I’ve been reading two things that seem to twine together. The first is the ongoing news out of Gaza, about Hamas continuously firing missiles into Israel (as well as into their own population). Noah Pollak wrote a very good commentary in response to a question about why Hamas, through its outpost in Gaza, keeps fighting and fighting and fighting. The answer, of course, is that Hamas fights because that is its nature. Fighting is its raison d’etre. Without fighting, there is nothing.
The second thing I’ve been reading, which at first glance seems unrelated, is Rabbi Joseph Teluskin’s Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible — a very informative and enjoyable retelling of the Old Testament, along with Rabbinical commentary.
The story of Abraham and Sarah, of course, brings up the history of Hagar and Ishmael. Telushkin reminds us of two things about Ishmael. First, he repeats the prophecy that God’s angel made about Ishmael: “He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” (Genesis, 16:12.) The second is the fact that the Muslim Arabs claim descent from this same Ishmael.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
[Link fixed. Thanks, Gringo.]