Word for the Herd: Torah from your favorite teacher
This week's parsha, is Masei. It outlines what places the C-O-I (Children of Israel) traveled thru the desert and camped out in the desert, where the boundaries of the promised land were to be and where the C-O-I were to go as refugees. And I sure can relate to the subject matter this week on many levels.
Being a refugee is no foreign topic for the Jewish People. Today in Israel, many of my family and friends have been uprooted in these last few days. Those who lived in the South are spending their days in bomb shelters because they only get 15 seconds warning when there are terrorist rocket attacks... sadly that happens more than 30 times a day. Some of my friends have been drafted or called up from reserves to serve in the army again, so they are on the base. Some of my American friends were stranded in Israel when the FAA banned all flights to and from Israel this week. And of course, I feel for all the innocent Palestinian families who have had to leave their homes because of the war in Gaza and how unsafe Hamas has made Gaza for them to live in.
I can't help but even think of my great great grandparents as refugees from Europe when I re-read the parsha this week. My relatives on both sides of my family escaped the horrible persecution Jewish people faced in Europe in the late 1800's and early 1900's by either going to America or to Israel (well then it was called Palestine because Israel was founded in 1948). Lucky for my family, they managed to find a new home and jobs when they were on the run. History has taught us that most Jews on the run in the 1900's were trapped in Europe, leading to the death of 6 million of our people who had no place to go.
To be accurate, the refugee situation HaShem was talking about was a little different, though. They were actually for people who were accused of crimes and at risk of being judged before they had a trial.
What was HaShem teaching us about being a refugee? After listing all the different places the C-O-I camped for a small time, at most year or two, we all can relate to not having a home. We know how difficult it is to being on the run. We know how hard it is to have a homeland in site but not have it In some way, all Jewish people have been refugees. From Egypt. From Spain. Europe. Even cast out from eachother --- We've all been unfairly accused of something in their lives, driven out of their homes for no reason. HaShem was teaching us, that all of us have natural human rights. Even people who are accused of things, deserve a fair trial, and a safe place to be before they are judged. Part of being Jewish is understanding that judging someone should only be reserved for HaShem and our appointed leaders---and in the meantime we have to keep all people's rights sacred.
Speaking of understanding the importance of a homeland...... This parsha again lays out why it is so important that we have Israel. Israel is the only place in the world designated to be for the Jewish people. After listing all the places we had to trek thru to reach our precious land, we see another reason why the Israeli Army (IDF) is fighting so hard these last 18 days of Operation Defensive Shield. They have to protect Israel for all the inhabitants and Jewish people around the world. We have no other choice. We will not be without a home again.