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.