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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Nitzavim

After the cataclysmic disaster in America, we cannot conduct "business as usual" nor should it be "Torah as usual."

We have an unfortunate opportunity to see the war of Evil against Good. As simple as that. The lust for War on one side against the thirst for Peace on the other.

As we consider the suicide bombers that we have seen here in Israel and as those that struck U.S. we should remember the Torah's words.

Deut 12:31

"You shall not do thus to Hashem, your G-d, for everything that is an abomination of Hashem that He HATES have they done for their gods for EVEN THEIR SONS AND THEIR DAUGHTERS HAVE THEY BURNED IN FIRE FOR THEIR GODS."

This willingness, (desire?) to burn one's own children to further idolatrous ideas, is the enemy of Judaism and of every G-d fearing person. The strong and unusual language of the Torah "Hashem Hates" refers to such horrendous and perverted behavior.

On this verse Rashi adds that such people are capable of burning their parents (and not only their children) for their crazy ideas.

The Towers that fell in New York yesterday (and the mass of humanity entrapped within them) recalls the Tower of Babel. Rashi on that story (Genesis 11:9) makes the comment, which is the most characteristics expression of the Torah's value system.

Rashi, there, compares the Generation of the Flood to that of the Tower, the former steeped in murder, rape and theft, the latter engaged only in an ideological struggle. The former were utterly destroyed by G-d, the latter were only scattered over the face of the earth. Why the difference in punishments? Rashi asks. And answers:


"We learn that war and fighting are hateful and great is peace."

May it be a Shabbat shel Shalom

May all the mourning families be comforted by the Divine Comforter and the injured be healed by the Divine Healer and may their families be given strength to cope.

Avigdor Bonchek

"What's Bothering Rashi?" is a production of "The Institute for the Study of Rashi."

The Institute is in the process of preparing the Devorim volume of "What's Bothering Rashi?" This volume will feature Rashi and the Ba'alie Tosephos. Readers interested in sponsoring a sedra in this volume are encouraged to contact us for further details at msbonch@mscc.huji.ac.il

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