There are two things that typically result from reading recent news from
Israel. The first is the response that yes this headline is upsetting,
and yes the situation needs to improve
not just for 3, 24, or 72
hours, but that the threat-both the immediate and long-term threat-needs
to be taken care of. The second are the personal stories that come from
these headlines-the micro of the aforementioned macro-the individual lives
that have been saved and lost. The faces behind the conflict.
One such face that is still very much ingrained in our thoughts
is that of a sweet four-year-old boy named Daniel Tragerman.
can be said? What should be said? If you don't know what happened, this
holy boy was recently taken from us. A casualty of a mortar shell fired
from Gaza on Friday, August 22.. But now is the time to reflect and learn.
To learn some Torah in the merit of Daniel, not to attempt to explain
The Three Fears
In Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh's book Body, Mind, and Soul, he explains
that there are three primal fears: The Fear of the Snake (insanity), The
Fear of the Lion (murder), and The Fear of the Wolf (rape). There are
many things learnt about these three fears, but today we are speaking
about Daniel, so let's see how this relates.
When blessing his sons before his death, Jacob blessed the tribe of Judah
with kingship, noting: "Judah is a lion cub." He blessed the
tribe of Dan with judgeship, noting, "Dan shall be a snake on the
way, a serpent on the path." Jacob stated as well, in his blessing
to Dan, that he would
resemble the tribe of Judah: "Dan will judge his people like the
one [i.e., the king] of the tribes of Israel."
The two tribes are further linked in the blessings that Moses gave before
his death, when Moses blessed the tribe of Dan to be "a lion cub."
So we see that Dan connects the lion to the snake, to the kingdom of David
(who came from the tribe of Judah), and also to the son of David, Mashiach
ben David, known as "the holy snake." Indeed, the Zohar states
that from the tribe of Dan will come the commander-in-chief of the army
The one man in the Torah who personifies the union of Judah and Dan is
Daniel. The name Daniel means "judge of God," but Daniel came,
in fact, from the tribe of Judah and from the royal lineage of King David.
Daniel was thrown into the lion's den and emerged unscathed for he symbolizes
the holy lion, the power to overcome the evil lion. The sages say that
of all Biblical figures, Daniel is the closest to personifying Mashiach.
Thus Daniel unites, in holiness, the lion with the snake.
The Code of Jewish Law begins with the injunction that one should be
as "courageous as a lion." Like a lion, poised to pounce on
its prey, one ought to pounce out of bed in the morning with renewed vitality
and confidence to conquer all the enemies of the day ahead. With the courage
of a lion in one's service of God one overcomes the fear of the lion.
In the Book of Proverbs, it is stated that the fear of the lion, the
fear of murder, is what keeps one at home, in bed: The lazy man says,
"There is a lion outside! I will be murdered in the street!"
One must combat this evil psychological fear of the lion by means of the
holy psychological lion-the power to get up, go out, and get things done
The Battle Against Insanity and Murder
What does all this mean for us? That the battle we are now waging is
foremost a psychological one; a battle both against insanity and murder-
the fears of the lion and the snake. [The Fear of the Wolf (rape) in our
present situation primarily relates to the fear of being abducted, of
being snatched away by the enemy.] And once the psychological war has
been won, then physical victory will result as a natural consequence.
As we mustn't fear the snakes in Gaza that dig many holes and tunnels,
so too we mustn't let the rockets that come from them above the ground
keep us from courageously serving God.
Now who is the Torah personality that most personifies the holy battle
fought both above and below ground? The Torah personality that also most
closely personifies Mashiach? This is Daniel (Talmud Sanhedrin). And just
as Daniel the Prophet emerged unscathed from the lion's den, so too we
will emerge from this most difficult period in our history.
In the tear-filled words of Daniel's mother, Gila, said at her son's
funeral last Sunday:
"We always said that you'd be the youngest world leader, who would
bring peace. So, if not in life then, we hope, in death."
Yonatan Gordon is a writer with over 10 years of Jewish marketing
experience. His Kabbalah and Technology blog can be found at //CommunityofReaders.org