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ב"ה

Rules and Exceptions

Friday, 30 November, 2012 - 1:30 pm

The United Nations General Assembly voted this week to give the Palestinian Authority observer status. Sadly, the vote was lopsided with 138 in favor and only 9 – the United States included – against (and 41 abstentions).

We must thank the United States for standing with our brothers and sisters in Israel.

What does it say that the majority of the world stands with noted terrorists and against the Jewish people? Clearly, the motive and result of the vote is to undermine Israel. It does nothing practical – other than attempt to isolate Israel.

***

In this week’s parsha Vayishlach, the Torah tells of a grand reunion – that of Yaakov and his brother Eisav.

The last time they were together Eisav wanted to murder his brother. This time, Yaakov is fearful – but nonetheless committed to meet up again, come what may. Interestingly, the encounter went rather smoothly. Eisav was marching toward Yaakov with 400 armed men. But he was appeased by Yaakov’s gestures and embraced his brother. He even kissed him.

The great Talmudic sage Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai commented: It is well known that Eisav hates Yaakov. Here, the kiss was an exception in that he did kiss him with all his heart.

***

Although one can argue that Eisav was transformed completely and loved Yaakov dearly – Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai rejects this line of reasoning. After all, he says, Eisav remains an enemy of Yaakov.

Why is Rabbi Shimon so adamant about this?

Perhaps he is teaching us a powerful message. A message that we must adhere to at the risk of allowing history to repeat itself.

At the end of the day, we Jews must cast our lot with Hashem. Yes, we will work with our neighbors and we will be exemplary citizens of our host countries. But while we may have some friends in the world around us, this proves to be the exception, not the rule.

If we choose to ignore this rule, we do so at our own peril.

May we each increase in good deeds and holiness, so we can welcome an era of true peace and harmony for all of mankind with the coming of Moshiach.

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