Each time the ark is opened to take out a Torah scroll, we chant: "And when the Ark [of the Covenant] would travel, Moses would say, 'Arise, G‑d, and disperse Your enemies, and may Your haters run away from before You'" (Num.10:35). Moses' prayer was that, as the Jews traveled in the desert, their enemies would not harm them. If so, then why did Moses say "Your [G‑d's] enemies" and "Your haters" - as opposed to "our"? Rashi explains, "Anyone who hates the people of Israel, hates the One Who spoke and the world came into being." In other words, someone who hates the Jews hates G‑d. Anyone who hurts the Jews is making G‑d his or her enemy…

The Lubavitcher Rebbe differentiates between the "enemies" and "haters". An "enemy" is one who fights against others and sees them as his or her opponent; however, many times this animosity is a reaction to suspicions felt or perhaps a desire to protect oneself. The second category, "haters", is much worse. Hatred is something that flows from the core of a person. Not only does this type of person fight his or her opponents, he or she constantly seeks to annoy and hurt them. We see this clearly from another verse where these two types are again mentioned as a punishment for the Jews: "your enemies will defeat you, and your haters will tyrannize you" (Num. 26:17). Tyranny is worse than defeat.

Why are the people who hate the Jews also considered G‑d-hating and why is it important to me? This is because the Jews are known as G‑d's people, "the chosen of the nations" (Ex. 19:5). For this reason anyone who hurts the Jews is making G‑d his or her enemy.

This connection between G‑d and the Jewish people is also for our benefit and defense. The fact that the Nations may hate us is a reflection of our declining spiritual status. If we would each work on our divine service, every Jew according to his or her level, this would directly protect us from danger. Ignore our performance rating - bring Mashiach right now…

Unbeknownst to the nations, it is only our faults which make us vulnerable. Therefore, in his prayer Moses (skirted the issue and) chose to emphasize that Israel's haters are G‑d haters, inferring that the haters are not reacting to the Jew's spiritual standing, but rather responding to their hate of G‑d. Moses says, "Arise, G‑d" - "Know that these nations are not interested in the Jews' spiritual perfection; they know that the Jews are Your people, and that is the reason they wish to antagonize us. If they succeed, it will be a desecration of Your Name!"

Moses made it a non-negotiable issue. How well the Jews do or do not perform in their divine service becomes irrelevant. Taking care of the Jews and the sanctity of G‑d's Name becomes predominant. In a similar way, let us pray to G‑d, asking when the exile will end. Enough is enough. Ignore our performance rating - bring Mashiach right now!

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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