The security forces are baffled… he doesn’t fit the perfect description! How can this happen? A beautiful 19-year-old yeshiva student was murdered – and another is in serious condition – yet the murderer wasn’t the “usual” terrorist they were expecting. Let me introduce you to Muntasser Shalbi, may he rot in hell.
Muntasser is 44 years old, married with 7 children. He is a successful businessman and is also a citizen of the USA. Arabs like that, or “Palestinians” as they are erroneously called, are not supposed to shoot Jews… but this one did… and the experts are baffled. How can he do such a thing? Before I answer that question, let me tell you that you don’t need to worry about this beast. After an intensive four-day search, he was found in the village of Silwaad (near Ramallah) and immediately brought to Shaarei Zedek hospital for treatment. Yes, Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek hospital… you read that correctly.
The brave IDF soldiers of the Givati Brigade, together with vast numbers of other security forces, searched day and night until they found him, and these units did not rest until he was caught. When the Arab American Businessman returns to good health (at our expense), he will be interrogated over and over again until they find out what motivated him to shoot at innocent Jews standing at the Tapuach junction.
I can save everyone a lot of time… just read tomorrow’s parsha (Torah portion). “If you follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them… you will dwell securely in your land. I will provide peace in the land… with none to frighten you… and a sword will not cross your land…5 of you will pursue 100… and 100 with pursue 10,000 and your enemies will fall before you…” (Stone Edition; Va’Yikra 26:3-8)
As you can see, the Torah is very clear in defining the Heavenly Peace Plan. HaShem told us exactly what we must do and promised us total and complete protection from our enemies. Doing some quick math; if we do our part, then 1 IDF soldier will chase and kill 100 terrorists but…
“If you do not listen to Me and will not perform all of these commandments… I will assign upon you panic… you will be struck down before enemies… you will flee as one flees the sword… you will not have the power to withstand your foes… (Stone Edition; Va’Yikra 26:14-37)
In other words, HaShem’s guarantee of safety and security is contingent upon keeping the entire Torah and performing all of the Mitzvot. This is not simply recommended… it is mandatory. Unfortunately, this is not what we do. We feel we can think – and act - differently… that we can do what we want. Let’s keep some of the Mitzvot (you know… the ones we agree with like respecting parents, not embarrassing someone in public or eating matzah at the seder) while other Mitzvot will be optional (you know… the ones that only the ultra-Orthodox keep such as dressing modestly, not going mixed swimming or connecting deeply to HaShem). Sorry, brothers and sisters, I have bad news for you; being one of HaShem’s Chosen People doesn’t work that way; Keeping the Torah is a package deal.
But wait, there’s more! In addition to the commandments which we are familiar with, there’s a whole other side as well, which – unfortunately - is rarely spoken about; The Mitzvot between HaShem and the Nation! Mitzvot such as conquering and settling Eretz Yisrael, establishing a Sanhedrin, sacrificing the Korban Pesach and building the Bet Ha’Mikdash… what happened to those??? Why have so many of us ignored them? These Mitzvot are as important as putting on Tefillin and keeping Shabbat, yet we have invented a non-Jewish response: “We’ll wait for Moshiach…”
Let me be perfectly clear. If we want to live safely in the Land, we must keep 100% of the Mitzvot, 100% of the time. If we do that, we have the best guarantee one can dream of. HaShem Himself has promised us peace! However, if we “pick and choose”, we will suffer the consequences. Instead of 1 soldier chasing and killing 100 terrorists, 500 soldiers will chase 1 American businessman named Muntasser for 4 days and bring him to Shaarei Zedek…
The choice is ours and because it’s not a simple one, we need to end tomorrow’s Torah reading with the words, “Chazak! Chazak! Ve’nitchazek” – “Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!” Let’s make the difficult, but correct choice and bring true peace to the Land of Israel.