BE’ER SHEVA THEN AND NOW
By Roy S. Neuberger
|Sunrise over the Negev|
“[Yitzchak Avinu] went up … to Be’er Sheva. Hashem appeared to him that night and said, ‘I am the G-d of your father Avraham. Fear not, for I am with you. I will bless you and increase your offspring because of Avraham my servant.’ He built an altar there, invoked Hashem by Name, and there he pitched his tent …. Avimelech went to him from Gerar….” (Beraishis 26:23-26)
Avraham Avinu “planted an ‘eshel’ in Be’er Sheva, and there proclaimed the Name of Hashem, G-d of the Universe.” (Beraishis 21:33)
Avimelech, King of Gerar, was no friend. Chazal record that he cursed Sarah for hiding her identity as Avraham’s wife, as a result of which Yitzchak’s eyesight was dimmed. (Bava Kamma 93a). Why, then, did Avimelech desire a bris with the Avos?
In fact, Yitzchak asks precisely that question: “Why have you come to me? You hate me and drove me away…,” to which Avimelech answers, “We have indeed seen that Hashem has been with you….” (Beraishis 26:27-28)
This answer resounds through the millennia!
The nations desire peace only when they see that Hashem is with us. This is our key to survival and this is why we exist, to be m’kadaish Shaim Shomayim.
I want to recall the amazing account of Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz zt”l concerning his meeting with U. S. President Harry S. Truman. The President told Rabbi Lorincz that the reason he had recognized the State of Israel in 1948, “against the [apparent] better interests of the United States,”was because “just like in the past, three thousand years ago, you Jews saved humanity, wild mankind, via your Torah, so too I believe and hope that, even nowadays, you, the Jewish Nation, will be successful again, to enlighten and to heal the beasts of cruelty in our midst and save the world from total destruction.”
My friends, these magnificent words should reverberate in our hearts.
Rabbi Lorincz then returned to Israel and addressed the Knesset as follows: “The wise among the nations know that the job of the Jewish Nation is to be a light unto the nations, and through the Torah that is in our hands to save the world from destruction and to cause goodness to come to the world. If we don’t actualize this mission, our friends will turn their backs on us and they will conduct themselves solely focused on their own interests, and then they will favor the hundred million Arabs and the billion Moslems over the handful of Jews. Our obligation is to ensure that Hashem’s Name is great and sanctified, and then we will merit that Hashem will fulfill His promise and our problems will find the best solution, al y’dai Tishbi.” (Miluai Shlomo)
Several weeks ago, Be’er Sheva was hit by a powerful missile fired from Gaza by the (spiritual or literal) descendants of Avimelech. The lessons have not changed from the days of Avraham and Yitzchak. “Not through armies and not through strength [will we be saved], but through My spirit, said Hashem, Master of Legions.” (Zechariah 4:6)
May we, like our Avos, constantly proclaim the Name of Hashem. Then the Nations will revere us and the world will be healed with the coming of Moshiach ben Dovid!
* * * *
Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2018 by Roy S. Neuberger