Jews and Arabs Together against the Nazis

Jews and Arabs Together against the Nazis
by Nadav Shragai and Israel Hayom

During the first three years of WWII thousands of Arabs and Jews from Mandate Palestine had fought side by side against the Nazi scourge.

One day, completely by chance, Professor Mustafa Abbasi from the village Jish in the upper Galilee, uncovered a family secret. Abbasi had wondered aloud how there could be a five-year difference between his mother’s date of birth and that of her younger sister. He then heard for the first time that his grandfather, Said Abbasi, had spent five long years away from home, volunteering with the British Army in World War II, battling the Nazis alongside Jewish volunteers.

Only later, after he had become a researcher and delved into the subject, did Abbasi learn how widespread a phenomenon that had been: thousands of Arabs and Jews from Mandate Palestine had fought side by side against the Nazi scourge.

As a historian and as a professor of the history at Tel-Hai Academic College, Abbasi has personally interviewed or secured testimonies from dozens of Palestinians who served in the British army in World War II and fought alongside Jews.

Radwan Said of Kafr Kana told Abbasi that he had served as a sniper and killed three Nazi soldiers in battles in Italy.

Abbasi spoke to the elders in his home village of Jish. One, Zaki Jubran, fought the Nazis along with his brother.

Abbasi would eventually discover lists of more and more Arabs who volunteered for the British army and served alongside Jews – from Jaffa, Jerusalem, Safed, Jenin, and Nablus. Tiberias alone, a city in which Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully for many years, supplied hundreds of Arab volunteers. Hundreds of Arab fighters lost their lives. Others were taken prisoner. Yet more are still missing in action, over 70 years later.

This is a historical episode that is rarely discussed. It does not align with the various narratives about the history of the Jewish-Arab conflict prior to or after the war years. Abbasi’s research reveals that this was certainly no passing “phenomenon.” He writes about the joint Jewish-Arab war service in an in-depth article published in the last issue of Katedra, the oldest academic journal on Land of Israel studies, published by the Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi. He might turn it into a book.

Some 12,000 Arabs from Mandate Palestine volunteered for the British army during World War II.

All in all, some 12,000 Arabs from Mandate Palestine volunteered for the British army during World War II, approximately half the number of Jewish volunteers who joined up. Hundreds of Palestinian fighters were captured. Approximately 300 died in battle. Relations between the Jewish and Arab volunteers were mostly good. The leaders of the Jewish Yishuv, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, eventually had the Jewish volunteers removed from the mixed unit to establish the famous Jewish Brigade, which would go on to provide a crucial military basis for Israel in the 1948 War of Independence. The leaders had never liked the idea of Jews and Arabs from Mandate Palestine serving together, and there were also plenty on the Arab side who were against it.

At the time, the Arab population in pre-state Israel was split between the Husseinis, under Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini – a Nazi partner – and the Nashashibi clan, who openly supported the British and usually maintained good ties with the Jewish population. The years of the Arab revolt (1936-1939), which al-Husseini led against the British only a few years before World War II, did not make it easy for Arabs to volunteer for the British army. Abbasi believes the Arab enlistment was no surprise.

“About 60% [of the Arabs] supported the British and opposed the Husseinis. A large part was pro-Jew and pro-British and was even willing to compromise and accept the Partition Plan. In contrast to what we were erroneously taught in school, not all of them worshiped the Mufi Husseini. It was actually the Jewish side that tried and eventually succeeded in breaking up the partnership because the Zionist movement had a stronger national agenda. Ben-Gurion and his friends demanded a Jewish force that would fight under a Jewish symbol and a Jewish flag, and not in mixed units, and they eventually got it,” Abbasi says.

The Middle East Commando

Abbasi’s work demonstrates that many volunteers were motivated by financial need. In the first half of 1940, the auxiliary unit known as the “diggers force” was established. The diggers worked mostly in construction under the command of Maj. Henry Cater. The platoons included both Arabs and Jews. The commanders were British. A British propaganda campaign that aimed to increase the number of Arab volunteers featured heads of Arab towns and village leaders. Rallies were held in Abu Dis, Hebron, Jenin, Kafr Qaddum, and Jerusalem. Well-known Egyptian writer Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad said on a Radio Palestine broadcast that “The war is between humane, lofty values that England represents and the forces of darkness represented by the Nazis.”

On April 2, 1941, 6,000 people convened in the Hula Valley. The conference was organized by valley leader Kamal Hussein al-Youssef and attended by the mayor of Safed Zaki Kaddoura. After a feast, the Hula Valley dignitaries agreed to allow young Arabs to enlist in the British army and applauded King George VI.

In the first few months of 1942, as the Allies’ situation on the North African front grew worse, the British authorities began appealing to Arab women, as well. In May 1942, another large conference was held, this time in Tulkarem, and the mayor reminded those present about how brutally the Italians – who were allied with the Nazis – were treating the Libyans.

Abbasi has found that most of the Arab volunteers were village youth. Residents of cities, who enjoyed a higher quality of life, were less enthusiastic about military service in a distant country. Nevertheless, some “city boys” did enlist. These included hundreds of dock workers from Jaffa who lost their jobs when trade at the port tapered off during the Arab Revolt.

The lists of missing and dead Abbasi has found include the names of many prominent urban Arab families. Although many volunteers were motivated by money, there were those who signed up because of ideology, because they opposed the Nazi ideal of a master race and believed in the British and their values.

“Mostly upper-class urban [youth] and educated people who had been influenced by British education and culture [joined]. … When the Italians bombed Tel Aviv and Jaffa and Haifa, hundreds were killed, both Jews and Arabs,” Abbasi notes.

Abbasi has also discovered that several dozen Jews and Arabs fought together alongside thousands of British and Egyptian troops at the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942. The British Eighth Army managed to check the advance of Gen. Erwin Rommel’s forces and cause them heavy casualties. A few of the volunteers also took part in the Allied invasion at Normandy in the summer of 1944.

Jews and Arabs from Mandate Palestine fought together against the Nazis in Italy and Greece. They served in the transport, logistics, medical, and engineering positions. On Aug. 6, British War Secretary Anthony Eden informed Parliament that the British army would be establishing an Arab Brigade and then a Jewish Brigade within the infantry.

As January 1942 approached, the infantry corps included 18 platoons, seven Arab (one from Transjordan) and 11 Jewish ones. There were a total of 4,041 Arab volunteers and 10,000 Jewish volunteers from Palestina in the British infantry. Members of the 401st platoon who took part in fortification work and laying down railway tracks in France helped stall the Germany forces. That platoon included 250 Arabs and 450 Jews. When they returned to Palestina, they were welcomed as heroes by the High Commissioner.

Jews and Arabs also served together in the Middle East Commando unit, which included 240 Jews and 120 Arabs, under a team of British commanders. The volunteers with the unit underwent exhausting physical training and long marches in difficult conditions. At the end of 1940, some members of the unit took part in the first British attack in the Western Desert and burst through Italian lines at Bardia, on the Egyptian-Libyan border. In the winter of 1941, the unit fought fierce battles against the Italians.

One of the female Arab volunteers is pictured in the Falastin newspaper | Photo: Falastin (archive)

Nearly 200 Arab women from Palestina served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps and in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. The person responsible for assigning Jewish and Arab women jobs was Audrey Cheety, who was warned that she was taking on a dangerous job. A total of 60 women went through basic training. Only four were Arab, but Cheety managed to get them into officers training after she scolded Palestinian women’s organizations into helping the war effort.

The newspaper “Falastin” also threw itself into the war effort and published articles and pictures of female volunteers in uniform, such as Rahel Shaherazade from Jerusalem. Most of the female Arab volunteers were from cities.

One of the notable female volunteers was Anastasia (Asia) Halabi, who served as a driver and then became an officer. She was the sister of Jerusalem artist Sophie Halabi. The sisters’ mother was Russian, and their father was Arab. After 1948, Asia Halabi went on to serve as a liaison officer between the Jordanian army and the UN in Jerusalem.

Arabs and Jews serving closely together led to one ironic mistake that was reported in Haaretz a few years ago. Shahab Hajaj, an Arab who joined the British army, was captured by the Germans and died in 1943. To this day, Hajaj is commemorated as a fallen Israeli soldier on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Someone assumed he was Jewish.

“I believe that history can bring people closer, seek out common chapters, events that connect us. There are those, too.”

When asked if it’s possible that after the war, the same Jews and Arabs who had fought with the British as comrades wound up fighting each other in the 1948 War of Independence, Abbasi says “it’s definitely possible.”

“A lot of the Arab volunteers later joined the Jordanian Legion. The Jordanian Legion, as we know, fought against the Jews in 1948,” he says.

However, Abbasi stresses that he has not found proof that this actually happened, apart from stories he has heard, not first-hand.

Another historian, Prof. Mustafa Kabha, quotes research by Lebanese historian Bian Nowihad al-Hut in his book “The Palestinians – a People Dispersed.” Al-Hut based her research on research conducted by the Palestine Liberation Organization. She counted three Arab commando units and one commando unit comprised of Jews and Arabs that fought with the Allied forces in France.

Abbasi says that although he is aware of the personal side of the topic, it is not why he chose to research it.

“This is a widespread phenomenon in which Jews and Arabs found themselves on the same side. In our country, people are always looking for reasons to separate and stir up conflict between Jews and Arabs. I believe that history can bring people closer, seek out common chapters, events that connect us. There are those, too.

“There aren’t many, unfortunately. But they exist, and I thought that nothing could be more connecting than this partnership and comrade’s bond. This chapter of history has a mission – to open hearts, and not just seek out fights and enmity. With all due respect to the national narratives, people are more important,” says Abbasi.

“We meet at this historical point. In the first three years of World War II, Jews and Arabs fought, ate, trained, were taken prisoner, and killed together. That gives us a sliver of hope for the future. There are episodes of good neighborly relations, joint business ventures, mixed cities, and as a historian, a Muslim, and an Arab citizen of the state of Israel, I’m happy that I’ve had the privilege of revealing one of these times. Of course, it demands more, in-depth research.”

Indeed, the wealth of research into the time of the British Mandate, the thousands of volunteers from Palestina – Jews and Arabs, serving in mixed units and separate ones – have been almost totally forgotten. In his work, Abbasi quotes from the diaries of journalist and educator Taher al-Fatiani and Jerusalem writer Subhi Gusha, who recorded the sentiments of Arab society and the disputes that raged within it over the issue of volunteering for the British army and fighting alongside Jews.

Prof. Yoav Gelber has noted that after Crete and Greece fell in April 1941, 1,600 soldiers from Palestina were captured, including about 400 Arabs. Yitzhak Ben-Aharon, a leader of the Labor movement at the time, was one. Later, Ben-Aharon would go on to tell the story of how the Jews and Arabs joined forces in the prisoners’ camp. Yosef Almogi, a former cabinet minister, describes in his memoirs the unusual “togetherness” forced between the prisoners.

Abbasi’s research ends on a less positive note. The positive atmosphere, he says, “and the temporary closeness between [both] the British and the Arabs and the Arabs and the Jews came to an end. The difficult times that began immediately after the war have caused this special chapter in the history of the country to be forgotten.”

[In top photo: Arab residents of Jerusalem gather for an enlistment rally outside the Old City | Photo: Library of Congress]

As taken from,

Learning to Live with Uncertainty

How to attain greater peace of mind in world filled with risk and insecurity.

Learning to Live with Uncertainty
by Emuna Braverman

There are those who love rules and order, who make quick decisions and like closure. For these people, uncertainty and risk are rather painful. On the other hand, there are those who thrive on uncertainty, who prefer to keep all their options open, who have a very difficult time with decision-making, with being forced to choose one thing (or person) over another. These are the types of personalities that find uncertainty easier to live with, that are better able to tolerate risk, that could choose jobs in areas like sales and entertainment where there are no “guaranteed” salaries. (They also need spouses who have some ability to tolerate the uncertainty as well!)

Whether it’s an innate character trait or not, we all need to learn to live with uncertainty. We can’t know the future. We don’t know how our decisions will play out. We aren’t told whether our actions will lead to success our failure, whether this relationship will last or fade. We want certainty because it offers up the illusion of control. And we don’t have it because the Almighty wants to spare us this illusion. He wants us to recognize that ultimately He’s in charge.

Only by truly recognizing – and deeply internalizing – the idea that He wants our best and that everything is for our good can we cope with the unknown. The Torah suggests that at the end of his life, our forefather Jacob was given a vision of the end of days. He was desirous of sharing this information with his children, the leaders of the tribes of Israel. The Almighty, however, prevented him from doing so.

I think there are a number of reasons for this. If the end of days was too distant, they may have felt depressed and unmotivated. If it was too soon, they may have felt excited and unmotivated! Those are real concerns. But on the deeper level, I think that only through uncertainty can we come to faith and trust in the Almighty.

I say this as someone who loves structure, rules and order. I say this as someone who is always desperate for closure. A friend in sales says that their motto is “Better a slow yes than a quick no.” I’m afraid that, psychologically anyway, I prefer the quick no. I say this as someone who makes quick decisions (some that I live to regret – did I really want that color paint in the bathroom?). But I also say this as someone who recognizes that I have some growing to do, particularly in this area. I also say this as someone who understands that faith and trust require letting go.

The future is in the Almighty’s hands. There is NOTHING I can do to change that, and acceptance of this fact coupled with recognition of His love and kindness can only lead to greater peace of mind. We delude ourselves into thinking that greater control will lead to greater calm. If I continue to work on recognizing the Almighty’s love and care for me, His investment in my future and my good, then I could learn to tolerate uncertainty – even with equanimity. That’s my goal because, in the end, I really have no choice.

We all have to learn to live with uncertainty and to trust in the Almighty. Some of us are born with personalities that make this particular aspect of our relationship with God a little easier, but it’s incumbent on all of us to discover the inner resources that allow us to accept the reality that we are not in full control. And run with it.

As taken from,

When God’s Answer Is ‘No’

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

At the end of his life, Moses makes two requests of God concerning leadership in the Land of Israel: one, in this week’s parsha, that he be allowed “to cross over and see the Good Land beyond the Jordan River,” where he presumably can continue to lead [Deuteronomy 3:23-25]. God’s response: “You must command Joshua, strengthen him and give him resolve, for he shall cross before this nation and shall bring them to inherit the Land” [Deut. 3:28].

The second request came in Pinchas, “Let (God) appoint a leader over the witness assembly” [Numbers 27:15-16], a request coming after the Torah informs us that the daughters of Tzelafhad can inherit their father’s share [Num. 27:11].

Listen to the words of the Midrash: “What caused Moses to request his replacement, after [the story of] the daughters? Since these daughters inherited their father, Moses declared, ‘This is the right moment for me to claim my need. After all, if these women can inherit [their father] my sons should certainly inherit my glory.’ The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: ‘… Your sons sat idly by themselves and were not occupied in the study of Torah. Joshua, on the other hand, served you well and extended to you much honor. He would arrive at your courthouse early in the morning and leave late at night. … Appoint Joshua the son of Nun as your successor, to fulfill the verse, ‘the guardian of the fig tree shall eat of its fruit’” [Proverbs 27:18].

Both requests by Moses are denied. That his children be his successors is denied because his sons are found wanting. Perhaps Moses understands that he himself bears some guilt for the flaws in his children. After all, he is so consumed with his relationship with the Divine that he doesn’t seem to have the time or the patience for family.

Moses apparently is more comfortable requesting that he be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Does he not deserve to reach his life’s goal, enter the Land of Israel, and begin this new era of Jewish history with himself as leader? And yet, that request, too, is denied: “And the Lord was angry at me because of you, and He did not accept my plea … saying that I may not speak of this anymore” [Deut. 3:26].

Perhaps both rejections emanate from the same source, and Moses is really blaming himself. Remember that when God had originally asked Moses to assume the leadership of the Israelites, Moses demurred, claiming to be kevad peh, “heavy of speech” [Ex. 4:10]. And then the Bible testifies that “the [Israelites] did not listen to Moses [about leaving Egypt] because of impatience and difficult work” [Ex. 6:9]. Most commentators explain that the Hebrews had no energy to resist their slavery; the hard work of servitude sapped their inner strength and prevented them from even dreaming about freedom. But Ralbag [1288-1344] explains this to mean that it was because of Moses’ impatience with his people [the Hebrews], because of his difficult work in making himself intellectually and spiritually close to the Divine.

Moses was into the “heavy talk” of communicating with God and receiving the Divine words. He did not have the interest or patience to get into the small talk, the necessary public relations of establishing personal ties and convincing one Hebrew after another that it was worthwhile to rebel against Egypt and conquer the Land of Israel. He was a God-person, not a people-person, or even a family-person. He’s not blaming them; he is ultimately blaming himself. He spent his time communicating with God, receiving God’s words for the generations; as a result, Moses sacrificed his ability to move his own generation to accept God’s command to enter the Promised Land.

A leader must share the destiny of his people. If they could not enter the Land, even if it was because of their own backsliding, he may not enter the Land, because he did not succeed in inspiring them.

The very source of Moses’ greatness — his lofty spirit and closeness to God — was what prevented him from getting down to the level of his congregation and family to lift them up. Moses succeeded like no one else, before or after him, in communicating God’s word for all future generations; but he did not do as well with his own generation. Hence his words are honest and very much to the point: “The Lord was angry at me because of you” — because I did not have sufficient time to deal with you on a personal level, to nurture and empower you until you were ready to accept God’s teachings and conquer the Promised Land.

Perhaps Moses’ requests were denied in order to teach us that no mortal, not even Moses, leaves this world without desires unfulfilled. And perhaps he was refused merely to teach us that no matter how worthy our prayer, sometimes God answers “No,” and we must accept a negative answer.

Faith, first and foremost, implies our faithfulness to God, even though at the end of the day He may refuse our request.

As taken from,

¿Las etiquetas son sólo para la ropa?

¿Las etiquetas son sólo para la ropa?
por Chayi Hanfling

Entendiendo el uso positivo y negativo de las etiquetas.

“Las etiquetas son para la ropa, no para las personas”, suelen decir. Una versión más honesta sería esta: “Las etiquetas son para la ropa y para otras personas, ¡pero no te atrevas a tratar de etiquetarme a mí!”.

La mayoría de las personas detestan que les pongan rótulos, pero les encanta etiquetar a los demás. Como seres humanos complejos, nos resistimos a ser reducidos a un prolijo y pequeño paquete. Nuestras almas anhelan ser libres, sin ataduras y auténticas, por lo que nos irrita que nos encierren y nos limiten dentro de las diversas categorías sociales.

Pero las etiquetas también tienen un propósito (aparte del que tienen en las prendas), y un mundo que se resiste en exceso a las etiquetas quizás sea también un mundo que no está cómodo con los límites y las definiciones. Sin duda el deseo de no limitarse a uno mismo es positivo, pero si nunca te limitas ni te defines… ¿entonces quién eres realmente? Una palabra es significativa porque significa algo, pero sólo significa algo porque no significa otra cosa.

Tomemos por ejemplo la etiqueta “judío”. Si la palabra judío significa cualquier cosa que uno desee, entonces la palabra pierde su significado. Esto no significa que la definición de ciertos términos y etiquetas no vayan a ser polémicos y debatibles, pero el punto de partida debe ser que, es necesaria una definición y esto no es intrínsecamente ofensivo. En un mundo en el que cada vez hay más definiciones subjetivas, se vuelve cada vez más difícil discutir ideas. Al final de cuentas, si cada uno tiene su propia definición de las palabras, ¿cómo podemos usar esas palabras para discutir sobre ideas y mantener una comunicación significativa?

Las etiquetas son constructivas cuando proveen claridad y ayudan a promover el diálogo y el entendimiento. Pero a menudo se las usa para impedir la comunicación.

Esta es la distinción básica entre un uso positivo o negativo de las etiquetas. Las etiquetas son constructivas cuando proveen claridad y ayudan a promover el diálogo y el entendimiento. Pero a menudo se las usa exactamente con el propósito contrario: para descartar a alguien e impedir la comunicación. Conversaciones importantes se interrumpen porque una o ambas partes se niegan a ver más allá de la identidad o de la etiqueta de la persona con la que están conversando para llegar realmente a discutir el contenido.

¿Cuántas veces vimos que alguien intenta aclarar un punto significativo en una discusión política y se lo descarta simplemente diciendo: “¡izquierdista!” o “oligarca!”. El deseo de etiquetar a los demás en este contexto es claro. Si puedo demostrar que alguien es del “otro equipo”, entonces simple y convenientemente puedo rechazarlo en base a su identidad, sin llegar a relacionarme con la sustancia misma de lo que dice. El pensamiento introspectivo o la conversación matizada es mucho más complicada que permanecer en una cámara de eco. La misma dinámica entra en juego cuando se discute sobre religión.

Hace poco completamos el período de las tres semanas y Tishá BeAv, donde guardamos duelo por la destrucción del Templo. Dado que el Templo fue destruido a causa del odio infundado, la manera en que podemos contrarrestarlo es con abundante amor. Superar nuestros egos y nuestras parcialidades, nuestros juicios y nuestra estrechez mental y en cambio abrir nuestros brazos, nuestras mentes y nuestros corazones. Hoy más que nunca esto puede parecer algo imposible, pero siempre fuimos un pueblo que acepta lo imposible.

Segun tomado de,

¿Por qué duele tanto cuando te rechazan?

¿Por qué duele tanto cuando te rechazan?
por Becky Krinsky

Causa más daño lo que se siente internamente, que el rechazo causado por los demás.

El rechazo es un sentimiento conocido por todos, cada quien lo ha sentido a su manera y en algún momento de su vida. Éste, causa heridas emocionales que a pesar de no se verse, lastiman al alma y aumentan el sentimiento de soledad, desconexión y desamor.

El rechazo duele porque lastima directamente la autoestima. La persona rechazada siente que es inadecuada, diferente o que simplemente no es aceptada. El rechazo cuestiona el valor propio y hace dudar a la persona. 

Sentir rechazo paraliza y genera pena interna que cuesta trabajo superar, porque la persona siente como si le clavaran un puñal directo en su alma, el cual deja una cicatriz silenciosa y un vacío emocional. 

Cuando una persona es rechazada, se siente juzgada y excluida del grupo, la familia o hasta de su propia pareja. Cuando esto sucede, se pierde la seguridad personal y aumenta la vulnerabilidad y desprotección.

El rechazo afecta a las emociones y al humor, ya que el daño que se siente, se registra en la mente, justo en el mismo lugar donde se localiza la sensación cuando hay dolor físico. Así, las reacciones son similares. El dolor es dolor, no importa si es físico o emocional.

Desafortunadamente, el daño generado por una causa mental no se ve y solo lo siente la persona que ha sido rechazada, por lo tanto, nadie le da la importancia más que la persona que ha sido rechazada. 

Cuando la tristeza y la soledad causadas por el rechazo no se cuidan, se convierten en depresión. Cuando esta depresión se agudiza, la recuperación de la persona se complica y no siempre se puede sanar.  

Desde luego que hay diferentes tipos de rechazos, no es lo mismo el rechazo en las redes sociales, que sentir rechazo familiar, de la pareja, de un trabajo o de amigos cercanos. No es lo mismo un raspón leve, que una fractura de un hueso. El tiempo y el cuidado para sanar son muy distintos en cada caso.

El problema más grave del rechazo es que cuando sucede, no importa la razón, ni la explicación, la persona rechazada se atormenta y ella misma se juzga con más crueldad, sufre porque no es aceptado y se sufre aún más por las ideas que el alimenta en su mente.

El rechazo se convierte en una tortura que se revive continuamente y dirige la atención sólo a los aspectos negativos, destructivos y tóxicos de la persona, perdiendo de vista todo lo bueno y positivo que también es.

El mejor antídoto para el rechazo, es hacer “higiene mental” continua, por medio de la claridad de los pensamientos, validando la convicción propia, y no tomando tan personalmente la opinion de los otros.

Hay que ser noble con uno mismo y aceptar que no siempre la gente nos va a aceptar.

La receta: Protegiéndose del rechazo


  • Claridad de pensamientos – ser objetivo y realista con el pensamiento
  • Fortaleza – valor para defender los valores y las ideas personales sin crear lucha de poder
  • Determinación – disciplina para seguir, luchar y continuar el camino
  • Convicción – validarse a uno mismo para no depender de la aceptación de los demás
  • Actitud positiva – no darse por vencido, buscar la conexión por todos los medios necesarios

Afirmación Positiva para protegerse del rechazo:

Tengo y valoro mi opinion propia. Me gusta compartir mis ideas, pero si no son aceptadas, no me voy a sentir rechazado. Respeto la forma de pensar de los demás y me gusta que me respeten a mí. Tengo claridad en mis pensamientos, fortaleza para defender mi valor propio, convicción en mis ideas y valor para conquistar el miedo al rechazo. Me enfoco en lo bueno, lo positivo y lo que me ayuda a ser mejor.

Como superar el rechazo:

  1. Busca a quien te quiere y te respeta por lo que eres y dices. NO te aferres a las personas que no te respetan y te tratan mal. Hay muchas personas en este mundo, rodéate con gente que te entienda y te valore.
  2. La opinion y la persona más importante para tomar en cuenta eres tú mismo. No debes tratar de complacer a los demás, porque por hacerlo, puedes comprometer tus valores, tu tranquilidad y al final igual nunca vas a quedar bien con todos.
  3. Aplica primeros auxilios emocionales constantemente. Valídate, trátate con gentileza, enfócate en todos los aspectos positivos de tu personalidad. Nutre tu amor propio. Recuerda que si tú no te quieres, difícilmente otros lo harán por ti.

“No puedes controlar a quien te rechaza, pero tienes absoluto control de tus reacciones hacia el rechazo y la forma como te tratas a ti mismo”.

Segun tomado de,

El más pequeño de todos los pueblos

por Rabino Jonathan Sacks

En la parashá de esta semana se esconde discreta una frase breve con un potencial explosivo que nos lleva a pensar de nuevo acerca de la naturaleza de la historia judía y acerca de la tarea que tiene hoy en día el judaísmo.

Moshé le recordaba a la nueva generación, a los hijos de aquellos que habían abandonado Egipto, la extraordinaria historia de la que eran herederos:

Ciertamente, pregunta ahora acerca de los tiempos pasados que fueron antes de ti, desde el día en que Di-s creó al hombre sobre la tierra; inquiere desde un extremo de los cielos hasta el otro. ¿Se ha hecho cosa tan grande como ésta, o se ha oído algo como esto? ¿Ha oído pueblo alguno la voz de Di-s, hablando de en medio del fuego, como tú la has oído, y ha sobrevivido? ¿O ha intentado dios alguno tomar para sí una nación de en medio de otra nación, con pruebas, con señales y maravillas, con guerra y mano fuerte y con brazo extendido y hechos aterradores, como Hashem tu Di-s hizo por ti en Egipto delante de tus ojos?1

Los israelitas no habían cruzado todavía el Iardén. No habían comenzado aún su vida como pueblo soberano en su propia tierra. Pero aun así Moshé estaba seguro, con una certidumbre que sólo podía ser profética, de que eran un pueblo como ningún otro. Lo que les había sucedido era extraordinario. Habían sido y eran un pueblo destinado a la grandeza.

Moshé les recuerda de la gran revelación en el monte Sinaí. Recuerda los Diez Mandamientos. Da el discurso más famoso de toda la fe judía: “Escucha, Israel: Hashem es nuestro Di-s, Hashem es uno”. Da la más majestuosa de todas las órdenes: “Ama a Hashem tu Di-s con todo tu corazón y con toda tu alma y con toda tu fuerza”. Dos veces les dice a las personas que le enseñen estas cosas a sus hijos. Les da su misión eterna como pueblo: “Porque tú eres pueblo santo para Hashem tu Di-s; Hashem tu Dios te ha escogido para ser pueblo suyo de entre todos los pueblos que están sobre la faz de la tierra”.2

Luego dice:

Hashem no puso su amor en vosotros ni os escogió por ser vosotros más numerosos que otro pueblo, pues erais el más pequeño de todos los pueblos.3

¿El más pequeño de todos los pueblos?¿Qué había pasado con todas las promesas de Bereshit, de que los hijos de Abraham serían muchos, incontables, tantos como las estrellas que hay en el cielo, como el polvo de la tierra, como los granos de arena que hay en la playa? ¿Qué hay con la declaración de Moshé mismo al comienzo de Devarim: “Hashem vuestro Di-s os ha multiplicado y he aquí que hoy sois como las estrellas del cielo en multitud”?4

La respuesta es sencilla. Los israelitas eran en efecto numerosos en comparación con lo que habían sido. Moshé mismo así lo dice en la parashá de la semana próxima: “Cuando tus padres descendieron a Egipto eran setenta personas, y ahora Hashem tu Di-s te ha hecho tan numeroso como las estrellas del cielo”.5 Habían sido una pequeña y única familia: Abraham, Sara y sus descendientes, y ahora se convertían en un pueblo de doce tribus.

Pero (y este es el punto de Moshé) en comparación con otros pueblos, aún eran pocos. “Cuando Hashem tu Di-s te haya introducido en la tierra donde vas a entrar para poseerla y haya echado de delante de ti a muchas naciones: los hititas, los gergeseos, los amorreos, los cananeos, los ferezeos, los heveos y los jebuseos, siete naciones más grandes y más poderosas que tú…”.6 En otras palabras, los israelitas no sólo eran menos que la gente de los grandes imperios del mundo antiguo. Eran incluso menos que la gente de los otros pueblos de la región. En relación a sus orígenes, habían crecido, pero en comparación con sus vecinos aún eran pocos.

Luego Moshé les dice lo que esto significa:

Si dijeras en tu corazón: “Estas naciones son más poderosas que nosotros, ¿cómo podremos desposeerlas?”, no tengas temor de ellas; recuerda bien lo que Hashem tu Di-s hizo al Faraón y a todo Egipto”.7

Israel sería el más pequeño de los pueblos por una razón que tiene que ver con el corazón mismo de su existencia. Para mostrarle al mundo que un pueblo no necesita ser grande para ser grandioso. No tiene que ser numeroso para vencer a sus enemigos. La extraordinaria historia de Israel comprobará que, en las palabras del profeta Zejariá (4:6): “‘No por el poder ni por la fuerza, sino por mi Espíritu’ dice Hashem Todopoderoso”.

En sí mismo, Israel sería testigo de algo más grande que sí mismo. Como lo expresó el filósofo exmarxista Nicolái Berdiáyev:

Recuerdo cómo la interpretación materialista de la historia, cuando en mi juventud intenté verificarla al aplicarla a los destinos de los pueblos, no funcionó en el caso de los judíos, en el que el destino parecía inexplicable desde el punto de vista materialista […]. Su supervivencia es un fenómeno misterioso y maravilloso que demuestra que la vida de este pueblo es gobernada por una predeterminación especial, que trasciende los procesos de adaptación que explica la interpretación materialista de la historia. La supervivencia de los judíos, su resistencia a la destrucción, su capacidad de soportar las condiciones más difíciles y el papel fundamental que jugaron en la historia: todo esto apunta a los fundamentos, tan particulares y misteriosos, de su destino.8

La declaración de Moshé tiene enormes implicancias para la identidad judía. La proposición implícita a lo largo del Covenant and Conversation de este año es que los judíos han tenido una influencia sin proporción con su número porque todos somos llamados a ser líderes, a tomar la responsabilidad, a contribuir, a marcar una diferencia en la vida de los demás, a traer al mundo la presencia Divina. Como somos pocos, estamos todos y cada uno destinados a la grandeza.

S. Y. Agnon, el gran escritor en lengua hebrea, compuso un rezo para acompañar el Kadish de Duelo. Se dio cuenta de que los niños de Israel siempre han sido pocos en comparación con los de otras naciones. Luego dijo que cuando un rey gobierna a una población numerosa, no se da cuenta cuando una persona muere, porque hay otras personas que ocupan su lugar. “Pero nuestro Rey, el Rey de Reyes, el Sagrado, santificado sea… Nos eligió, y no porque seamos un pueblo numeroso, porque somos uno de los más pequeños. Somos pocos, y a causa del amor con que él nos ama, cada uno de nosotros es para él una legión entera. No tiene muchos reemplazos para nosotros. Si uno de nosotros falta, que el Cielo lo prohíba, entonces las fuerzas del Rey se ven disminuidas y su reino se debilita, como ha sucedido. Una de sus legiones se va y su grandeza se reduce. Por esta razón, es nuestra costumbre recitar el Kadish cuando un judío fallece”.9

Margaret Mead dijo una vez: “Nunca dudes de que un pequeño grupo de personas atentas y comprometidas pueda cambiar el mundo. De hecho, es lo único que alguna vez lo ha cambiado”. Gandhi dijo: “Un pequeño cuerpo de espíritus determinados, motivados por una fe infranqueable en su misión, puede cambiar el curso de la historia”. Esa debe ser nuestra fe como judíos. Podremos ser el más pequeño de todos los pueblos, pero cuando prestamos atención al llamado de Di-s, tenemos la capacidad, como lo prueba numerosas veces nuestro pasado, de enmendar y transformar el mundo.

Notas al Pie

1. Devarim 4:32-34.

2.Devarim 7:6.

3.Devarim 7:7.

4.Devarim 1:10.

5.Devarim 10:22.

6.Devarim 7:1.

7.Devarim 7:17-18.

8.Nicolái Berdiáyev, The Meaning of History, Transaction Publishers, 2005, 86 (hay edición castellana: El sentido de la historia, Encuentro, Madrid, 1979).

9.Leon Wieseltier, Kaddish, London: Picador, 1998, 22-23.

Segun tomado de,

Parashat Va’etchanan: Sweetening the Divine Word

by Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Rabbi Azariah and Rabbi Acha said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: When, at Mount Sinai, the Israelites heard the word “Anochi” (“I” — the first word of “The Ten Words”), their souls left them, as it says:[1] “If we hear the voice of God any more, we will die.” It is also written:[2] “My soul departed when He spoke.”  Then the Word went back to the Holy One blessed be He and said: ”Lord of the Universe, You live eternally and Your Torah lives eternally, but You have sent me to the dead. They are all dead!” Thereupon, the Holy One blessed be He sweetened the Word for them… Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught: The Torah that God gave to Israel restored their souls to them, as it says:[3] “The Torah of the Lord is perfect, it restores the soul.”[4]

It may perhaps be argued that this Midrash, like no other text, encapsulates the essence of Judaism and its dialectic nature. The tension between Jewish Law and the near hopelessness of man to live by it, survive it and simultaneously obey it with great fervor is at the very core of Judaism’s complexity.

The Divine Word is deadly and causes paralysis. The Word, wrought by fire in the upper world, is unmanageable and wreaks havoc once it descends. Its demands are not of this world; they belong to the angels. The Word therefore comes to naught once it enters the human sphere, since there is no one to receive it. All have died before the Word is able to pronounce its second word. How then can it delight the living soul?

The answer is: sweetness. It has to have grace and therefore must be put to music. The problem with the Word is that it carries the possibility of literal-mindedness[5] and takes the word for what it is, robbing it of its inner spiritual meaning. The language of faith employs only a few words in its own spirit. Most of its terms are borrowed from the world in which the Word creates physical images in the mind of man. But the Divine Word needs to be heard, not seen. To hear is to perceive what is beyond the utterance of the mouth. To live with the Word is to discover the ineffable and act on it through the direction of the Law. The mitzvot are founded on the appreciation of the unimaginable, but they become poison when performed only for the sake of the deed.

Rabbi Shefatia said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: If one reads the Torah without a melody, or repeats the Mishnah without a tune, of him Scripture says:[6] “So, too, I gave them statutes that were not good and laws by which they could not live.” [7]

When one learns Torah without spiritual sweetness symbolized in a melody, which takes the words far beyond their literary meaning, the biblical text turns into a deadly poison. Similarly, to observe a commandment without sweetness is like consuming a medicine in which the healing components have gone bad. They are not only neutralized but have become mortally dangerous.

The function of music is to connect the Word with Heaven. It is not so much the music that man plays on an instrument or sings, but the music of his soul, which is externalized through the use of an instrument or song. It leads man to the edge of the infinite and allows him to gaze, just for a few moments, into the Other. Music is the art of word exegesis. While a word on its own is dead, it is resurrected when touched by music. Music is the refutation of human finality.  As such, it is the sweetness that God added to His Word when the Word alone was wreaking havoc. It is able to revive man when he dies as he is confronted with the bare Word at Sinai. Life without music is death—poignantly bitter when one realizes that one has never really lived.

There is little meaning in living by Halacha if one does not hear its grace. It is not a life of Halachic observance that we need, but a life of experiencing Halacha as a daily living music recital. Observance alone does not propel man to a level of existence where he realizes that there is more to life than the mind can grasp.

Jewish education has often been founded on the Word before it turned to God to be sweetened. As a result, there are many casualties and a large part of our nation has been paralyzed.

It is the great task of Jewish educators and thinkers to send the Word back to God and ask Him to teach them how to sweeten it.


[1] Devarim 5:22.

[2] Shir HaShirim 5:6.

[3] Tehillim 19:8.

[4] Shir HaShirim Rabbah, V, 16, iii.

[5] Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976) p. 179.

[6] Yechezkel 20:25.

[7] Megillah 32a.

As taken from,

Why Two Versions of the Ten Commandments?

Why Is Deuteronomy 5 Different From Exodus 20?

By Yehuda Shurpin

Unlike the first four books of the Pentateuch, the Book of Deuteronomy is, for the most part, the Word of G‑d given in the language and style of Moses. Five weeks before his death, Moses assembled the people of Israel in Moab and gave them a parting speech, which formed the core of this book. One of the first things Moses did was reiterate the Ten Commandments, along with other tenets of Judaism.

In a strange twist, there are some significant differences between the original text in Exodus1 and the repeat recorded in Deuteronomy.2

Some of the More Significant Differences

Fourth Commandment:

Remember the Sabbath day . . . you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities. For [in] six days the L-rd made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the L-rd blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.3Keep the Sabbath day . . . you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your ox, your donkey, any of your livestock, nor the stranger who is within your cities, in order that your manservant and your maidservant may rest like you. And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the L-rd your G-d took you out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm; therefore, the L-rd, your G-d, commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.4

Sixth Commandment:

Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the L-rd, your G-d, is giving you.5Honor your father and your mother as the L-rd your G-d commanded you, in order that your days be lengthened, and that it may go well with you on the land that the L-rd, your G-d, is giving you.6

Tenth Commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.7And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor shall you desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.8

Why the Differences Matter

It should be stressed that this isn’t just an issue of semantics. Some of these differences have practical ramifications. For example, the commandment to “remember” the Shabbat (Exodus) tells us to verbally sanctify the Shabbat through reciting kiddush, etc., while the commandment to “keep” the Shabbat (Deuteronomy) is about refraining from doing forbidden work.

Another example is that in the last commandment, the Exodus version only warns not to “covet” something that belongs to someone else. Conversely, the Deuteronomy version seems to have a new commandment: “You shall not desire.” The difference is substantial. “You shall not covet” tells us not to act toward obtaining the object of our desire. “You shall not desire,” on the other hand, means that we may not even actively think about it. (More on that in this essay: Do Not Covet.)

This raises the question, if Moses was faithfully repeating what G‑d had said 40 years earlier, then why the difference between the version in Exodus and Deuteronomy?

To be sure, we find specific explanations for some of the differences. For example, the Talmud and Midrash relate that the parallel commands to “remember” and “keep” Shabbat were actually both said by G‑d and miraculously heard simultaneously.9 For whatever reason, “remember” was recorded in Exodus and “keep” was recorded in Deuteronomy.

But what are we to make of all the other differences? Is there an overarching explanation for all them?

Two Tablets

According to one tradition in the Midrash, the two versions correspond to the two sets of Tablets. The version in Exodus was what was written on the first set of Tablets, which were ultimately broken after the Jews sinned with the Golden Calf. The Deuteronomy repeat records what was written on the second Tablets that G‑d gave Moses.10

However, on a literal level, it seems that the verses in both Exodus and Deuteronomy recount what G‑d said at Sinai. So how could both versions be true?

Nations of the World

Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz offers a novel explanation based on the Midrashic tradition that before the giving of the Torah, G‑d first offered the Torah to all the nations of the world, but they rejected it. Thus, the version in Exodus is what the Torah would have looked like had all the nations wished to accept it, and the version in Deuteronomy is for the Jews alone. Thus, the first version only speaks about sanctifying the Shabbat, but not about the prohibitions. This also explains why the creation of the world is given as the reason for Shabbat in the first version, but the Exodus (a uniquely Jewish experience) is recorded in the second version, in Deuteronomy. Also, since the first version is more universal, it only prohibits acting toward obtaining another’s belongings, but doesn’t require the higher standard of not even desiring it, as does the Deuteronomy version.11

Ultimately, among other difficulties, this explanation has the same issue as the Midrash’s explanation: both versions seem to be referring to the same event at Sinai.

G‑d’s Words and Moses’ Words

Commentaries explain that the difference can be understood by taking into account the most obvious difference between the first four books of the Torah and Deuteronomy. As we explained above, Deuteronomy is Moses’ own narrative of what had occurred. Thus, the Exodus version is how G‑d himself said it, while Deuteronomy tells how Moses recounted it.12

(This explains why the second version has additions like this one in the Sixth Commandment: “as the L‑rd your G‑d commanded you.” Obviously, G‑d didn’t say those words when he spoke at Sinai, but when Moses retold the story, such insertions were natural.)

Of course, like the rest of the Torah, Moses communicated Deuteronomy as a prophet of G‑d. It contains not his own ideas, but the faithful, prophetic transmission of G‑d’s message. But in this case, the message is expressed through the mind and words of Moses, making it more readily understood to our minds as well.

Why The Need for Two Versions

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the reason for this difference goes to the very heart of what happened when G‑d gave the Torah at Mount Sinai.13

There are two aspects of the Torah. On the one hand, it is G‑d’s beloved treasure, His intimate wisdom, and ultimately it is “one with Him.” But then G‑d takes that wisdom and applies it to matters of our world, thereby investing something of His very self into a way of thinking that is accessible to human beings. This is the Torah as G‑d gave it to us here in this physical world, where we must study and delve into the Torah with our own understanding, assimilating its approach and using its wisdom and laws to transform the world into a sacred space.

So G‑d didn’t simply present us with a set of instructions. G‑d chose to invest His wisdom and will in the Torah and to entrust the human mind with the task of deducing and comprehending the divine teachings and commandments it contains. This way, we aren’t just receiving His wisdom in the abstract. Rather, the Torah itself becomes part of our own intellect, our very selves. In studying this divine wisdom, then, we are paradoxically connecting and integrating the infinite with the finite.

So, on the one hand, the student of Torah must ask all the questions that come to mind and not fear any of them—no matter how uncomfortable they make him or others feel. He can never allow himself to be satisfied with easy answers, and must even seek out apparent contradictions in an attempt to resolve them. This is how Torah is studied and acquired.

Yet when it comes to fulfilling the Torah in practical terms, the same student must follow the Torah’s instructions with utter confidence that this is G‑d’s absolute will. Indeed, even in his learning of Torah, he must understand that this is a divine wisdom that he can never entirely comprehend, and that the main thing is to bring it into this world of action.

This very crucial and seemingly paradoxical idea—that on the one hand it is divine wisdom and on the other we are tasked to comprehend and understand it with our own limited intellects—is something that we all need to keep in mind when studying the Torah. If we forget that it is divine wisdom, we may decide not to keep those parts we do not understand. If we forget that we are tasked to understand it with our own minds, we will never come to acquire Torah as our own. Therefore it was important that this idea be expressed at the very giving of the Torah with the different versions of the Ten Commandments—one version expressing how G‑d said it, and one how the divine will and wisdom was expressed through the intellect of His faithful prophet Moses, all the while remaining G‑dly and transcendent.

1. Exodus 20:2-14.
2. Deuteronomy 5:6-18.
3. Exodus 20:8-11.
4. Deuteronomy 5:12-15.
5. Exodus 20:12.
6. Deuteronomy 5:16.
7. Exodus 20:14.
8. Deuteronomy 5:18.
9. Talmud, Shavuot 20b; Mechilta to Exodus 20:8.
10. See Midrash Lekach Tov, Exodus 34:1.
11. Kli Yakar on Exodus 20:9.
12. See Ibn Ezra on Exodus 20:1 and Deuteronomy 5:16; Ramban, Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12.
13. See Sefer Hasichot 5752, vol. 2, p. 331.

As taken from,

Abbas Accidentally Admits: According to Bible, Palestinians Must Leave Israel

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz

“Hashem your God delivers them to you and you defeat them, you must doom them to destruction: grant them no terms and give them no quarter.” Deuteronomy 7:2 (The Israel Bible™)

“The Extermination of the Canaanites”, F. Phil

At a speech in Ramallah on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas perpetuated a myth that is one of the main Palestinian talking points. 

“We are the Canaanites,” Abbas was quoted in Asharq Al-Awsat as saying. “We will remain in our homeland, and the outsiders on this land has no right in this country. The land is for its inhabitants, this land is for the Canaanites who were here 5,000 years ago, and we are the Canaanites.”

This claim has been made frequently by Palestinian leaders despite its blatant lack of historical veracity. Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, stated that all Arab peoples first arrived in the land of Judea with the Muslim invasion from the Arab Peninsula in 637 CE.

“This includes the Palestinians who are proudly Arab,” Dr. Kedar told Breaking Israel News. “Since we Jews claim we came back to our forefathers’ land, the Palestinians needed  to create an entirely new version of history.”

Dr. Kedar explained that this rewriting of history, or what he called “the earliest form of fake news”, was inherent to Bedouin and nomadic culture and has been a part of the Middle East for thousands of years.

“The culture of the Middle East is based on the Thousand and One Nights,” Dr. Kedar said, referring to a Persian classic collection of fables in which a newly-married queen named Scheherazade put off execution by telling her husband, King Shahryar, a new story every night.

Dr. Kedar explained that tall-tales, or constructive fibbing, was an inherent part of the culture.

“Imagine a Bedouin tribe whose water has dried up,” Dr. Kedar explained. “They move at night to a place where there are trees and water. They settle in and pitch their tents. In the morning, when the residents show up and ask what they are doing there, the Bedouins answer that they have lived there for thousands of years and they are indigenous.”

“They do it because they have to live because if they admit that they are not from this place, they must go away and they will die. They create history just as any culture creates something they need to survive. And they don’t even blink when they say it. Whether they believe it themselves or not is irrelevant.” 

Rabbi Yosef Dayan, a member of the Sanhedrin and a descendant of King David, reacted to Abbas’ claim with humor. The rabbi related that the last time Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Abbas, he told him that he was willing to make concessions but first, he wanted to settle an old and outstanding debt between the Palestinians and the Jews.

“When Moses came down from Sinai, a Palestinian stole the stone tablets. We want them back. They are precious artifacts worth millions of dollars.”

“No,” Abbas retorted. “We don’t have them and we don’t keep those laws. We weren’t there.”

“Exactly,” Netanyahu countered. “Now let’s talk about whose land it really is.”

Not only is the Palestinian claim to be descended from Canaan inconsistent with the history and archaeological evidence but it is also problematic from the Jewish side. If we accept Abbas’ claims, the Torah requires the Jews to annihilate the Canaanites that live inside Israel.

When Hashem your God brings you to the land that you are about to enter and possess, and He dislodges many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations much larger than you. And Hashem your God delivers them to you and you defeat them, you must doom them to destruction: grant them no terms and give them no quarter. Deuteronomy 7:1-2

Rabbi Dayan emphasized that since the Palestines were certainly not the Canaanites, this commandment does not apply to them. 

“But even if they are not Canaanites, there is no place in the land of Israel for the Palestinians,” Rabbi Dayan said. “This is not racism against them. It is specifically because of their actions. They have made it clear that they will never change their goals or their actions even if we come to an agreement.”

Rabbi Dayan noted the Bible commanded the Israelites to first kill the Canaanites and then to destroy their idols.

“If you destroy their idols and leave the people, they will just make new idols,” Rabbi Dayan noted. The same is true of any evil they do. With the Palestinians, it is terrorism. Terrorism comes from terrorists and people who support it.  If you want to stop terrorism, you need to relate to the source, which is the people.”

The rabbi noted that allowing evil people to dwell in Israel went counter to the Bible.

“We are commanded to hate evil,” Rabbi Dayan said, citing a verse in Psalms.

O you who love Hashem, hate evil! He guards the lives of His loyal ones, saving them from the hand of the wicked. Psalms 97:10

“Trying to be smarter, or more holy, or more merciful than God always leads to trouble,” Rabbi Dayan said. “That is how the world comes to grief. If you do what God tells you to do, the whole world will benefit from it.”

Abbas claim would be no less problematic to Christians in light of the Palestinian claim that Jesus was a Palestinian. This would necessarily mean that Jesus was a Canaanite which contradicts explicit references to Jesus’ Judean origins in the New Testament.

Abbas’ claim also contradicts scientific findings. A 2017 study sequenced the Canaanite genome from the remains of five individuals buried around 3,700 years ago in the ancient port city of Sidon, Lebanon. The results were compared against the DNA of 99 modern-day Lebanese residents. The study determined that more than 90 percent of the genetic ancestry of modern Lebanese is derived from ancient Canaanites

The claim that Palestinians have direct ancestral connections to the ancient Canaanites without an intermediate Israelite link is an ideology that is contentious even among Palestinians since it concedes that the conflict with the Jews predates European Zionism. 

The claim is also inaccurate, conflating disparate historical and Biblical timelines. It appears that Abbas is claiming the Palestinian presence in Israel predated Biblical Abraham. The Bible names the pre-Abrahamic residents of Israel as the Philistines.

And Avraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days. Genesis 21:34

In historical reality, the Philistines were a Biblical people of Greek origin who settled on ancient Israel’s coastal plain around the 12th century BCE. Approximately 600 years later, both the Philistine and Israelite nations were exiled by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Philistines in 604 BCE and the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE.

The Philistine nation and identity were subsumed into the conquering Greek culture and the Philistines disappeared as a people soon after. The Israelites returned to Israel 70 years later and rebuilt the Temple. The true Philistines, now non-existent, have no ancestral or historical connection to today’s Palestinians. The Arabs arrived in the region a full thousand years after the disappearance of the Biblical Philistines.

As taken from,

The Teacher As Hero

by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Imagine the following scenario. You are 119 years and 11 months old. The end of your life is in sight. Your hopes have received devastating blows. You have been told by God that you will not enter the land to which you have been leading your people for forty years. You have been repeatedly criticised by the people you have led. Your sister and brother, with whom you shared the burdens of leadership, have predeceased you. And you know that neither of your children, Gershom and Eliezer, will succeed you. Your life seems to be coming to a tragic end, your destination unreached, your aspirations unfulfilled. What do you do?

We can imagine a range of responses. You could sink into sadness, reflecting on the might-have-beens had the past taken a different direction. You could continue to plead with God to change His mind and let you cross the Jordan. You could retreat into memories of the good times: when the people sang a song at the Red Sea, when they gave their assent to the covenant at Sinai, when they built the Tabernacle. These would be the normal human reactions. Moses did none of these things – and what he did instead helped change the course of Jewish history.

For a month Moses convened the people on the far side of the Jordan and addressed them. Those addresses form the substance of the book of Deuteronomy. They are extraordinarily wide-ranging, covering a history of the past, a set of prophecies and warnings about the future, laws, narratives, a song, and a set of blessings. Together they constitute the most comprehensive, profound vision of what it is to be a holy people, dedicated to God, constructing a society that would stand as a role model for humanity in how to combine freedom and order, justice and compassion, individual dignity and collective responsibility.

Over and above what Moses said in the last month of his life, though, is what Moses did. He changed careers. He shifted his relationship with the people. No longer Moses the liberator, the lawgiver, the worker of miracles, the intermediary between the Israelites and God, he became the figure known to Jewish memory: Moshe Rabbeinu, “Moses, our teacher.” That is how Deuteronomy begins – “Moses began to expound this Law” (Deut. 1:5) – using a verb, be’er, that we have not encountered in this sense in the Torah and which appears only one more time towards the end of the book: “And you shall write very clearly [ba’er hetev] all the words of this law on these stones” (27:8). He wanted to explain, expound, make clear. He wanted the people to understand that Judaism is not a religion of mysteries intelligible only to the few. It is – as he would say in his very last speech – an “inheritance of the [entire] congregation of Jacob” (33:4).

Moses became, in the last month of his life, the master educator. In these addresses, he does more than tell the people what the law is. He explains to them why the law is. There is nothing arbitrary about it. The law is as it is because of the people’s experience of slavery and persecution in Egypt, which was their tutorial in why we need freedom and law-governed liberty. Time and again he says: You shall do this because you were once slaves in Egypt. They must remember and never forget – two verbs that appear repeatedly in the book – where they came from and what it felt like to be exiled, persecuted, and powerless. In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton, George Washington tells the young, hot-headed Alexander Hamilton: “Dying is easy, young man; living is harder.” In Deuteronomy, Moses keeps telling the Israelites, in effect: Slavery is easy; freedom is harder.

Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses reaches a new level of authority and wisdom. For the first time we hear him speak extensively in his own voice, rather than merely as the transmitter of God’s words to him. His grasp of vision and detail is faultless. He wants the people to understand that the laws God has commanded them are for their good, not just God’s.

All ancient peoples had gods. All ancient peoples had laws. But their laws were not from a god; they were from the king, pharaoh, or ruler – as in the famous law code of Hammurabi. The gods of the ancient world were seen as a source of power, not justice. Laws were man-made rules for the maintenance of social order. The Israelites were different. Their laws were not made by their kings – monarchy in ancient Israel was unique in endowing the king with no legislative powers. Their laws came directly from God Himself, creator of the universe and liberator of His people. Hence Moses’ ringing declaration: “Observe [these laws] carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people’” (Deut. 4:6).

At this defining moment of his life, Moses understood that, though he would not be physically with the people when they entered the Promised Land, he could still be with them intellectually and emotionally if he gave them the teachings to take with them into the future. Moses became the pioneer of perhaps the single greatest contribution of Judaism to the concept of leadership: the idea of the teacher as hero.

Heroes are people who demonstrate courage in the field of battle. What Moses knew was that the most important battles are not military. They are spiritual, moral, cultural. A military victory shifts the pieces on the chessboard of history. A spiritual victory changes lives. A military victory is almost always short-lived. Either the enemy attacks again or a new and more dangerous opponent appears. But spiritual victories can – if their lesson is not forgotten – last forever. Even quite ordinary people, Yiftah, for example (Book of Judges, Chapters 11–12), or Samson (Chapters 13–16), can be military heroes. But those who teach people to see, feel, and act differently, who enlarge the moral horizons of humankind, are rare indeed. Of these, Moses was the greatest.

Not only does he become the teacher in Deuteronomy. In words engraved on Jewish hearts ever since, he tells the entire people that they must become a nation of educators:

Make known to your children and your children’s children, how you once stood before the Lord your God at Horeb. (Deut. 4:9–10)

In the future, when your child asks you, “What is the meaning of the testimonies, decrees, and laws that the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell them, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.…” (Deut. 6:20–21)

Teach [these words] to your children, speaking of them when you sit at home and when you travel on the way, when you lie down and when you rise. (Deut. 11:19)

Indeed, the last two commands Moses ever gave the Israelites were explicitly educational in nature: to gather the entire people together in the seventh year to hear the Torah being read, to remind them of their covenant with God (Deut. 31:12–13), and, “Write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the people of Israel” (31:19), understood as the command that each person must write for himself a scroll of the law.

In Deuteronomy, a new word enters the biblical vocabulary: the verb l-m-d, meaning to learn or teach. The verb does not appear even once in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, or Numbers. In Deuteronomy it appears seventeen times.

There was nothing like this concern for universal education elsewhere in the ancient world. Jews became the people whose heroes were teachers, whose citadels were schools, and whose passion was study and the life of the mind.

Moses’ end-of-life transformation is one of the most inspiring in all of religious history. In that one act, he liberated his career from tragedy. He became a leader not for his time only but for all time. His body did not accompany his people as they entered the land, but his teachings did. His sons did not succeed him, but his disciples did. He may have felt that he had not changed his people in his lifetime, but in the full perspective of history, he changed them more than any leader has ever changed any people, turning them into the people of the book and the nation who built not ziggurats or pyramids but schools and houses of study.

The poet Shelley famously said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”[1] In truth, though, it is not poets but teachers who shape society, handing on the legacy of the past to those who build the future. That insight sustained Judaism for longer than any other civilisation, and it began with Moses in the last month of his life.


[1] Percy Bysshe Shelley, “A Defence of Poetry,” in The Selected Poetry and Prose of Shelley, ed. Harold Bloom (Toronto: New American Library, 1996), 448.

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