Ki Tissa: A Bold New Peace Initiative


The World is Round Part 3

From the latest tremors rippling through the Middle East you get the sense that we are living in historical times, and we are in the midst of a tectonic global shift, that will only be appreciated and recognizable in time.

Is there anything that we can do to precipitate these changes – and help ensure that they are peaceful, with the minimum of tension and uncertainty natural to all upheavals?

After addressing how the recent Middle East uprisings demonstrate the volatility of the region necessitating Israel to be especially vigilant in its negotiations (The World is Not Flat), and then how this crisis reflects the difficult but promising history of reconciling freedom and faith, defining our challenge today to allow these events to bring our world to a better place (The World is Round) – I would like to now, with your permission, address what we can do about the situation, and the leading role Israel can take in this process.

When President Anwar Sadat (Mubarak’s assassinated predecessor) traveled to Jerusalem with his gesture of peace, it was considered a bold and historic move (and indeed, it ended up costing him his life). Never before had an Arab leader, no less one who had just attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur War, reached out and actually came to the holy land with an outstretched arm.

Some considered it a brilliant move – that is for Egypt. After all, in return for a peace treaty Egypt received the entire Sinai and all its resources, plus the billions of dollars in US aid – now accumulating to over 600 billion dollars (you read that right)! Not a bad deal, would you say?

Whether it was equally brilliant for Israel is another story. Without getting into a debate about the issue (especially considering the new situation on the ground in Egypt today), I submit that Israel now has an opportunity to launch a far bolder peace initiative – which can actually transform the entire region.

*  *  *

Last week’s column discussed the fact that there is nothing fundamentally new about the current difficulties facing Egypt – and the entire Middle East – in trying to establish a free society. This has been the human race’s challenge from the beginning of time: How to establish freedom and respect human rights in a world dominated by power, control and greed.

Indeed, this battle is part of the inherent existential tension between matter and spirit, between a life driven by self-interest or by a higher calling; between survival or transcendence.

We addressed the long difficult history of discovering freedom and balancing it with order. How the solution is not the millennia old model of totalitarian leaders controlling the masses, or religious authority imposing its will one the people. Neither is the answer the other extreme option of secularism without faith (espoused by the thinkers of the Enlightenment). Because, as the founding fathers so clearly understood: Without the absolute, inalienable rights guaranteed to us by our Creator, Who created us all equally, all freedoms will be arbitrary. The challenge is to balance the two – faith and reason.

Yet, finding this balance is a long process, a slow but consistent evolution of emerging individual rights. And the journey is fraught with hardships: The friction between faith and modernity, reconciling religious passions with free inquiry; the struggles to integrate spiritual values in a secular world; and the greatest challenge of all – to bridge heaven and earth and ultimately make our peace with G-d.

Similar to the maturing of a child into an adult, history is the story of an old order (of autocratic rule and denial of human rights) growing and maturing into a new order (of freedom and social justice). Maturity is a long painstaking process, as the old gives way to the new, and a lost world grows up and tries to find its balance, between morality, self interest, corruption, faith, and all other forces unleashed by the dissonance between what we do and who we are.

Every nation, every religion, every community, even every home and family – from the beginning of time till this day – faces and will be faced with the challenge of finding a balance between individual interests and common good, between personal freedoms and G-d. We all will have our day of reckoning – to make our peace with G-d.

And that time of reckoning has now come full force to the Middle East.

Islam today is at a crossroads. Just as Christianity, earlier in history, evolved from oppressive leaders tyrannizing the masses, until it arrived at a place of restoring human dignity (in a country like the USA), Islam too is now faced with the challenge of embracing the core principles of its faith – honoring and celebrating the dignity of every human life – while balancing and integrating it with the forces of modernity and coexistence with others.

With the new emerging Middle East landscape the entire world is entering into a new stage of maturity – to discover balance between the passions of faith and the sobriety of reason, an integration of spiritual values and material success.

Israel’s Historic Role

Here is where Israel can play a crucial leadership role:

Of all the nations throughout history struggling with the balance between the Divine and the mundane, the Jewish people are the first and the oldest. More importantly, in their struggle they have endured the harshest of circumstances – “paid a heavy price” – and are here to tell about it.

As war-seasoned veterans with unparalleled credibility, the Jewish people living in the Biblical Holy Land of Israel, are perfectly positioned to now lead the way in proposing a bold new peace initiative – and the timing couldn’t be better.

Before presenting this radical peace plan, a short introduction is in order.

Many different Middle East peace plans have been attempted and have failed. All those plans were predicated on a flat world mentality: Land for peace, economic agreements, cultural exchanges, sharing technology and resources. What all these plans did not take into account was the religious factor: The Muslim world is saturated with faith and passion. Many in the Muslim worlds disdain the West (including Israel, whom they perceive as part of the West) for its blatant secularism, consumerism and decadent indulgences. This contempt – for good or for bad – has been exploited by some, and has also bred radical Islamism, which calls for jihad – holy war – against the Western infidels, the “Crusaders and the Zionists” (as the Western world is derisively referred to), to the point of literal war.

The Western world’s response has always been a defensive one – either conciliatory efforts, trying to find some common ground, attempting to isolate and weaken radical Islam’s sway, or outright hostility, waging battle against terrorism.

The world may be flat politically, economically and technologically. But spiritually and religiously – the world is round, very round. The Western intellectuals who obstinately hold on to the idea (of the Enlightenment) that faith will succumb to reason are simply living in denial. Let them visit the Muslim world and see what dominates there. Religion should not be confused with radicalism. Faith plays and will always play a major role in society. As such, the diversity – the roundness, so to speak – of world cultures will and should always remain intact, and indeed, enrich the human experience.

Assimilation and dilution of our diverse paths would be a tragedy. G-d created us a diverse people, and we should not attempt to annihilate the uniqueness of different faiths, each should shine with it own distinct light. Yet, at the same, they are all bound to one g-d, with each one recognizing that we are all complementary parts of one grand cosmic composition. Each needed and each needing the other.

We don’t need a flat and square universe. We need a round one – a circle, as it were, which has no top or bottom, no beginning or end – every one is equal, contributing his indispensable strengths, all united by the Divine circle.

In a flat word all that may be needed to create peaceful coexistence is equal rights and economic opportunity. But in a round diverse world – where at work are also powerful forces of religion and passionate voices of faith – humility and commitment to a higher calling is the vital ingredient in achieving global harmony.

This “round” factor – which is driven by faith and passionate religion – has never be addressed in any of the peace talks. Indeed, due to the fears associated with religious issues, diplomats and peacemakers deliberately ignored it, but it always remained the invisible “elephant in the room.”

Since all previous peace efforts have failed, why not try an entirely new approach?

No one has ever attempted a “religious” solution, or better put, a solution that takes into account the religious passions of the Muslim/Arab world.

The New Peace Initiative

The new peace initiative described below solves that issue: Instead of the defensive (and even apologetic) mode of the past, one that smacks of weakness, and certainly does not address the religious issues, Israel should come out with an offensive (the best defense is offense) and declare:

Dear brother and sisters. We are all children of Abraham, “father of all nations.” Our great common ancestor, Abraham, pioneered a path that would integrate material life and G-d, a life in this physical selfish world that would be aligned with G-d’s plan for us all. Just like today, Abraham and his children struggled to find the formula for this exact balance.

In Abraham’s home, and then in his son Isaac’s home, brothers battled over these issues: First Ishmael and Isaac, then Esau and Jacob.

So you see my dear brothers and sisters, we share ancestors who also battled with each other. Ishmael – the father of the Muslim/Arab world. Esau – the father of the Western/Roman/Christian world. Isaac and Jacob – the father of the Jewish world.

We, the Jewish people, received the Torah at Sinai – which formalized G-d’s mandate to the human race, teaching us how to reconcile and fuse our material and spiritual lives.

1300 years later Christianity was born, followed 700 years later by Islam – embracing the core values of Sinai, which were first initiated by Abraham.

From then till now, history is witness to the battles that you and all of us have fought through the ages. Much blood has been shed in the religious wars that have plagued the last two millennia.

But we as Jews – living in the holy land of Israel – can tell you, that though it is a difficult and arduous journey, we have endured. And despite the difficulties, we have learned through hard earned experience that there is a path of shalom – of peace and balance.

But balancing faith, freedom and integration in our material world is a long and  extensive process; one that takes time to achieve maturity.

Yes, dear friends, it’s been a long journey.

But now, we have an unprecedented opportunity. As you fight for social justice – and take to the streets of Cairo, Bahrain, Tripoli (and whatever cities will erupt in the coming days and months) – as you emerge and demand your G-d given rights and freedoms, we reach out to you offering any support we can in finding the right balance of freedom and order, faith and modernity.

Second, we extend our hands to you in peace – not artificial peace (based on fear, money or other external and superimposed forces), but a true peace, in which we live together, side by side, as children of Abraham, disciples of Sinai, learning how to find Divine harmony within our diversity.

We reach out to each of you to make true peace – out of strength, not weakness and pressure.

Your faith and values can teach the world many vital things. But we all can learn from Abraham how to temper our faith and allow it to saturate the secular world, not through aggression and destruction, but through inspiration and love.

Because, after all, marrying heaven and earth is a process, one that takes time to mature to find the right balance.

As Jews we have been here, done that. We have seen it all, and stood at the abyss many times. Like no one else, we have suffered the brunt of history’s battles – the wars between religion and paganism, faith and reason, and we have found the balance.

Why Will this Succeed?

Why does this peace initiative have a great chance of success? Because it takes the bull by the horns and addresses the core issues at stake, above all – the Muslim hostility to Jewish control over the Holy Land.

As long as Israel remains in its status quo, and makes feeble attempts at achieving peace with its Arab neighbors – and doing so like a modern Western nation (distrusted by the Muslim world) – Israel will always remain a scar, an open wound on the landscape of Muslim sensibilities and territory; a demoralizing reminder of their shame and fall of the Ottoman Empire and the great Muslim civilization that was meant to emancipate the world. Every time a new Arab/Muslim child will look at the map of the Middle East, he or she will see a vast seamless expanse of Muslim lands, with one black eye – the sliver of Israel – darkening the horizon.

Under such humiliating circumstances, the most you can expect from Israel’s Arab neighbors is a cold and artificial peace (like the 30 years of peace with Egypt). And even that – a peace bought with money or arms. Or one sustained by the deterrence of superior Israeli arms. Is that true peace? Can a peace driven by fear or other external forces be maintained?

But imagine if Israel were to rise to the occasion (not as another modern Western country on the Mediterranean) as the eldest nation in history, and declare for all to hear: We are the children of Abraham and we call on all our brethren to embrace Abraham’s vision of global harmony, all nations united under one G-d. Here is a time-tested path to that takes into account our diversity and differences, and yet allows us to be at peace with each other and with G-d. A proven method that integrates faith and freedom, religious passion and refined empathy – in ways that do not burn another, but warm each other.

Abraham walked through this region close to 4000 years ago. He began his journey in what is presently Southeastern Iraq, traveling northwest, until he arrived, guided by G-d, in the Promised Land.

The time has finally come for Israel – a country that is almost 4000 years old – to fulfill its calling, something that the entire world will respect, and is surely (at least unconsciously) waiting for: To be a light unto nations.

Just like the Bible remains the greatest best-seller of all timed, continuously outselling any other book ever published, Israel is the Biblical land that everyone looks toward, and waits for it to fulfill its duty and lead the way to world peace.

With the current upheavals rocking the Middle East, the timing couldn’t be better.

Israel exports many important commodities to the world at large. Much has been written about Israeli innovation in technology, and how Israel has the most companies on Nasdaq, second only to the USA.

But its most valuable export by far still remains hidden and unknown (or locked in insulated yeshivot).

And that export is captured best in the words of Isaiah (2:3):

From Zion shall go forth Torah; and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.

Here is the full context: It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of G-ds house shall be established on top of the mountains and all the nations shall flow unto it. And many nations shall go and say, let us go up to the mountain of G-d and we will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths, for from Zion shall go forth the Torah; and the word of G-d from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

This is Israel’s greatest export – Abraham’s global vision, which accounts for all nations living under one G-d.

Imagine what would happen if Israel charted this new course today – becoming the number one exporter of this vision? How would that affect the region? The world?

Is there a leader that is bold enough, daring enough, courageous enough, wise enough to rise and offer us this spiritual vision?

You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…


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13 years ago

yes, you are not the only dreamer and much work is to be done among us, the Jews for standing behind this beautiful gesture that seems so natural and true. Thank you Simon for sharing with us. y

13 years ago

You are not the only one –
What a brilliant article – it must be circulated to everyone involved!
Shabbat Shalom/Gut Shabbes,

Heena Reiter
13 years ago

Ken yhi ratzon. May it be the will of the One who wills all existence into Being.

marvin etzioni
13 years ago

dear Rabbi,
you take john lennons song imagine out of context. you may say im a dreamer, but im not the only one. also in the song is the lyric imagine…no religion…. your personal convictions of peace through the source of abraham and the jewish people is a noble one. what is amazing about the revoltion in the arab world, is not a call to muslim leadership, but for democratic values. it is the united states that is the light of the world in this regards. it may come a time that israel has the same uprising. if so, then through democratic means, israel could no longer remain a jewish state. so before israel declares how the world should be run, let israel define what it means to be the only country in the world that professes a religious center with democratic values. would you want china to annouce peace through means of the tao? would you want america to annouce peace through jesus?
yet, you seem to have no problem with having israel annoucning peace through abraham. we negogiate peace as if god is not in the room, yet we hope for results that brings peace in the world with god in our hearts. the balancing act continues between faith and reason.

Josh Gressel
13 years ago

Dear Rabbi Jacobson:

Thank you for being a true religious leader. You articulate a vision of peace that is based on much deeper truths, that come from the spiritual treasury of all of us.

The only thing left implicit is that this is also a call to us as Jews, and to religious Jews as well, to access these truths within ourselves. Because while there are fewer Jewish terrorists, there is a healthy dose of Jewish intolerance for the other just as there is in the Muslim world.

While I dont see your plan being implemented in the political sense, I dont think it excuses any of us from holding to the truth of it. Rav Kook articulated a similar kind of truth in his time, a call for peace between the secular and religious Jews as well as between the religious extremists of his time. His vision has stood the test of time far better than the petty squabbles which consumed the various factions in his day.

Lois Petty
13 years ago

I agree with your article except I would assert that Christians decended from Jacob–absolutely not from Esau. A common theme of the New Testament (Romans 11:24 among others) is that the Jewish people are the Root and we are the branches–and grafted on branches at that, and per vs. 18: Remember that you do not support the root but the root supports you.

I am reminded that the Amalekites descended from Esau, and throughout history have been sworn enemies of Israel. Have Christians behaved Esau-like at times in history–sadly yes, but contrary to Gods will and so were destined for defeat. We consider ourselves sons of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and heirs to the blessings that flow from blessing His people Israel.

Esau stands opposed to all this. Please reconsider your statement that Christians come from this line. Again, everyone needs a rabbi and I have adopted you as mine and have great respect for what you say.

Lois Petty

Sari Simon
13 years ago

Dear Rabbi Jacobson;
This is brilliant on several levels.Not only does it rely on the psychologically sound principle that people will value that in which they participate, it respects Islam as a related path toward enlightenment. You have turned a long treasured fantasy of the Jewish people into a workable plan to bring geula (redemption). Please take your application of Torah to politics to Israeli statesman and ambassadors. This must be the path to messianic fruition. I am enthused to see how it can be enacted via public relations. Shkoich! Shabbat Shalom.

natasha Steyn
13 years ago

Thank you Rabbi, AMEN

13 years ago


13 years ago

It is a great iniciative. I have worked with muslim estudients in HEBRON-PALESTINE and many other places- I do believe that your initiative will work- great idea. And I believe that it is time to connect the jewish leaders with the young muslims to try to find something new. Because many muslim youngs are confused. They need a new paradigm where they can have faith as well as progress in life. They are tired of the same claches-we can see this clearly of what´s happining in the arab world. Personally, I would like to join hands with you. I am a christian minister and pastoral counsellor from bethlehem-the holy land and have a lot of experience and knowledge about the area. God bless you. Hoping that all your ideas will transform to reality though I know that we need to do a lot of education for the jews, muslims and christians as well.

Rabbi Monte Sugarman
13 years ago

Shalom Rabbi,
I really enjoyed your map for shalom in the middle east and world. Thank you for being so bold and full of emmet, we can all come together through Avraham Avinu. Now is the time for Israel to take the initiative for peace, kol tuv, Monte

Mark Orman
13 years ago

Ever read the book The Farhud by Edwin Black?(he famously wrote IBM and the Holocaust). As Black points out, from the time of Mohammed, Jews have been regarded as worse than second class citizens – dhimmi- by Moslems. For 1400 years, as long as Jews accepted their dhimmi status and behaved accordingly, they could be tolerated (sometimes barely) by their Moslem rulers. The real problems began when non-dhimmi Jews started to arrive from Europe in Palestine,and saw the land and their historical role differently from what Moslems had come to expect. Then, the religious fanatics among them, e.g. the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, started to plot our elimination and extermination (hand in hand with the Nazis). This attitude has basically not changed, nor will it change among their religious fanatics. The only thing one can hope for is an increased secularization of their society and/or further religious moderation, which if it is happening at all (well see what develops in Egypt) is happening very slowly. Thus, I think your suggestions would not only fall on deaf ears, it would be considered highly provocative and insulting among their fanatical religious types. Unfortunately, these represent a large enough proportion of the Arab population that they essentially control the discourse. Sad to say, the best we can hope for is a period of tense coexistence for perhaps several generations, followed by a hopefully slowly growing movement toward religious moderation and peace. That is unfortunately our lot.

13 years ago

I love the respect, honor it gives to ALL.
I dont believe G-D wants all this division . Especially in His name. That seems to go against
what is taught in Leviticus 19:12. The ultimate profaning of His name. Killing in His Name.
That whole concept you wrote , needs to be ingrained in our thinking.
Even the wars within each faith seems insane.
Thank you so very much
May the dreams of the dreamer come true
And , you are not the only one 🙂

13 years ago

Bravo! I also believe that there is a particular portal right now, a pivotal time in which things could swing either way because swing it must.The question is who is the leader that can bring Israel back to being a light unto nations-its birthright?I encourage you to send this letter to everyone you know in the religious communities-you have so many connections-discuss it from the rooftops, whatever it takes.You could be the one who is heard. Every great leader had a dream!Yasher koach. Shabbat Shalom, Sheryl M

T May
13 years ago

Keep Netanyahu in Israel. You go to Egypt with an outstretched hand. We had Daniel Pearl. We had Nick Berg.
I wish, therefore it is does not work for people with maturity operating in reality. A governments first priority is to protect its people. Yes there can be a heaven and a utopia but not on this world now. Acting as if the messiah has come, does not make it so. Look at Jewish history.

Ruth Elise Housman
13 years ago

its a time in which we are discussing, or have been, coins, the shekel, the Moses story, the penalty. I see that Alan Dershowitz wrote an article called Coin of Fire, which I havent yet read, but, surprisingly my Blog and what I have been responding to on Chabad, has been deeply, about coins, and another coin story. So YES!

I did read the beautiful commentary about a New Peace Initiative written by Simon Jacobson.

All I can say to this is, one has to be very careful about the notion A Light To All Nations, even as written. Because it is a subject that is very inflammatory, as torch is to light, as in, speaking of ourselves, the Jews, our story, as giving us the initiative, as in promulating ourselves, ourselves as the GATE within promulgate, towards Peace and that celebration of diversity.

I so agree with the beautiful and significant words, that are about a celebration of diversity around the world, about keeping this diversity, which we all do need, and about the realization we are brothers through the Abraham/Ishmael/Hagar story.

But I am saying, we will not bring this story, this ancient story home, unless we as Jews, shed the arrogance, even if it were true, that we are the LIGHT, because other beacons also feel they have a story, equally compelling, and I say, the key, is HUMILITY, and that is, the coin, the true coin, of the realm.

in truth/ruth

ivan stux in New York City
13 years ago

Dear Simon,
I hope such a letter works.
Pointing out to our Arab brothers and sisters that
o“We, the Jewish people, received the Torah at Sinai”
oWe were before them “1300 years later Christianity was born, followed 700 years later by Islam”
o“But we as Jews – living in the holy land of Israel – can tell you….”
oThat the right path is that of Shalom (why not Salaam?)
oThat, “As you fight for social justice – and take to the streets of Cairo….and whatever cities will erupt in the coming days…. as you emerge….. we reach out to you offering any support we can in finding the right balance of freedom and order, faith and modernity.”
oThat “we extend our hands to you….”
oThat “As Jews we have been here, done that.”
o“We have seen it all..”
o“Like no one else…”
o“and we have found the balance.”
should warm their hearts and draw them closer to us and finally get them to understand why we should be friends.

13 years ago

Brilliant !!!
What a refreshing approach, enough of the same old same old. Its all been tried before and failed…except this. I can only HOPE that somehow THIS will be brought to the table

13 years ago

Unfortunately, the core principles of Islam revolve around the Perfect Muslim, Muhammed the(ir) Prophet. If you do not know the life of Muhammed, you do not know Islam. It is that simple… every Muslim will tell you that there are no core values in Islam, outside of Muhammeds perfect example. And what did he do in the later part of his life, in Medina? He slaughtered and enslaved THOUSANDS of men, women and children – Kafurs, non-Islamic types. This is all generously recorded in Islamic scripture, and viewed as unreproachable, and well within the limits of Islamic ethics. For if Muhammed did it, or said it, it is eternally Allahs word. You are mistaken to assume that moderates in Islam deny this, or seek to reform the ramifications of this living example found in Sharia Law.

13 years ago

Did you know that Muslims believe that Abraham, and his moral code, was ISLAMIC and not Jewish? Mohammed professed to have the real message of Abraham, Moses, and all other Biblical figures – he taught they were really MUSLIMS!!! The Koran teaches that Jews corrupted the earlier teachings (ie. invented Judaism) and Muhammed was sent to set the record straight. He hijacked the Jewish faith.

13 years ago

We can unite through Abraham and his teachings. One issue not discussed in here is who owns the land which is a big issue. Perhaps all of the disputed land should be owned by no one people (or all as Abrahams people) as the capital of the world.

lynn rice
13 years ago

Quite an amazing article. A light to nations. That says it all. My perception is that we are in the time of G-d’s Divine Attribute of Mercy, light being that attribute. G-d’s Divine Attribute of Judgment/Justice appears to have come first, just as darkness was first, then G-d said let there be light, and it was manifested. (Darkness representing not evil, but G-d’s Justice/Judgment i.e. on Egypt, while Israel had light in their dwellings – G-d’s Mercy). Your article certainly speaks of amazing Mercy. We are in the day that all may step into G-d’s Mercy/Light. I pray we all do.

michael schley
13 years ago
13 years ago

As a long time admirer and student of your insight, wisdom and clarity of thought, this offering leaves me dumbstruck. May it be that before any attempt is made to present such a position to the world, the air you breathed as it was written be captured and released to the intended audience. But then woe to all of us six months hence.

theresa cabouch
13 years ago

Yes oh yes. And let us also go bearing gifts..Sinai to this one, Gaza to that, Samaria to the other. They will surely respect us. Maybe they might even like us.

Chaya Gross
13 years ago

I thought it was only in Israel that everyone thinks we are all equal, but now I hear it from you too. Sorry to disagree but Jews are not equal as they have a much greater responsibility to teach the peoples of the world about G-d. WE ARE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE! It is not a cliche, but a fact. And our home is in Eretz Yisrael,
Have this ongoing dialogue with your brother. If we were all at Sinai which of course every Jew was, then why even in these times are so many Jews still refusing to recognize that it is time to return to rebuild the HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE.
What we need to do urgently now is spread the 7 UNIVERSAL NOAHIDE LAWS so that Xians and Muslims can be believers without the rest of the passion. I was thinking today how it is that the women had their tamborines ready when they left Egypt in such a hurry and it now seems clear. The women could see the exodus coming. Women now too can see what is happening in Egypt as the geulas unfolding and so we are preparing our tamborines again as we celebrate Adar I and Adar II, and prepare for the ultimate revelation of Moshiach and the redemptive process.
Too many are preparing for war because it is easier to anticipate what we are used to than the possiblity that the world has really had enough of war. The freedom that is be begged for is the wish for a better life, and more and more people are realizing that a better life, does not necessarily mean more materialism, but rather a reassessing of priorities. Women are the ones who need to raise these issues and nothing would be more appropriate than using international womens day on March 8 to bring women together to say enough war, we want to work together to bring a better world. If for only a moment we could think of how that 600, billion dollars that the US gave to Egypt in military aid could be used for humanitarian aid, already the world would look completely different. It is written that in the time of the geula, the world will be the same world, but our consciousness, our perceptions will change. I think we are there, we just have not yet recognized what is actually happening. I remain optimistic and my tamberine is ready. Just as when we left Egypt it was in the merit of the women, so too in the final redemption too it will be in the merit of the women. May it be immediately.

13 years ago

I mean that muslims divide people into two groups: belivers & nonbelivers. The socond one exists temporary with one solution: join us <=> I shoulk kill (anihilate) you. Dont be a dreamer. The Army may faild if the head quaters dont exist.

13 years ago


Norma Beatriz
13 years ago

Rabbi Jacobson, I was moved to tears by your beautiful letter. Whether the world is ready, whether Israel is willing, whether the Muslim world can hear it, regardless of all that, it is the right thing to do.

13 years ago

Do you think that the over all general peace will be achieved without the non-Jewish world working through their individual family issues, learning from the past history of the Jewish family in Genesis?

Does the non Jewish world need to be making an effort? The story of Genesis was the Jewish family story and it was written down as a model. Why did G-D write a story about a model family, a family HE is close to? Did HE write Genesis in order to create the Jewish family who could teach us about Hashem and what HIs rules are and how to have family. Are we jealous of this close family relationship with the oldest family to Hahsem? Like the oldest brother of a family? Any new or younger family can follow the Jewish familys final discovery about what G-D expects from each person in a family and become unique in character. And we can learn to respect the dignity of the older family who has been around for generations learning first hand about HASHEM. It is like going up the ladder of generations to learn from Jacob and his family about the heavens and our own new family. Genesis, the tragedies and the anxieties do not have to be repeated if the families are taught well and diligently by the Jews.The physical movements (exile, scattering), done to the Jewish people and the emotional issues of the Jewish people that took place between members of this family( like Korach, Ishamel, Esau or Hem,) are lessons to learn from in order to avoid experiencing the same fates. Why repeat the same lessons(death of first born) over and over again when the lessons are there? The Jewish people learned and experienced all of this with Hashem. We should be honoring them as we do our own oldest sibling.

How easy it to judge the Jewish family by their mistakes which are written down in the story for all to see. How easy it is to take advantage of how they related to G-D and try it on their own, and with ones own arrogance and believe that they must be better people, descendents of Ishmael, or descendants of Esau then the Jews.. Instead of thinking that one can do a better job then the Jews at their own life, people could try to follow the rules under the rule of Hashem and ask the Jews for help about how to live under this one G-D. This Lord, G-D is a Being to get to know and the Jews know how to deal with the G-D of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. And the Jews also learned what to expect from a cruel humanity.

There must be rules governing the way humanity treats one another until we have transformed human nature. This current basic human nature is to be thinking one can do a better job at another persons life of past mistakes and vulnerability? How does one not respect and take the person with their mistakes and for their lessons learned? How does one respect an individual? One way to respect is to not take advantage of their mistakes and break their vessel of divine sparks and scatter them but to look at ones own life mistakes and create out of an individual struggle to accept oneself!

Abrahams divine sparks were scattered?

The ability to be a non thinking follower of a cruel person without thinking of ones own behavior is another part of our current human nature. If the older family is not respected what makes any family think that they will be respected in the future. It takes respecting in order to get respected. The Jews are held tightly to their creator and their behavior has many restrictions. When the world subjugates itself to this, Hashem will be ruling.

I have studied the core issues of family members not getting along together as it is written in Genesis. Genesis was done already by the Jewish people. Rules were given by HASHEM to address the mistakes that were made. For ex the ten commandments were given. But I do not think that humanity has ever really followed the ten commandments and cried out for G-D to help them when another lies to them for ex.. Can there really be no war?

How do we learn from the Jews who went before us, learning from their wisdom and their mistakes? How can the Jews use words to communicate with the help of Hashem so that they are not mistaken for taking Hashems role over? Genesis was created one time to lead to the Jewish nation. It was the story that created the birth of the Jewish Nation. It was the oldest Religion based on a family tree. Hashem wants us to and commands us to have family. Should we imitate Genesis like a 9 month old baby or learn from the Jews and generate our own peaceful and loving individuality and individual families? How do we respect what came before us in history, the Jewish Family who shows its vulnerability to humanity in their family story? Is the vulnerability to be taken advantage of? or is it out of our own vulnerablity that we are strong? or is it a general vulnerability to be under Hashems rule that we all share?

I think the USA is stuck in the age of Noah, the righteous person without caring that your neighbor will drown and without the expertise to educate your neighbor as to how to get along in an organized way by G-Ds rules. Most of my family decided to get drunk or run away and not pay attention. Not many Religious people reach out to those with no Religion or the sick to be gentle teachers. Instead rejection is the way to hold onto power. Do we need to struggle to call out for help to Hashem? Can we be taught? Or can the compassion be aroused for your fellowman who is without faith or without human rights. Usually those with out faith are hitting or running and not easy to teach. When the teacher has to be having joy, not reacting to mans inhumanity and learning to live in a land without human rights, it is too much to ask of the teacher..

Without the presence of our Father Abraham, brother or sister fight brother or sister They do not use language skills to communicate, misunderstandings reign, aggression suceeeds and dominates. Right within our own families, these wars persist. People do not speak to each other and misunderstandings reign. Reason has fallen and no faith exists. There is no budging on human rights issues and no compassion developing from the monarchy.

What about the homeland, the Jewish Nation? One needs to think would you want to have your land where your ancestors are buried and where Hashem told you to live? Whether 3000 years has gone by or not, should the aggression of the Romans, Babylonians and English be addressed in hindsight, for the sake of correcting past bad behavior? Are the Jewish people ready for G-Ds presence and to be a good teacher to half brother(Ishmael descendents) or twin brother(Esau descendents) and understand their part in the creation of the world as it is today? Are the Jews ready to teach a new family, perhaps like an Abel who was killed by the older brother? What lessons did being in the diaspora teach? The importance of family.

It is time to learn how to be teachers and how to be students. At this time it requires how to be selfless to another when it does not compromise your human rights but does not go against the ten commandments. Do we want G-D closer? We will have to follow His rules. Will He favor the oldest family, the Jewish family? They will have the Holy land and have their status. What will the rest of the individual familys have? I think many chose the status quo as it works for them. I know I do want HIm closer, as He is the Ruler, or King and He/She is beautiful! I am sure it will be right. Why? because He is always right.

S. Minanel
13 years ago

Enjoyed the article about a new peace process. Would you lend your support to this concept, which magnifies the raison detre of Israel: Have banners and signs hung over all highways and thoroughfares proclaiming: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF in all pertinent languages. Aside from the impression it would create on the youngsters growing up, it would be invaluable educational PR for the tourists and the entire world, many of whom assume that dictum originated in the New Testament.

Yosef Leibowitz
13 years ago

With all due respect to the rabbi where has he been all these years. This idea of the spiritual aspect of Israels role in the world has been around for a long time. It was in the thinking of Achad Haam, Rav Kuk, A.D. Gordon and many other early Zionist thinkers. It lies, for many of us, living in Israel, as the core of Jewish existence.
Moreover why do you speak of the feeble efforts of Israel for peace. Was giving the P.L.O government over the territories feeble? Was the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza feeble? Was the unilateral freeze on building in the territories feeble? The fact is that what ever Israel does is not enough. It always receives the blame. Why did you not recognize in your article that the only place in the Middle East where Jews Christians and Muslims live in peace with one another is in Israel. It should also have been pointed out how Israel goes out of its way to protect all Holy Places.
You should also be more exacting in your biblical scholar ship and history. There is no basis in either to claim that Essau is the father of Christianity. Nor is there any historic evidence of Ishmael being the father of Islam despite the claims.

Joseph Lerman
13 years ago

Dear Rabbi, Your approach is a great idea. Like you said, we/history is unfolding in front of us.
In the book of Daniel we are told about the 10 kings who will fall one after the other in the Islamic world.
The future is planed for us by HASHEM.

Robert Rubin
13 years ago

Excellent, this is an inspired plan. It beholds the coming of Messiach and whoever takes that leadership role can succeed. Lets continue this commentary on how we can deliver this message to the world. Rabbi Jacobson has made the start, where do we go from here? I cant wait to hear everyones ideas.

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