Ma’asei Avot Siman Lebanim by Dov Rossman

(2004/5765) “Vayomer Im Yavo Esav El Hamachne Ha’achat Vihikahu
Vihaya Hamachane Hanishar Lifleita”
Rashi comments (based on a Midrash) that Yaakov
Avinu prepared for the meeting with Esav in three ways:
militarily, with bribery, with prayer to Hashem.
The Brisker Rav, quoting the Vilna Gaon, explains
the Pasuk using Chazal’s concept of “Ma’asei Avot Siman
Lebanim,” the events of our forefathers are a sign to us. We
have to take the events that our forefathers have
experienced, study them, and then apply them to our lives.
We can learn from Yaakov’s actions that if a certain Jewish
community is being threatened and has enough military
strength to overcome its enemy, it must try to avoid military
conflict and use diplomatic means such as monetary offers
and bribes to try and avoid bloodshed. We must also always
turn to Hashem in prayer to try and avoid the conflict. On the
other hand, we must always be militarily prepared for such a
war, as Yaakov was, in case the enemy refuses our offers.
We can apply this to the current situation that
Medinat Yisrael is faced with. Some nations of the world
have tried to destroy us as much as possible. However, our
response has been to offer land in order to retain peace in
Eretz Yisrael. In addition, Jews around the world have also
been praying for peace in Eretz Yisrael. However, when our
‘bribes’ for peace have been refused, Tzahal has been
prepared to retain peace in Eretz Yisrael. Whether we agree
with Medinat Yisrael’s peace offers or not, we might be able
to learn a valuable lesson from them, namely, even today we
might be viewed as following the footsteps of our Avot, and
are trying to bring peace to Am Yisrael with monetary offers
and prayer instead of turning to violence and bloodshed.

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