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Sunday, 10 August, 2014 - 8:23 am

If you repeat a lie often enough people begin to believe it. The claim that terror is caused by misery and poverty is one such example. It is so often repeated that the West has come to accept it.

When Israel vacated Gaza they left Jewish built greenhouses, a billion dollar industry, intact, as an income source for Gaza Arabs. Yet, the Arabs destroyed these resources, not wanting to accept gifts from the hated Jews. Until today, they receive millions of dollars in foreign aid, yet rather than investing it into poverty relief and civic infrastructure, they pour it into weapons of war.
Over the last 18 days, as Israeli troops entered Gaza to search for the Hamas tunnels and rocket launching sites, 32 Israeli soldiers were killed.
I am afraid Israel may be repeating a mistake it has made thrice before.
Why should Jewish mothers be burying their children who are fighting like lions for their homeland, just because we are afraid of world opinion, preventing us from bombing Gaza from the air? Why are we sending our children to confront Hamas in face to face battles? We have made this error before and paid for it dearly.
What is more, this strategy (of air bombings) would end the conflict much more quickly and allow Israel to eliminate much of the Hamas terror infrastructure. If this is not done, the present war will end with no decisive victory, and will only create a lull till Hamas decides to strike again, which will only cause the deaths of many more Gaza civilians.
Those who will condemn Israel for reducing regions of Gaza into rubble are doing so regardless. Even as Jewish soldiers today die to save Arab lives, Israel is being accused of war crimes. Israel will be blamed no matter what it does. A statement made by the United Nations Human Rights Council on July 23, 2014 accused Israel of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip and calling for an investigation into its operations there. Rather than investigate Hamas, which is firing rockets at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Arab civilians, and turning hospitals into military command centers, it puts the blame on Israel.
In our portion of the week, Massei, Aaron the High Priest ascended Mount Hor at G-d's behest and died there, on the first day of the fifth month, Rosh Chodesh Av, which falls out this coming Monday on July 28, 2014.
Quite interestingly, this is the only time that the Torah mentions the exact date of an anniversary of death. Even the yartzeits of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Miriam, and King David are not mentioned in the Tanach.
This begs the obvious question: what is so remarkable about the timing of Aaron's yahrtzeit that it merits explicit mention in the Torah? And why is it not recorded in the place where the Torah discusses his passing?
The Rebbe once explained the following: Aaron, we know, was unique because he was the ultimate peacemaker. Our Sages tell us that he was a "lover and pursuer of peace," who always sought to bring peace between rivals and quarreling spouses. Aaron’s life was dedicated to resolve conflict, to eliminate disharmony, and to foster trust and love.
This is why, regarding his passing, the Torah says, "The entire assembly [men, women and children] wept for Aaron thirty days…", as opposed to the passing of Moses where only "the sons of Israel wept for Moses.…"
Now, we can understand why his yartzeit is specified in the Torah—the first day of Av. This is another sign of the Divine, prophetic nature of Torah:
More than 1,500 years after the death of Aaron, the first of Av would usher in a period known in our sources as the “Nine Days,” referring to the first nine days of the Hebrew month of Av, days of acute mourning for the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples.
Says the Talmud (Yuma 9b): “The second Temple–when the people were involved in Torah, mitzvot and acts of kindness– why was it destroyed? Because they harbored baseless hatred towards each other!" It was the disunity of our people that caused our destruction.
This was true even on a pragmatic level. The Romans exploited the in-fighting of the Jews, using this weakness as a way to defeat Jerusalem.
“G-d provides the remedy before the illness,” says the Talmud. Before any challenge in life, G-d provides the antidote to deal with it. So on the first day of Av, when we enter the Nine Days, the Torah tells us we have the yahrtzeit of Aaron—the day in which the life story of Aaron was completed—as a powerful reminder and a day in which can connect with Aaron’s energy and legacy of love and unity. Aaron was one man who affected an entire nation through of his dedication to peace and love.
That is why the Torah places the day of the yahrtzeit in the portion of Maasei, which is always read within a week of the yahrtzeit—the first day (Rosh Chodesh) of the month of Av. It is during this time of the year that the Torah wants us to know what we all have—the power of Aaron to restore love and unity among our people.
At such challenging times, the entire nation must be mobilized. Mobilization means not only giving money; mobilization is directing one’s essence to accomplish a single goal: Achieve victory over a ruthless enemy seeking the obliteration of our people. Just as our sacred and precious soldiers are currently battling with all their hearts and souls, so too must we increase our spiritual warfare, through the study of Torah and the observance of mitzvot; through prayer, charity, and acts of goodness and kindness; through expressing solidarity without reservation. With G-d’s grace, we will triumph. This Shabbat by the conclusion of the Torah reading we all announce
Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky
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