what should we do? How could we forgive ourselves if G-d forbid we didn’t act?”

From this speech, as well as from internal cabinet memos, we see that Begin was focused on the children’s future. He believed that he and his government had the responsibility to do all that they could to safeguard it. That is what compelled him to order the bombing.

What does this have to do with Pesach? Pesach is the holiday that celebrates the future of our children and their education in the ways of the Torah. But to successfully educate our children and prepare them for their future challenges we must look at them now and determine what needs to be done to ensure that they grow into outstanding Bnei and Bnot Torah. Regrettably, all too often we focus on teaching our children how to address our current adult challenges and not the challenges they will encounter when they themselves will become adults.

I believe a careful reading of the third son’s (the tam) question provides us with insight into this issue. Based on the pasuk in the Torah (Shemot 13:14) the Haggadah relates that the tam’s question consists of two simple words: “Mah Zot (what’s this)?” In response, the Torah relates how the son’s parent should explain to him how G-d took us out of Egypt and freed us from our bondage with a strong hand. When we look in the Torah the preamble to the questions is: “And it will be when your son asks you tomorrow saying what is this…” There is something striking about the word tomorrow. Rashi explains that the word connotes some future distant time. Accordingly, for some reason the son described in this pasuk will not know why we perform the rituals connected with Pesach (or why we redeem firstborns, which is the immediate topic of the Torah section).

The commentators offer many explanations for this unfamiliarity. The common denominator is that the question is a function of his limited intellectual abilities. However, let us take a moment to collectively take a step back and look inward. What if the reason the son asks such a simple and shallow question is not because of unfamiliarity but because we failed over the years to instill within him the importance and relevance of the Seder night. The wise son is also described as asking his question in the future. But unlike the tam’s unidimensional question, the wise son asks detailed and penetrating ones. Arguably, the real difference is not in their intellectual abilities but in their understanding of the importance and relevance of the evening.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. David Hertzberg is the principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division and is an adjunct assistant professor of History at Touro College.


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.

No Responses to “Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

More Articles from Rabbi David Hertzberg
Hertzberg-051515

Though studying Torah is the most important mitzvah, it is performed in private.

Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Before we embark on a major project or make a fateful decision we must get a wide-range of views and perspectives.

The Torah presents us with a model of how to effect change in a sustainable way.

Three years of war and the loss of one-tenth of Britain’s men is not too great a price to pay.

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

Realizing that his death was immanent and he had only a few more moments, Moshe focuses on doing the most important thing: he runs to Bnei Yisrael and blesses them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/shabbat-chol-hamoed-pesach/2013/03/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: