Israel Forever

For the week ending 9 July 2011 / 6 Tammuz 5771

A Nation That Dwells Alone

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

At a time when Israel finds itself in virtual isolation from the rest of the world because of the Palestinian state controversy, we can only reflect on what we will be reading in this week's Torah portion.

"A nation that dwells alone" was the way the evil prophet Bilaam described the nation he was hired to curse, "and it will not be reckoned among the nations."

The Midrash interprets this as a prophecy regarding Israel's mission to remain apart from the nations of the world in order to avoid being corrupted by their influence.

Perhaps the political isolation from which Israelis suffering should serve as a reminder that Jews must avoid assimilating into the world community and strive to preserve their sense of sacred mission forever.

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