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November 9, 2016 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Lech Lecha

I’m reading Baal Haturim again, and oddly he again has something to say.  This week’s parsha is about the adventures of Abraham.  Abraham parts from Lot due to a dispute between their herdsmen, and the portion says “thus they parted, one from his brother.” Baal Haturim points out that the final letters of the last few letters of this sentence (ish maal achiv ) and the first word of the next sentence (Avram), when turned into a sentence, say Shalom, or peace.

So what? He suggests that their parting was necessary to maintain peace.  And he also writes that the descendants of Avram (Hebrews) and the descendants of Lot (Moabites) kept peace many years later by keeping apart from each other, based on the Torah’s later statement that “You shall not distress Moab” (Deut. 12:9).

This statement is actually relevant to one of the issues in this year’s election: immigration. One point of view (in its most extreme form) is that open borders are great, and that if we just let the peoples of the world in our country they will all get along fine.  Another point of view is that some nationalities should just be kept apart from each other; for example, one might argue*Muslims’ proclivity for beating up Jews all over the world suggests that maybe we should be a little more skittish about inviting them here.  I think Baal Haturim’s interpretation tends a little towards the latter view – that some nationalities should be kept apart for the sake of peace.

*And I have to admit, I would argue it, even though I’m not sure if the Trump Administration can create a practical plan to limit Muslim immigration without running afoul of other foreign policy considerations.  I suspect not, given that Trump doesn’t know anything about government, and I suspect most of the people he hires will, like his Vice President, be more pro-immigration than he is.




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