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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nothing's Really New, The News and Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week

I'm one of those who loves reading Dry Bones, especially when he posts old cartoons which are so up-to-date, like this one from ten years ago on Appeasement.

If Bones (Ya'akov Kirschen) had been creating cartoons during World War Two, he could have substituted "Hitler" for the "PLO."  Their aims are/were the same, to rid the world of Jews.  And the so-call civilized western world were silent aka acquiesced.

This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week is Sh'mot Exodus.  It tells the story of an ancient attempt at a Holocaust, destruction of the Jewish community/clan that was in Egypt.  At that point in time, the Jewish People were all together, not scattered over the world.  They had been invited to Egypt by a previous Pharaoh as a way of thanking Joseph (one of the tribe) for administering food supplies during a long famine.

The Bible tells us that the Jewish People rapidly increased during its time in Egypt.
Exodus Chapter 1 שְׁמוֹת ז וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, פָּרוּ וַיִּשְׁרְצוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ וַיַּעַצְמוּ--בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד; וַתִּמָּלֵא הָאָרֶץ, אֹתָם. {פ} 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. {P}
It's rather ironic that suddenly in Egypt the women didn't suffer from the infertility problems described in Bereishit, Genesis. All of our matriarchs, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah had periods of painful, worrying infertility, and suddenly in Egypt, davka, we're told of a hard to believe birthrate. It's important to remember that in modern times, pre-State of Israel and in its early days, all of the experts predicting that the Arabs would soon overpopulate the state and take over. Instead, the Jewish population has increased beyond all predictions, and the Arab family size has decreased. We're in Shiloh for thirty years already, and from the beginning we've heard that we should be prepared to leave, but a second and third generation of Jewish families are already living here in the yishuvim, Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, going to the same schools, etc. The "experts" aren't G-d. G-d has other plans for us. When I contrast the earlier Biblical stories about infertility, I have no doubt there must have been a vow by the women to do everything, even risk their lives to have more children, if only G-d would open their wombs. That's why the midwives defied Pharoah.
טו וַיֹּאמֶר מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם, לַמְיַלְּדֹת הָעִבְרִיֹּת, אֲשֶׁר שֵׁם הָאַחַת שִׁפְרָה, וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית פּוּעָה. 15 And the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah; טז וַיֹּאמֶר, בְּיַלֶּדְכֶן אֶת-הָעִבְרִיּוֹת, וּרְאִיתֶן, עַל-הָאָבְנָיִם: אִם-בֵּן הוּא וַהֲמִתֶּן אֹתוֹ, וְאִם-בַּת הִוא וָחָיָה. 16 and he said: 'When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, ye shall look upon the birthstool: if it be a son, then ye shall kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.' יז וַתִּירֶאןָ הַמְיַלְּדֹת, אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, וְלֹא עָשׂוּ, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶן מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם; וַתְּחַיֶּיןָ, אֶת-הַיְלָדִים. 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men-children alive. יח וַיִּקְרָא מֶלֶךְ-מִצְרַיִם, לַמְיַלְּדֹת, וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶן, מַדּוּעַ עֲשִׂיתֶן הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה; וַתְּחַיֶּיןָ, אֶת-הַיְלָדִים. 18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them: 'Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men-children alive?' יט וַתֹּאמַרְןָ הַמְיַלְּדֹת אֶל-פַּרְעֹה, כִּי לֹא כַנָּשִׁים הַמִּצְרִיֹּת הָעִבְרִיֹּת: כִּי-חָיוֹת הֵנָּה, בְּטֶרֶם תָּבוֹא אֲלֵהֶן הַמְיַלֶּדֶת וְיָלָדוּ. 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh: 'Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwife come unto them.' כ וַיֵּיטֶב אֱלֹהִים, לַמְיַלְּדֹת; וַיִּרֶב הָעָם וַיַּעַצְמוּ, מְאֹד. 20 And God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
Think about the fact that most religions are passed on via the fathers, but Judaism is passed on via the mothers. That is how G-d thanks women for rescuing male babies during the time of slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt. The women were physically slaves but mentally, religiously free. They followed and feared G-d.

Today we have a State of Israel, but we're being governed by politicians who are slaves to western mentality and human ideologies.  We have a long way to go to be truly free.

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