In the heat of the argument over the peace agreements and
nature, it is necessary to have some format whereby we can
the matter through the eyes of a Torah public. The faithful
be well versed in the clauses of the agreement and the
of concessions and their stages but, on the other hand, they
familiar, more than the average, with the figure who is the
the other side, in the negotiations, for war or peace. They
the certificate given by the eternal Torah, "And he shall be
wild, barbaric man . . . " And this should be the starting
of our relationship.
When certain factions declare that compromise is desirable
the sake of peace, we assert, "Nurse no illusions!" `And he
shall be a wild man.' When others shout that they should be
a lesson or two, that we should react and retaliate, we
it with a warning, "Danger. Beware!" `And he shall be a wild
man . . . '"
Everyone agrees that everyone else is at a loss for what to
Whatever they decide to do, they're taking a risk. Nothing is
Still, both sides quote chapter and verse to uphold their
position, pro or con, when the explicit truth is there for
see in this very parsha. "And he shall be a wild man."
That is why we do not raise our own voice with the hawks or
the illusionaries or the disillusionaries.
As far as we are concerned, it is just another chapter in the
history of our relationship towards the uncivilized threat of
savage. We put faith in his word like we would put faith in
of an aborigine or a savage.
Instead of focusing on the whip, the true challenge is to
with the hand holding the whip. Theirs is a nation that from
was destined to serve as the whirling thong swinging around
accelerated to strike.
The words of the Ramban should be familiar: "And Hashem heard
(Hagar's) affliction and He gave her a son who would be a
brutally harass the seed of Avrohom and Soro in all manner of
From the moment he was born, Yishmoel was destined to oppress
the blessed seed of Avrohom Ovinu. Thus we see that it is not
of this strategy or that tactic; it is an ideological reality
And while every measure of persecution and suffering has a
purpose, to rouse us to repent, the oppression we are subject
Yishmoel is different, as it is anchored in the very fact of
This is better explained through the Midrash brought
deR' Eliezer (chapter 32) where it is written, "And why
he called Yishmoel? Because in the future, Hashem would
the cry of the nation suffering under the yoke of Yishmoel's
as it is written, `Keil will hear and will answer them.'"
A person's name generally expresses his essence and destiny
the world. Chazal say that Yishmoel was given this name
was destined to oppress Jewry and cause them to cry out to
in pain, for help. This seems puzzling: Why this name? It
much more fitting for the Jews than for the Arabs since it is
former's voice that Hashem will heed. On the contrary, it is
who will instigate and evoke the cry. Why, then, was this
name chosen to describe them and their function?
Precisely because of this. Chazal, in scanning the annals of
history and studying the role of the Yishmaelites in
to the Jews, determined that their characteristic is that
chosen to cause Jews to cry out to Hashem and to make Hashem
their pleas. The Arabs are a loudspeaker, a voice amplifier,
will, of the "voice of Yaakov."
This is a documented fact. Thus, instead of wrestling with
whip or the stick, instead of getting worked up over every
terrorist incident, the Jewish reaction should be an
of "the voice is the voice of Yaakov." If some terrorist act
did take place, G-d forbid, it was meant to be. Not the
the cause, the instigator. He was born to this role. His
was born into this destiny, for this purpose. The name says
They are intended to cause Hashem to harken and to answer
So it is that the lessons which the faithful must derive from
political events are not to be found in the diplomatic
Preparedness to foil terrorist activities, G-d forbid, beyond
efforts of prevention and contention, are to be found in the
of worship and study. There is the place to preempt with the
so that there will be no need for the barbaric Yishmoel's
That's where we need to phase in, to arouse the heart to a
level, a second and third stage, so to speak.
It is difficult, very much so, but we must take heart and
what the Rambam wrote in his "Letter to Yemen" when he, too,
had to contend with the Islamic barbarians:
"And you, our brothers, know that Hashem has set us apart
afflictions due to our sins, and placed us in the midst of
whose evil hand oppresses us exceedingly and who are wily in
doing us harm and despising us . . . And thus we suffer in
bondage and are subject to their lies and deceptions beyond
-- or anyone's, as well -- to bear.
Our Sages have proved to us that we can bear Yishmoel's
and keep silent. They derived it from the homiletic
of the verse, `UMishmo veDumo UMasso'
which lists the sons of Yishmoel but as words, alludes to
keep silent and bear.' So long as we sue for peace with them,
pursue us in war and hatred.
Hashem, in His kindness, shall remove the darkness from our
and darken through His wrath all those who rise up against
as He promised us that `Lo, the darkness shall cover the
mist the nations, but upon you shall Hashem shine and His
be upon you'."