Israel Forever

For the week ending 30 November 2002 / 25 Kislev 5763

The Abandoned Sons

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

With national elections only two months away, Israel is in the grips of an election fever which has pushed even the local war on Palestinian terror and the global war against Iraq to the sidelines. The headlines daily report the latest poll on how many parliamentary seats each political party is expected to win. The election campaign itself focuses on two issues security and economy as if these were the only problems in the world facing the people of Israel.

What about the shocking statistics of student violence in the nations secular schools and the increase in drug use by youngsters? Does either of the two major parties competing for votes have a program for restoring discipline and traditional values to the educational institutions which must prepare the future generations of Israel?

These are the abandoned sons who have been left by a permissive society to face alone the many dangers posed by modern evil influences. In this weeks Torah chapter we read of Yosef, a son of Yaakov, abandoned by his brothers in a pit which is described as "empty, with no water in it". The apparent redundancy of this description is thus explained by the Talmudic Sages: there was no water in the pit but there were snakes and scorpions in it.

Water is frequently used in Tanach as a symbol for Torah education. This allows us, points out one of the great Torah commentators, to interpret the description of Yosefs pit as a lesson for generations. Nature abhors a vacuum and when there is no water of Torah education there inevitably will be the snakes and scorpions of harmful influences.

With all due respect to the efforts of Israeli leaders to solve the problems of the present, there is also a responsibility to guarantee the nations future by protecting its abandoned sons against the poisonous snakes and scorpions. This can be done only by providing them with the nourishing water of traditional Jewish values which have sustained our people throughout history and will sustain Israel forever.

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