Who cares what they say?

Genesis: Toldot

Who cares what they say?

There is often an inordinate amount of sensitivity as to what the nations of the world think about Israel and its actions. The obvious contrast is that other nations (take your pick, including U.S., Russia, China, etc.) don’t seem to care or even deign to respond to any criticism of their actions.

Rabbi Yaakov ben Manoach (Hizkuni) has an unusual approach regarding what the nations of the world say about Israel. Not only does he seem unperturbed by any criticism, but he doesn’t even want positive attention: “Don’t bless us – don’t even pray for us.”

Hizkuni wonders as to the source of our Matriarch Rebecca’s infertility. He claims that it was actually a result of her mother’s and brother’s farewell blessing. As Rebecca prepares to depart her hometown of Aram Naharayim together with Abraham’s servant, her family proclaims a munificent, if not bombastic blessing:

“Our sister, may you come to be thousands of myriads, and may your offspring inherit the gate of its foes.”

Genesis 24:60

Hizkuni explains that God did not want the nations of the world to take credit for the progeny that would be born, claiming that their generous blessing was the cause. God did not want them involved. He preferred that the prayer come exclusively from the immediate family:

“Isaac pleaded of God opposite his wife, because she was barren. God allowed himself to be entreated by him, and his wife Rebecca conceived.”

Genesis 25:21

God seems much more interested in our own self-determination, in our true actions (which He sees quite well, without the intervention of biased media) and our own connection and relationship with Him, rather than anything anyone else has to say about us – whether it is bad – or even good.

May we know how to judge ourselves correctly, before succumbing to the rants of hypocritical demagogues.

Shabbat Shalom,

Bentzi

Dedication

To all those who defend Israel’s name and honor. We shouldn’t have to, and I’m not sure how effective it is, but it is noble nonetheless.

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