Weekly Sidra: Va’etchanan (and I pleaded)
Torah Portion: Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Haftorah: Yeshayahu / Isaiah 40:1-40:26
1 Comfort, oh comfort My people, Says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, And declare to her that her term of service is over, that her iniquity is expiated; For she has received at the hand of HaShem, double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1-2)
This week we read a special haphtarah for the Sabbath immediately following Tisha B’Av. The Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu or Sabbath of Comfort. After three weeks of mourning for the Holy Temple we start seven Shabbats of comfort.
The Summer Olympics are upon us. I am not a big fan of the games, but I was reminded that it is the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Massacre. The Munich massacre is an informal name for an attack that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria, in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. The attackers, who were given logistical assistance by German neo-Nazis, killed eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer. Five of the eight members of Black September were killed by police officers during a failed rescue attempt. The three surviving assassins were captured, but later released by West Germany following the hijacking by Black September of a Lufthansa airliner.
The Olympic events were suspended several hours after the initial attack, but once the incident was concluded Avery Brundage, the International Olympic Committee president, declared that "the Games must go on". A memorial ceremony was then held in the Olympic stadium, and the competitions resumed after a stoppage of 24 hours.
The point here is that Israel and the Jewish people have always struggle to gain acceptance in the world. Israel is being asked to forfeit more land to the Arabs. Whether it is the expulsion from Gaza or the handing over of the Temple Mount Israel is demonized and delegitimized by several nations. There are two schools of thought here. One says Israel can stand on her own two feet and doesn’t require the world’s acceptance. The other posits that Israel should be given approval and legitimacy just as any other nation.
I tend to subscribe to the latter view. The words of Isaiah echo a similar sentiment. HaShem says comfort My people and speak tenderly to Jerusalem. If the world will not recognize Israel then Hashem will. We too should be reminded to comfort the people of God and their land.
Tags: 1972 munich massacre, 40th anniversary, avery brundage, black september, committee president, devarim, german neo nazis, initial attack, international olympic committee, isaiah 40, israeli athletes, logistical assistance, memorial ceremony, olympic events, palestinian group, rescue attempt, rsquo, shabbat nachamu, summer olympics, torah portion
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