Bonds of Brotherhood & 9/11

September 9th, 2011 by admin | Filed under Sermons.

Shabbat Shalom.
We find in this week’s parasha another occurrence in a verse where the verb is doubled. We read in Deut. 22:4: “ הקם תקים עמו You are to raise it up, yes raise it up (together) with him.” The verse refers to the command to assist our brother in raising his fallen donkey (see 21:4). In this manner, the Torah imbues within us the importance of shared suffering and responsibility.
Why does the Torah repeat the word “to raise” (hakem takim)? The Midrash (Sifrei) explains that “[This teaches that] if he raised [the animal] and it fell, and then he raised it and it fell even 5 times, we are still obligated [to help].” In addition, the word “your brother” (achicha) appears 6 times in this short section, teaching us that sharing our brother’s burden is not a 1 time responsibility. As many times as one’s brother needs assistance, we must be there to lift him up.
I believe that we can extrapolate that one’s responsibility to so help, does not just apply to the individual, but also to brother nations. As the United States commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when we became victims to the scourge of terrorism that Israel has endured for decades, we as Americans, can take solace in the bond of brotherhood and mutual support that it shares with the Jewish state, and the commitment each nation has made to uphold and raise up the other in times of need.
After 9/11, while many in the Arab world celebrated America’s tragedy and suffering, Israel stood by its longtime friend and ally, offering not only physical support in critical areas of security, but also the moral support that can only be offered by a “brother” who has suffered the same pains. On that fateful day, America joined the brotherhood of nations that understands, first-hand, the true danger that radical Islam presents to the civilized world. Today, in the post-9/11 world, the United States and Israel are working more closely together than ever before to defeat the threats of radicalism and terrorism.
However, neither of us can afford to lose site of the primal source of these acts of terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism – a threat that won’t be eliminated by killing their leaders.
For example, consider what Israel is dealing with: In a December 16, 2009, interview with the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, proudly declared that there is no more incitement in the mosques. He stated: “They [Israel] said there is a problem with incitement in speeches in mosques during Friday prayers. Today there is no more incitement at any mosque.”
The following month, January 29, 2010, the following sermon from a mosque was broadcast live over the Palestinian Authority TV network: “The loathsome occupation in Palestine by these new Mongols and what they are perpetrating upon this holy land … are clear proof of … hostility, of incomparable racism, and of Nazism of the 20th century. The Jews are the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger! The Jews are the enemies of humanity and of Palestinians.
“Oh Muslims! The Jews are the Jews. Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims. Oh Muslims! This land will be liberated; these holy places and these mosques will be liberated, only … when all Muslims will be willing to be Jihad fighters for the sake of Allah and for the sake of supporting Palestine, the Palestinian people and the holy places in Palestine. The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them. ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah – there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Thus, this land will be liberated only by means of Jihad…”
My dear friends, as America looks back at the past 10 years and the tragedy that we, as a nation, suffered on September 11, we need to bare testimony to 2 things.
First, we must remind our leaders of the hatred that lurks in the hearts of the enemies of peace. Yes, there are Muslims throughout the world who are peaceful, law-abiding, God-fearing citizens, but in their midst, well-imbedded, are those who firmly believe “’Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah – there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Second, we also look to the future, taking solace in the fact that the United States and Israel will always support each other like brothers. No matter how many times one may fall, the other remains steadfast in its commitment to fulfilling the words of the Midrash. Our historic fabrics have changed, but we will remain as strong and resilient as brothers.
Kein Y`hee ratzon – ALUASA