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September 04, 1992 - Image 52

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-09-04

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52

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1992

In Life's Battles
We Must Keep Faith

RABBI A. IRVING SCHNIPPER

Special to The Jewish News

T

few, always a minority, and
they have to do battle with
the many and the strong. But
their souls are strengthened
and encouraged by their con-
sciousness that the Lord their
God is with them. Conscious
of having truth on their side,
their hearts are not faint;
they fear not nor do they
tremble.
In the exhortation which
the priest was to address to
Israel's warriors there are
four different admonitions: al
yayrach l'vavchem — "let not
your heart faint;" al tiru "fear
not;" v'al pachpehzu "nor
tremble;" v'al taartzu mip-
nayhem "neither be ye af-
frighted at them." These four
admonitions are - directed to
four sections of the timid and
diffident in the camp of Israel.
First comes "the man who
has built a new house," and is

he lesson we read from
this portion is one of
those ethical gems
which ornament and
characterize the Book of
Deuteronomy. Israel need not
have fear even in face of the
most numerous and powerful
foe. "For the Lord your God,
He goeth with you, to fight for
you against your enemies,
and to save you."
We are always in a state of
war. Life in the main is a bat-
tle. Each of us is fighting in
the milchemet ha'chaim, in
the battle for existence. Each
of us is overwhelmed by the
formidable forces constantly
arrayed against us. Everyone
has his or her own little bat-
tle to fight. There is always a
foe to be encountered. We all
have our paths strewn with
difficulties; there are all sorts
Shabbat Shoftim:
of obstacles and impediments
on life's highway, which are
Deuteronomy
not too easy to overcome. Life
16:18-21:9
is a battle. To live is to fight,
Isaiah 51:12-52:12.
to struggle, to conquer or to
fall. The exhortation goes out
to every one of us, "lo tirah ki
anxious to inhabit it, the man
Hashetn Elkocheh mimachem
who places position before the
— Be not afraid, for the Lord
interests of his people. He
thy God is with thee." For the
would desert the flag of
brave there is only one course:
Judaism because it interferes
to fight and to trust in God.
with his efforts to build for
The fearful and timid are left
himself a social position. He
behind. The brave and the
is afraid that through his be-
stout-hearted fight their way
ing a loyal Jew his neighbors
through, but they know and
will not accord him the
act upon the knowledge that
friendship he so eagerly
God is with them. They suc-
seeks. To him the Torah says:
ceed, but are not arrogant or
your neighbors will think less
presumptuous.
of you because of your
There is another enemy
disloyalty to your religion.
against whom we must con-
Every man respects the one
stantly wage war; it is the
who is true to his principles.
milchemet hayetzer, war
People have more confidence
against ourselves, against our
in the brave than in the
evil inclination. To live
fainthearted.
religiously, to act in conformi-
Then there is "the man who
ty with the dictates of our
hath planted vineyard," who
faith requires zeal and
is afraid of his business,
bravery, for it is a battle.
afraid that by observing his
Religion is war, war between
religion he will sustain
the spirit and the flesh, bet-
material loss. Prosperity is
ween the godly and the ear-
the gift of God, and He •
thly, between that which is
bestows it upon whomsoever
lofty and sublime and that
He chooses. There are many
which is low and sordid.
who have already given up all
religious duties and have not
We are told that Judaism is
as yet made their fortune.
passing through a crisis, but
religion braves danger in
There is a third man who
every generation. The symp-
deserts the camp, because "he
toms are more pronounced.
hath betrothed a woman and
This is because the conditions
hath not taken her." Alas,
under which we live are so
this is the trouble of our age.
different, and they make the
Many a young man who
battle so much fiercer. The
might have been an orna-
truly religious are always a
ment to his people has been
decoyed by the sort of woman
A. Irving Schnipper is rabbi
whom
he is not to take. He
at Congregation Beth
has
deserted
his people and
Abraham Hillel Moses.
his faith, his religion and Klal

arip,



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