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Home » Events in the News, Passover

Hamas College Takeovers

Submitted by on April 25, 2024 – 11:53 pmNo Comment | 129 views

Over the past week, we have seen anti-Israel college takeovers with protestors openly declaring their desire to kill Jews and to render Israel—from the river to the sea—Juden Rein. The brazen tactics and bullying have left many Jewish students and faculty members afraid to venture onto campus. As we approach the last days of Passover, we seek insight into confronting these Hamas college takeovers.

The splitting of the Red Sea was one of the greatest miracles of history. Flowing waters stood firm like a wall of stone. This miracle occurred seven days after the Exodus and is celebrated on the seventh and final day of Passover. (The eighth day of Passover observed outside of Israel is a rabbinic enactment and not part of the biblical festival.)

This miracle saved the Jews from an impossible situation. They were boxed in, against the wall, and facing certain death. The bristling Egyptian army was closing in on them and the sea blocked their only escape. Their options were to surrender, fight, or plunge into the sea to a watery death. Many Jews argued for these options. Some suggested that they do nothing. Simply pray and leave it to G-d.

There was one Jew with a radical solution. His name was Nachshon and he was the prince of the tribe of Judah. He plunged into the sea, but he was not suicidal. He fully expected G-d to come to his aid and save him. He was not alone. As soon as they saw him wade into the waters, many Jews followed. The waters teemed with bobbing heads as they ventured further into the sea.

No one can say if they expected G-d to split the sea. They likely did not take the time to offer G-d any suggestions. They simply chose the one path that gave them a few more seconds of life. The path that gave G-d time in which to intervene. G-d came through with flying colors by splitting the sea.

Why The Effort
I have a simple question for you. If G-d was planning to split the sea, why did He wait for Nachshon to plunge into the cold, deep waters? In fact, G-d waited until the waters reached Nachshon’s nostrils and were too deep for him to stand. At that point, Nachshon cried out to G-d, “Save me, G-d for I am drowning in the deep and cannot stand” (Psalms 69:2). That is when G-d split the sea. If G-d intended to split the sea, He did not need Nachshon to experience near death in his attempt to flee the Egyptians.

The same question can be asked about other miracles that saved our people. Why did the Maccabees have to fight many battles if G-d was planning a miraculous victory? Could G-d not have smitten the Syrian Greek army with a plague and shielded the Maccabees from the fight?

The same could be asked of Queen Esther in Shushan. Why did G-d put her through so much stress and force her to engage in power games and palace intrigue to save the Jews? Could He not simply intervene?

A Partnership
The answer is that G-d does not want to swoop down and save us like a knight in shining armor. He does not want us to think we are powerless damsels in distress. We are not victims destined to die sans a miracle. We are powerful. We are G-d’s children. We can help ourselves.

Some trials are, indeed, beyond our means, but that doesn’t mean we are helpless. We are not alone. We are never alone. We have G-d on our side. We do all that we can and G-d steps in to do the rest. When we stand at the helm and navigate a storm, we are in control. When a wave comes along that we cannot navigate and the boat threatens to capsize, we don’t give up. We never surrender. Why? Because we know that if we keep at it, if we keep keeping on, G-d will show up and help us navigate.

G-d does not nudge us aside while taking over. G-d lovingly places His hands upon ours as we cling to the helm for survival. With our fierce determination and His light touch, and G-dly strength, we pilot the boat together. His calm, reassuring touch pumps steel into our nerves and confidence into our arms, enabling us to steer clear of waves we are otherwise powerless to avoid.

This is true of every miracle we read about in the Torah. To merit the Exodus, we had to slaughter a lamb—the Egyptian deity—and paint its blood on our doors. To merit the Manna, we had to leave the camp every morning to collect and bring it home. To cause the walls of Jericho to tumble, we had to parade around it for seven days while sounding the Shofar.

Indeed, these efforts are miniscule and inept without Divine assistance. But with G-d’s help, we can do anything. We do as much as we can, and when we reach our limit, G-d takes over. G-d did not Create us to be powerless. He does not want us to be inept recipients. He wants us to play a role. He wants us to work with us and through us but never over us. (Rabbi Yehudah Lowe, Gur Aryeh, Numbers 8:4)

When we make an effort, we open ourselves to the miracle, and when it comes, we partner with it. It is not G-d alone; it is G-d and us together. G-d’s miracle twined with our efforts; we become part of the miracle. This way, the miracle leaves an indelible impact and changes us permanently.

The College Takeover
This week, we saw the antisemitic protests at college campuses take a vicious turn for the worse. Protestors took over the campus lawns and are shouting threatening and intimidating slogans. They wave a flag to give their protest the patina of free speech, but their actions and words are absolute hate speech and bullying. They confront Jewish students and faculty members and are generally disruptive.

The universities and police forces have their work cut out for them and should put an end to this illegal occupation. They should stop hate speech and bullying that violate the law and the Civil Rights Act. That is on them, but I am not writing to them. I am writing to us: Jewish students and faculty members and local Jewish people in communities with colleges that have been occupied.

We must know that these haters will fail as miserably and as spectacularly as the haters that came before them. It surprises me that they even try. They need just review our history and see how many tyrants, far more powerful than them, line the wastebins of Jewish history. As we read in the Haggadah, “In every generation, they rise against us to consume us, but G-d saves us from their hand.”

There is no question that we will see our salvation. We have already seen many isolated miracles and even a grand miracle I wrote about last week. But we must also do our part. We must be strong and unafraid. We can’t cede control to them. We must stand our ground. We must walk safely and in large groups. We must create buddy systems and safe spaces, but we must show up. We need not taunt or provoke. Simply hold our ground and walk in peace. We cannot let this takeover stand. We cannot let them intimidate us.

The Jewish community must use every resource at its disposal to oppose this. Talk to your elected representatives. Work your contacts. Show up on campus to accompany young students to their dorms. Yes, of course, they are louder than us. But we have G-d on our side. But G-d wants a partnership. He will help us, but He does not want us to roll over and die. He does not want us to surrender.

Be smart and wise; stand tall and strong with absolute confidence that these bullies will also fail. In the end, we will return to a time of peace and security. A time of tranquility and happiness. A time when all of humanity will stand together against terrorism, evil, and wickedness. A time when humanity will turn to G-d with one unified desire: to stand with G-d and to know G-d.

As we celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea on this seventh day of Passover, let us strengthen ourselves and prepare ourselves for another salvation. It is coming, of that there is no doubt. We must do our part; of that, there must be no doubt.

May that day come speedily in our time. Amen.