The stirring words of the medieval poet of Zion, Yehudah HaLevi, echo through each and every generation: "My heart is in the East, and I am in the far reaches of the West." At no other time is this heartfelt cry more deeply felt than when Israel is under attack. These days are profoundly trying times for Israel and all of the Jewish people. Yet, history shapes who we are as a people. History is a witness to the resilience of the Jewish people under fire; and once again, the Jewish people will emerge stronger and more secure from this crisis. Our parashah this week, Parashat Mattot–Mas'ei — the concluding Torah reading of Bemidbar, the book of Numbers — teaches an important lesson about the significance of history.
Click link below to view full commentary by Rabbi Matthew L. Berkowitz, Senior Rabbinic Fellow, JTS