Monday, March 14, 2011

Not One Whit

I don’t give one whit about the political analyses that hog the airwaves.  Accusations of media bias.  Demands that the PA stop inciting violence.  Tenders to build more homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria.  This Member of Knesset arguing with that Member of Knesset.  The left.  The right.  JStreet. Women in Green.  Obama.  Netanyahu.  Barak.  PA claims that Israel was behind the murders in Itamar.  A push to restart the peace talks.

It’s all a smoke screen.

The political posturing is nauseatingly off point.

Five members of a holy Jewish family were brutally murdered in their beds and the world is not the same.  Many Jews are thinking and talking of little else.  We feel punched in the gut and raw, struggling for a cogent response.

Just before I shut off my internet connection for Shabbat, I learned about the earthquake in Japan and the subsequent tsunami.  At that point, there were 300 confirmed dead.  Now the death toll is expected to exceed 10,000.  The video footage calls to mind the plagues in Egypt.  The visual evidence of Hashem’s power is shocking.  We stand in open-mouthed incredulity.

A month ago, there was an earthquake in New Zealand.  A month before that, there was catastrophic flooding in Australia.

And on Shabbat, five innocent Jews were brutally murdered for the crime of being Jews.

When the world appears to be functioning in chaos mode, how do I react?  What can I do to see the bigger picture?

First, I ignore the chaff of political analysis.  It is so much meaningless chirping.  Instead, I comb the Internet for articles and videos that represent an authentic Torah perspective on current events.  I find them with ease.  I find them comforting.  And I find them proliferating.

Rabbi Lazer Brody comforts me with these words, “The Gemara teaches us (see tractate Moed Katan 28a) that the death of tzaddikim - the righteous and the pious - atones for Israel just as the public sacrifices did at the time of the Holy Temple. The Fogels were undoubtedly a Korban Tzibbur - a public sacrifice. They died on Shabbat Vayikra - the Shabbat of the exact Torah portion that describes how to perform a public sacrifice.”

We are daily being reminded that the yetzer hara is heaving about in its death throes, creating chaos in the world.  The Messianic Age is nearly ready to be born.  All that is happening – natural disasters, unspeakably brutal murders of righteous Jews, civil unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Morocco, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries – is coming from Hashem.  It’s ALL Hashem.

And it’s all for us.

Hashem is exhibiting His limitless force to destroy the enemies of Am Yisrael.  What we are witnessing may well be just the warm-up act.

For Jewish people whose neshamot are awake, spiritual messages are being shared all over the Internet and in shiurim all across Israel.  There are three basic messages I keep hearing, three things that we must focus on during these dramatic times:
1)      Strengthening our emuna.  Knowing that Hashem is behind all the events in the world and that, ultimately, they are for good, redemptive purposes, even if we can’t see that clearly yet.  Clinging to Hashem.  Trusting Hashem.
2)      Doing teshuva.  Being kinder to one another.  Helping others more.  Behaving more modestly.  Being less materialistic.
3)      Making aliyah.  This message is being delivered more unmistakably every day.  Those Jews who are still living outside of Israel are being warned to get out while it is still possible.  Not 5 years from now.  Not one year from now.  NOW. 

I am only human, and I can’t know anything about Hashem’s Ways with certainty.  I can’t really understand why the Fogel family was called upon to pay the terrible price they are paying.  I can’t understand why Hashem picked the countries that He picked to experience disasters and turmoil.  I can only block out the political inanity and listen for spiritual messages that speak to my soul. 

Emuna.  Teshuva.  Aliyah. 

These are my responses.

15 comments:

Yehoshua Goldstein said...

I very much enjoyed reading this article. You did an excellent job of summing up the critical spiritual messages of our time 1)Emuna 2) Teshuva / modesty in front of G-d and 3) The urgent need for Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael now.
May you be zoche to pull out many souls from the darkness.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Excellent. Excellent excellent excellent. You got it.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Excellent! It's time to go home.

Anonymous said...

Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Very well said!

Anonymous said...

A superb, timely and sane analysis from a Torah true perspective. Yashar koach! May your words echo and re-echo through time, space and cyberspace. May Jews in the nations have ears to hear, and may the nations hear and heed the God of Creation, the God of Israel.

Anonymous said...

This is only added to the confirmation and the stirring in us to make aliyah now. The fogels made us sit down and revise our plans and these last few days this feelign ahs only intensified to a forget what you need to do just go. Thank you for sharing your views.

Anonymous said...

As usual, you get right to the heart of the matter at hand!!

Yocheved said...

"All that is happening � natural disasters.... Hashem is exhibiting His limitless force to destroy the enemies of Am Yisrael." Surely, Rivkah, you are not suggesting that the devastation of Japan is somehow an act of God for the benefit of amcha? or that Japan is an enemy to be destroyed? Please tell me you don't mean to draw such a conclusion! Yocheved

Anonymous said...

I understand that there have been many "messages" telling us to move to Israel. But when a beautiful family is murdered there, that does not encourage me to make aliyah.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully put!

Bat Aliyah said...

Thank you to all those who took time to comment in support of my message. I would like to respond to two readers in particular. To Yocheved, the conclusion I mean to draw, based on emuna, is that Hashem runs the world and everything He does is for the ultimate benefit of Am Yisrael. According to Rabbi Lazer Brody, Rashi teaches that the geula will begin with the trembling of the sea. This idea is supported by the verse from Tehillim (98:7), "The sea and all its fullness will roar, as will the inhabited land and those who dwell therein." It is not for me to say why Hashem picked Japan (or New Zealand or Australia or whichever country comes next). But it is a matter of simple emuna to know that God is behind every "natural" disaster. To the person who suggested that the Fogel family murders are a source of discouragement for making aliyah, I gently suggest that we in Israel would not be nearly as vulnerable if half the Jews in the world didn't still live outside the Land.

Shmuel said...

If we have any prophets today in Israel my vote is for Rivkah Lambert Adler. Her insight is right on the bull's eye. I couldn't disagree with any word of her's. The redemption is not soon - it's NOW. And anybody who doesn't see it as such is blinded by the reflection of their golden idol. Shmuel

Rabbi G. Vogel said...

I commented originally: very well said. But after reading the subsequent comments, I'd like to add something to what Mrs. Adler "gently" answered to someone who felt that the Fogels' death dicourages us from making Aliyah. Yes, it would be to our advantage if we were stronger in numbers. But I feel that for any Jew who loves his fellow-Jews he must make all efforts to 'live the dream' because if not, he is sending a message: either that what the terrorist are doing pays off (and this encourages them to G-d forbid do it again) and/or that since he's afraid for his life, (and as a Jew he must be afraid for his fellow-Jews as well) and therefore his opinion would be to tell all the Jews living in Israel to, G-d forbid, move out!?! or is the discouraged reader suggesting that it's ok for them but not for him!?! I'd love to hear a reply from this reader. Thank you again, Mrs. Adler & warm regards to your wonderful family & esp. From me to your husband and Ariella. With a heart full of love for all Jews and the promised land, Rabbi G. Vogel