Balak 5771 – Anti-Semitism

“And now please come and curse this nation for me… perhaps we can strike at him and banish them from the land” Bamidbar 22:6

Why is there so many anti-Semites who want to kill us? Rabbi Eli Mansour points out an amazing insight from last week’s parsha. We came to the outskirts of the city of Edom and sent a message that we want to pass through the town. We will stay on the king’s highway and not turn left or right. Also, although we have food and water, we will buy supplies from the Edomi. There were 3 million Jews – this would certainly help the economy of the city because even if each person only spent $1.00, that’s $3 Million. But each person would have spent much more than that! The King of Edom did not allow the Jews to pass through and sent armed guards to make sure they did not come near. Why? What’s the problem?

The problem was the Jews represented holiness as they were tzaddikim who had been learning full time for the past 40 years. The people of Edom did not behave properly and felt uncomfortable around such holy people. They did not want to have this type of influence near them because we would feel make them feel embarrassed. They would feel forced to abandon their improper behaviors and they did not want to have to do that. This is why they hated us, and this is why so many nations hate us now. We represent holiness.

So how do we respond to anti-Semitism? Many people think assimilating will solve this problem, but if we look throughout Jewish history, we see assimilation causes more problems. During the times of the Greeks, many Jews wanted to become Hellenized. The Greeks responded by forcing the Jews to give up their practices or die. During the Persian rule, the Jews partied like the non-Jews. Suddenly, it was decreed all Jews were to be killed. If one looks at all of the tragedies throughout all of our generations, they will notice the Jews did not act in holiness when the tragedy came upon them.

On the other hand, when we act like holy people, no one can touch us. Bilaam tried to curse us and the other nations tried to defeat us in the desert. But they were unsuccessful. We behaved properly. The Chanuka and Purim events have happy endings because we followed the Mitzvos. And if we want to end anti-Semitism, there is only one protection: behaving as the Holy Nation.

Good Shabbos!
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