We hardly need reminders that this has been a painful year, making the curses found in our reading this week perhaps even more difficult to read than usual. Several lines within it might even be regarded as triggering, in modern lexicon, to those who experienced the horrors of October 7th. “And you shall be lost among the Nations, and the land of your enemies will consume you” [Lev. 26:38].

But we cannot forget that the promise of Jewish survival and redemption is tied directly to these same curses. What do we read just six verses later [v. 44]? “And with all of that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or be repulsed with them to destroy them entirely, to break my covenant with them, for I am Hashem their G-d.” The Covenant is eternal: at the end of the story, we return to our land, still the Jewish Nation. It doesn’t matter that there are many times more antisemites than Jews, we will still win.

Confronted with purportedly civilized individuals who endorse murderous pogroms when the victims are Jews, we have two options. We can deny that antisemitism is part of Torah and Judaism, and conclude that the double standards in demonization must be right after all. Or, to the contrary, we can recognize the madness, and know with complete confidence that (a) we will outlive them, and (b) our enemies will be rightly condemned by history as the barbarians they actually are—like all their predecessors.

Torah values introspection and consideration of our own flaws. The curses expressly blame our sins for antisemitism, for example—but it is important to recognize that the sins condemned so harshly in Torah are most often behaviors that much of the world considers quite normal.

Torah also, to the contrary, demands moral clarity. There is a right, and there is a wrong. And it doesn’t matter how many people are goose stepping across campus, understanding right and wrong in the current situation requires all of the introspection and deep thought into our own flaws as was required to develop a moral opinion of Hitler.

This week, the Israelis neutralized a pair of Hamas commanders. There was a tragic consequence to this: a secondary explosion apparently killed dozens of non-combatants. And the world rushed to condemn Israel, even mistranslating a statement by PM Netanyahu to imply acceptance of blame.

Yes, it was despicable. It was despicable that Hamas would store weapons alongside civilians, and then conduct its operations near those weapons as well, in the hopes that a precise strike against those planning the murder of innocents might result in undesired casualties. Only one side is responsible for all of the multiple war crimes committed in that situation. And that is true of the entire conflict, no matter what hateful allies of terror might say at the international kangaroo court.

The Talmud (Makkos 24b) tells the story of Sages observing a fox running across the site of the Holy of Holies, the area of the Temple that no one but the High Priest entered, and then but once a year. Though his contemporaries cried to see this, Rebbe Akiva laughed. He explained that the prophecy of destruction was followed by the prophecy of rebuilding, and that since we have witnessed the destruction, now we know that we will witness the rebuilding as well.

We know we are on the right side of history, and our future is assured. The curses have already been fulfilled; may the glorious future soon be fulfilled as well!

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