The Living Torah is a weekly publication distributed in and around North West London. Written by members of Hasmonean High School's Sixth Form programme - we aim to bring you divrei torah for your Shabbat table each and everyweek.

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Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Jewish Warrior and Paths of Peace

An extra Dvar Torah that hasn't been included in the Living Torah this week - only at our blog do you get extras :)

“And Aharon's staff swallowed their staffs.” (Shemot 7:12)

God said: "If Aharon's serpent will swallow the serpents of the Egyptians, there will be nothing remarkable in that, for serpents normally swallow each other. Therefore let it resume its original form and then swallow their serpents" (Midrash Rabbah).

The Torah's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace -

"דרכיה דרכי נעם וכל נתיבתיה שלום"
(Mishlei 3:17)

Our purpose in this world is to create light, not to battle darkness. Nevertheless, there are times when we are forced to resort to battle, when we must vanquish those who seek to vanquish us. Thus Moshe, the gentle shepherd of Israel, and Aharon, the ultimate man of peace, find themselves in the role of "judge and chastiser of Pharaoh," crushing the might of Egypt and obliterating its icons and myths.

Here we find the lesson to be derived from the fact that Aharon's rod swallowed the "serpents of the Egyptians" after it had reverted back to its original form, rather than as a serpent itself. For even when waging a war, the Jew is not a warrior. Even when he consumes the serpents of the enemy, he is not a serpent himself, spewing poison and hate. His instrument of vengeance is as devoid of vengeful feeling as a petrified, inanimate rod, as cold to the rage of war as a lifeless stick.

By the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

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