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by Rabbi Shmuel Weiss    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

Yes — it’s time to begin again. After all, what would repentance be if we lacked the opportunity to delve once more into the study of Torah?



Yes — it’s time to begin again. After all, what would repentance be if we lacked the opportunity to delve once more into the study of Torah?

At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Rashi, the preeminent Torah commentator, asks why the Torah begins with the story creation, as opposed to the first mitzvah given to the Jews as a nation (which was to declare Nissan as the first month). Rashi says that creation establishes Hashem as the undisputed ruler of the world, who can dispense the earth as He pleases. "If robbers will say: ‘You Jews stole Israel,’ we can respond, ‘It is Hashem’s land, not yours. He took it away from you, and then He gave it to us.’"

Now, wait a second. This is a great argument to justify Jewish sovereignty for those who believe in the Torah and in G-d. But of what use is it for those who deny the Torah and deny Hashem? Surely, they will not be swayed by a source they consider written by Jews!

Comments Rav Gifter: Rashi’s message is not intended for the nations of the world. Many of them are so anti-Jewish, they won’t be convinced by facts or logic. The message, rather, is for us, the Jewish people. We need to be secure in our belief that Israel is our land, Jerusalem our eternal capital, the holy places our sacred ground. We must have absolutely no doubt that our mission is holy, our cause divinely blessed. Rashi’s comment is for us, not them.

I have no doubt that many of our adversaries sincerely believe in the rightness of their cause. What bothers me is when fellow Jews express ambivalence and uncertainty when they plead our case or consider its merit. For if we, ourselves, are not 100% sure that we are on solid ground, then we are sure to stumble and fall.

The Mishnah in Ethics of Our Fathers tells us: "Know what to answer to a non-unbeliever." This does not mean that we are advised to debate and debunk every missionizer or critic we encounter. It simply means that we must know what the right answers are, that we must personally be secure in the essentials of our faith, so that our belief system is not shaken.

It would be wonderful if we could convince the whole world to love Hashem and to love us — that we could all live in one, great Magic Kingdom of co-existence. Maybe that day will someday arrive, and we all pray for it.

But until that day comes, let us be sure that, at the very least, we are convinced that our path is right and just.



Rabbi Shmuel Weiss, a close friend of the Torah from Dixie family, is the director of the Jewish Outreach Center in Rana’ana, Israel.

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