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    No weapon shall prosper – Re’eh

    The haftarah contains the comforting promise, “No weapon that is forged against you shall prosper” (Isa. 54:17).

    Nehama Leibowitz raises the fair question, why did God let weapons be forged against Israel at all? Could He not have avoided the whole problem by ensuring there were neither enemies nor weapons to threaten us?

    Her answer is that it was not God who created the weapons, but human beings. He gave them free will, skill and energy, and whether these gifts would be used for good or ill depended entirely on the human recipients.

    If no-one were ever able to opt for the path of evil, tragic though such a choice is, then human beings would be automata without minds or hearts.

    Nehama Leibowitz concludes, “Their test (as Israelites) is – and there is no end to such challenge – weapons will be forged against them, and in every age, but if they are the servants of God, they will be shown that these weapons will not prosper” (“Studies in the Weekly Sidra”, 5721).

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