The past two weeks, we’ve been reflecting upon the terrible rocket attacks against Eretz Yisrael. This week, I’d like to zoom in on two important points. First, how these terrible occurrences are a clear fulfillment of biblical prophecies, and second, what we can do besides prayer to halt such terrorist activity.
Starting with biblical prophecies: Hagar was told she would give birth to a son and nation that would be “pere adam” – wild and uncontrollable – which is a perfect description of the Arab nations. The Torah says, “Yado bakol – Their hand will be upon everyone” (indeed, ISIS and many other Arab groups wreak havoc all over the world), “v’yad kol bo – and everyone’s hand will need him” (indeed, everyone turns thirstily to Arab oil).
Bilaam prophesizes in Parshas Balak, “Mi yichyeh misumo Keil – Who could live from the nation that has Keil in its name?” This verse is a clear prophecy that Yishmael (the only nation besides Yisrael that has Keil in its name) will make our lives miserable.
Tehillim 120:5 says: “Oyah li ki garti meshech shachanti im ahalei Kedar? Rabas shachna lah nafshi im sonei shalom – Woe is me as I dwell in Israel with my neighbor in the tents of Arabia. How I have to dwell with those that hate peace.” If only world leaders would take these words of King David to heart, they would know that peace treaties are not sustainable with a people who innately hates peace.
Two verses before these words (120:3), David HaMelech states, “Mah yitein l’cha u’mah yoseif lach lashon re’miyah – What can I give you and what can I add to you, O deceitful tongue.” The Metzudas David explains that David HaMelech placed this verse next to the one describing our hateful Arabian neighbors to inform us that lashon hara intensifies rabid terrorism. Conversely, avoiding it ameliorates terrorism. Thus, when we avoid talking poorly about other people – whether at our Shabbos table, in the coffee room at the office, or at the dinner table with a spouse – we are helping our brethren in Eretz Yisrael.
There is another way we can be of great assistance to them. The Torah tells us that when Hagar married Avram and became pregnant, “Va’teikal gvirta b’eineha – her mistress [Sarah] became light in her eyes.” In reaction, “Vataneha Sarah – Sarah afflicted Hagar.” Reb Aryeh Levine, zt”l, explains that Sarah didn’t actually treat Hagar differently than she had before; rather, Hagar herself changed. When she viewed Sarah with respect, she considered the duties she did for Sarah an honor. Now that she viewed Sarah in a new light, the same duties felt like an affliction.
The Ramban, however, says Sarah actually did afflict Hagar in some manner and makes a very drastic statement: “Chatah Sarah Imenu b’inu’i hazeh – Sarah our Mother sinned by afflicting Hagar. V’gam Avraham b’hanicho la’asos kein shelo machah – As did Avraham for not protesting such behavior.” The Ramban then concludes with a truly shocking declaration: Because of this affliction, Hagar was given a child whose descendants would afflict the children of Avraham and Sarah throughout the ages.
We need to analyze this statement. Why would Ramban speak negatively about Sarah? We can only surmise that the Ramban wanted to give us vital information – that if we are careful not to afflict the people around us, we can fix this mistake of our holy ancestor (similar to how we stay up the entire night on Shavuos to atone for our ancestors oversleeping on the morning of the giving of the Torah) and halt Arab terrorism.
When we make a conscious effort not to scream in our homes, when we avoid verbal abuse even when we are frustrated or in a foul mood, and when we are careful not to vent our frustration on our children, we are going a long way to helping end Mideast terrorism.
May it be the will of Hashem that He should hear our tefilos and see our efforts to avoid lashon hara and create more serenity in our homes, and in that merit may there be shalom al Yisrael and may we have good health, long life, and everything wonderful.