Israel Forever

For the week ending 20 November 2004 / 7 Kislev 5765

Return to the Stones

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"The more things change," goes the old French saying, "the more they remain the same."

Two years ago this column featured an article on the collapse of National Unity Government then in power based on the lesson of the stones in this weeks Torah portion. Now that another coalition government seems on the verge of collapse we suggest to return to this lesson of unity provided by the stones and the Patriarch Yaakov.

When the Patriarch Yaakov lay down to sleep at the site where the Holy Temple would someday stand, the Torah relates that he formed a protective fence and pillow from "stones" he gathered from the area. After he awoke from his prophetic dream of angels and a ladder reaching to Heaven those same "stones" are referred to as a single "stone" which he erected as a pillar upon which he poured a libation of oil in service to G-d Who assured him in that dream that the earth he slept on would belong to his descendants forever.

How "stones" become one "stone" is explained by the Talmudic Sages in the following manner: the stones which Yaakov gathered began to quarrel amongst themselves, with each vying for the privilege of having the righteous patriarch rest his head upon it. G-d thereupon combined all of the stones into one large stone so that all of them would be privileged and pleased.

Let us put aside all of the cynical observations of political analysts who accuse one or the other of the protagonists in this drama. Let us be naןve enough to attribute to each of these politicians a genuine concern for the nation as their motive. But are they not like those stones vying for the privilege of rescuing Israel from its security and economic woes? If G-d imposed on the Jewish state problems of such magnitude that compelled such competing "stones" to form into one entity, could we not expect that all parties would be pleased to have the privilege of serving the people who elected them as leaders?

Perhaps the difference between stones and politicians is that stones have no agenda other than providing support for the righteous. Let the politicians take a cue from the stones and increase their support for the righteous Torah institutions which are the best guarantee for the security and economy of Israel forever!

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