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The Art of War

The relationships we have in our lives are of vital importance. Interacting with each other is a part of being human, whether it's with family members, friends, or in the business world.

To have a healthy relationship, one must have a good understanding of themselves and the person we are trying to engage with. The value of all other components is contingent upon achieving this first.

This is particularly true when we are involved in war. Knowledge of ourselves and our opponents is critical.

No one puts this better than Sun Tzu in The Art of War.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat”.

As Jews, we have been subjected to the oldest hatred in human history. For thousands of years, we have been subjected to animosity, violence, and persecution in multiple forms, from too many nations to count.

In dealing with hatred towards the Jewish people, we have guidance from the Talmud.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a 2nd-century tannaitic sage from ancient Judea, was chosen by the sages when they were forced to deal with the hostile Roman government. The choice was predicated on the fact that this sage was the author of the dictum "It is the reality that Esau hates Jacob".

The guidance is clear. It is precisely when we engage with our enemies that we must have absolute clarity as to the nature of our opponent. Only then can victory be achieved.

The root cause of anti-Semitism is of a spiritual nature. The Jewish people have been endowed by G-d to be a light unto nations. This is our historical role and purpose. The Jewish people are held in high regard by many as a result. Tragically, many others have chosen to be filled with envy and hate.

Our only response must be guided by the timeless wisdom of our Torah. Victory can only be achieved by knowing yourself and knowing your enemy.


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