We live in a world where charlatans and rip-off artists surround us like moths around a bright light. Some wish to convince us of non-sensible religious beliefs, while others are out to relieve us of our hard earned money. Some want to sell us their foolish health plans or diets, while others want to fool us with their supposedly miraculous powers and cures. Some want to sell us crooked “road maps,” and illusionary worthless peace deals, while others give us advice that one would only give to his enemy. Unless we have our heads on straight, we may easily be deceived by their clever schemes and weapons of mass deception. Everyone is vulnerable. No one is impervious.
One must always be very skeptical especially if it sounds too good to be true. One must always be on the alert and beware of the charismatic, enchanting, and charming powerful speaker who can easily convince us that the world is square despite all scientific proof to the contrary. Even our brilliant logical and analytic mind may not always protect us from the clever con-artist who may often outsmart us with his devious deceitful schemes that lure us as bees to honey.
History has taught us that even the very great can sometimes be taken in by a clever con-artist. The great Yehosuah bin Nun as well as Klal Yisroel were taken by the Givonim’s clever deception and hoax; dressing in old and tattered clothing, worn out shoes, and carrying moldy bread and claiming that they came from a distant land. Shabtai Tzvi was able to fool thousands of very clever and illustrious people into believing that he was the Messiah. It wasn’t until he converted to Islam that his game was uncovered. Everyone can be taken for a ride given the right circumstances. Obviously, we can’t even rely on common sense alone and must pray for Heavenly mercy.
Even though we are small pygmies in comparison to the great giants of yesteryear, we have the advantage of standing on their shoulders and learning from the many lessons of history. By carefully studying our past mistakes we can get a better insight into the present. Only those who’ve studied Lavan’s deceitful peace agreement made with our father Yaakov can avoid making the same mistake once again. Carefully analyzing our past wrong turns, can teach us how to avoid these same pitfalls in the future. The Torah advises us rsu rs ,uba ubhc okug ,unh rfz – “Remember the days of old, understand the years of each past generation.” ( Hazinu 32 ) If only we had heeded this bit of advice we would have averted the tragedies we face today.
It is therefore no wonder that those who lead today’s peace movement in Israel are those ignorant of Tanach and don’t have the faintest knowledge of our ancient history. Had they studied even the first book of Yehoshuah, they would know that war and peace depends on our commitment to Torah and mitzvohs and not only on the might of a powerful army and air force. Had they studied even the first Rashi, they would know that our unassailable rights to the Promised Land are not based on any UN resolution but on G-d’s promise and our fulfillment of His Torah and mitzvohs. A person without the knowledge of history is like a tree without roots. A strong wind can easily shake it loose or topple it. A Jewish leader without a thorough knowledge of our Jewish history is like a drunk driving down a superhighway at ninety miles an hour. Not only does he endanger himself but he endangers all others.
Let’s remember that history repeats itself, but each time the price goes up!