Being attacked by a foreign pathogen – an illness from without – is bad enough. But, when a body turns on itself, becoming a victim of an autoimmune disease, that is tragic indeed.
The same is sadly true with Jews: It’s one thing to be attacked from without; but when we attack ourselves form within, that is indeed devastating.
Sometimes events force us to turn over rocks we would rather leave unperturbed and ask questions we would rather leave unasked.
Two headline-producing events occurred last week in Israel, events that force us to ask some very serious questions. The first event involved Jew versus Jew; the second Jew versus Arab.
The first was a Jew stabbing and killing a fellow Jew in the holy city of Jerusalem, which leads us to ask: What drives someone to such an act? How does such animosity between family members, between brothers and sisters, Jew and Jew, happen?
The second event was a Jew firebombing an Arab home, leaving a young Arab child dead. Despite the fact that we have been the victims of such repeated attacks by Arabs, with an existential threat hanging over us for decades if not centuries, to the point of no comparison, yet as Jews we hold ourselves up to a far higher standard and therefore ask ourselves: What drives a Jew to attack his neighbor? Is the Arab not created in the Divine Image? Is the Jew celebrating or desecrating his own Divine Image when he perpetrates such an act?
These are hard questions. And there is only one authority authorized to answer such questions – the Torah. This week’s Torah reading offers a verse which promises a cure for all such ailments: And the Lord will remove from you all illness, and all of the evil diseases of Egypt which you knew. What that means exactly we shall soon discover.