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No, They Don’t Want to be Friends

56 1 5

This was clearly a low point for the Jewish people.

It was the fortieth year of the sojourn by the Jewish people in the desert, and they were tired. Their parents’ generation had died because they refused to enter the Land of Israel. Their children, however, were different. Still, the endless stops and starts, shortage of water as well as the difficulties in navigation were beginning to get on their nerves.

At that point, Moses, as told in this week’s Torah portion, had an idea — a shortcut that would take the Jews directly from Kadesh in the Zin Desert to the Land of Israel. There was one catch. The route was through the kingdom of Edom, not exactly a historical friend of the Jews.

Perhaps there was hope: Edom came from Esau, the brother of the patriarch Jacob. Moses tried an appeal to brotherhood, recounting the slavery of the Jews in Egypt, their rescue by G-d and the long trek to the Promised Land.

Edom was not impressed. Instead, the king boiled with rage.

“You shall not pass through me, lest I go out towards you with the sword!” Edom replied.

Moses tried reason: The Jews would move rapidly through Edom, restricted to any road selected by authorities. They would be buy food and water although they had plenty of both. It was win-win.

“But he [Edom] said, ‘You shall not pass through!’ and Edom came out toward them with a vast force and with a........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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