Parashat Vaeira opens with God reassuring Moses that he will indeed redeem the Jewish people from servitude and bring them into the Land of Israel. Some may think it a "stretch," but I could not help but juxtapose that with the Tweet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made as he was leaving France last Sunday after the march against the terrorist attacks.
Whether you revere or abhor him, his words strike at every Jew's heart strings. Realize that in France virtually every synagogue was closed this past Shabbat, for the first time since the Holocaust. It is unproblematic for us in Texas to realize the virulent anti-Semitic nature of life in Europe, and France in particular, (think of the Ozar HaTorah school murders in Toulouse in 2012 and now a kosher supermarket right before last Shabbat).
All did not agree, and many French were truly offended. I am still pondering it, but it is real "food for thought." The Prime Minister's quote on Twitter was:
To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the State of Israel is your home.
By no means do I even remotely equate Mr. Netanyahu with Moses and certainly not God, but I cannot help but think he is echoing God's sentiments in last week's parsha Exodus 3:8: "I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of the land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey..."
Many French and Israelis consider the statements needless and even arrogant. That is for each of you to decide in your own heart, and I, too, am ambivalent about it. Acceding to the requests of their families, the bodies of the deceased were quickly taken to Israel for immediate burial in Jerusalem's Har Menuhot cemetery. Let each of us be fully cognizant of the closure of the synagogues in France last Shabbat and the relative freedom we enjoy in this great land, albeit with armed guards. We must demonstrate to God, and to the world, our unshakable faith.
Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham