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Our Most Powerful Weapon

The Medrash informs us of the two people who were the two wisest gentiles of all time.
The first one we are very acquainted with. None other than the infamous Bilaam. The second,
however, is not a household name and I’m pretty sure that most of my dear readers have never
heard of him. He was a world renowned wise man by the name of Avnimus HaGardi, Avnimus
the weaver. The Medrash then relates that all of the nations of the world asked for a meeting
with Avnimus. Each nation sent a representative to this summit and they posed the following
urgent question to him. “Is there a way for us to get rid of the Jews?” (This question sounds
very familiar doesn’t it? Paroh had the same question. So did Haman. So did Sancherev and so
did Hitler.) Avnimus gave them the following answer. You must go to their synagogues and
study halls and observe whether you hear the sound of their children learning and studying
Torah. If you do, then you will certainly not prevail over them. For the verse says, “Hakol kol
Yaakov,” if the voice is the voice of Yaakov, then the Yadayim of Eisav, the hands of Eisav and
all enemies of the Jews will hold no sway over them.

In a similar vein, the Gemora teaches us in Makkos [10a] that the verse states, “Omdos
hayu ragleinu b’shorayich Yerushalayim,” which the Gemora expounds to mean, “When are the
feet of our soldiers firm and successful at the battlefield? When Torah is studied at the Gates of
Yerushalyim.” The Israeli air force, its elite troops and its secret intelligence systems are only
successful when there is plenty of Torah in the Gates of Yerushalayim. When the wicked
Roman General Titus descended upon his murderous assault of Yerushalayim, there was
something that he was obsessively curious about. He couldn’t wait to invade the Beis
HaMikadash and feast his eyes on the contents of the Kodesh HaKadoshim, the Holy of Holies.
He had heard that this was a room that no one was allowed to enter except for one day of the
year, Yom Kippur, and even then only one person was allowed to enter and that was the Kohen
Gadol. He wanted to see what was so special inside of that room.

When he breached it, he was shocked to find a box containing the Torah and, on top of it,
the luchos with angelic Keruvim in the shape of a young boy and young girl. He could not
comprehend what was so special about the contents of the room. But we know. We understand

that the secret of Jewish survival is pure children learning Hashem’s Torah. As we are taught,
“Ein haolom miskaiyem ela bishvil hevel tinokos shel beis raban – The world only survives
because of the learning of school children.

During the scary time of the scud missile attacks against our people, when the Israeli
government gave everybody gas masks and even a packet of injections in case there was, G-d
forbid, a chemical warhead on one of the scuds, a group of kindergarten teachers approached the
then poseik hador, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Zt”l, Zy”a, with the following query. They
wanted him to cancel class for the young grades until the danger passed. These young moros
posed the following: If there is an alarm, how are we supposed to put gas masks on 30
frightened children. On which do we put the mask first? And what if we have to give
injections? Rav Shlomo Zalman categorically refused to shut down the classes. He explained
that if we do, it is then that we will really be in danger for as we said, the world survives on the
learning of these pure children. If we stop that, G-d forbid, then we could be in real danger.

When Yaakov had his famous fight with the angel, we are taught that it was the infamous
Sama-el, none other than the Angel of Death. And the Torah informs us, Vayar ki lo yochol lo –
The angel saw that he couldn’t prevail on Yaakov.” The lesson of this story is a profound one
for Yaakov was the man of Torah, the yosheiv ohalim, the dweller in the tents of the Academy of
the Shem and Ever and as such the angel had no sway over him. So let us reevaluate if we spend
enough time daily upon our Torah, let us make sure we marry people who will study Torah daily,
let us raise our children to understand that the centrality of Yiddishkiet is Torah and in that merit
may Hashem bless us with long life, good health and everything wonderful.

Please learn and daven for the refuah sheleima of Miriam Liba bas Devorah, b’soch shaar
cholei Yisroel.

Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
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