Kicking and Screaming, Part 1
When you were a kid, you probably spent hours completely absorbed in playtime. Maybe you were alone, imagining you were an astronaut in outer space. Maybe you and your friends conquered far-off lands as pirates sailing on the high seas. Whatever you played, there was one thing I’m pretty sure we all went through: the unfortunate end of playtime. No matter how many hours we played, it was never enough time, and “five more minutes” ended up in another hour of extended play. By the second overtime, our parents were usually so mad, that they literally had to drag us, kicking and screaming, to the dinner table, bath, or the dreaded homework. The lucky ones got dragged by the arm. The not-so-lucky ones probably got the twisty ear treatment or the complementary hair extension treatment, guaranteed to make your hair ½” longer each and every time!
As adults, is it easier to pry us away from our playtime? I don’t think so. I think it’s even harder, and our Father is getting pretty fed up with us. Specifically, I am referring to our general unwillingness to return home to Israel. I know, many of you are like, “Here we go again with the aliyah nonsense. Enough already! We’ll come when Moshiach gets here!” Hellooo, people, wake up! The point is not to wait until Moshiach comes- the whole point of the “ingathering of the exiles” is to bring our Redemption that much closer!
I realize there are many reasons why many Jews don’t want to make aliya at this point. One reason is because of the comfortable lifestyle we have gotten used to. This is exactly like telling Hashem, “But Abbbaaa, I’m not ready to leave! I still have to make more money! I still have to live in my big house and drive around my overpriced, oversized SUV! I still have hours and hours of time to waste watching “Dancing With The Stars”! I still have to shop for overpriced clothing and go out for dinners that will end up in the toilet! I DON’T WANNA GO!!” And then there’s the very convincing family reason: “Hashem, my parents are still here! My grandparents would be heartbroken if I take their great-grandchildren away!” The hardest reason is the financial inability to make aliyah. I understand that it is a huge expense, and for those that can’t make aliyah because they can’t afford it, I encourage you to keep praying for it and to be a part of our Outreach movement. Spread the word of emuna through books and CD’s, and you have Rabbi Brody’s blessing for every salvation in your life.
In this two-part series, I’m going to present you with several highlights that have happened over the last few years, and I invite you to come to your own conclusion. The world is changing, literally turning upside-down right before our eyes. The problem is that most of us walk around with our eyes closed, but not for the right reasons. We close our eyes because we don’t want to see the reality that has creeped up right under our noses. We think that if we don’t see it, it will go away. Unfortunately, our ostrich mentality is allowing things to get worse. Let’s begin:
Do you recall the earthquake that struck in Washington, D.C. last August? Its tremors were felt all the way to New York. Most of us realize what an anomaly it was to have an earthquake on the East Coast. They happen in California, not in Washington, D.C.! And what about Hurricane Irene last August as well? When’s the last time you heard of a hurricane hitting New York??
All across the U.S., areas were getting slammed with severe weather. Droughts throughout the summer decimated staple crops such as corn and soybean, and food prices will continue to rise significantly in 2013. Places where it rarely snowed, such as Arizona, were getting snow, while typically snowy places such as Chicago were seeing record highs last winter. In the past year, over 739 tornadoes hit throughout the country, and the year isn’t over yet! In the middle of the summer, Dallas and Colorado had hailstorms! The hail was almost the size of a tennis ball, and parts of Colorado were literally flooded with ice in June! If you watch this video, notice the strange looking cloud hanging over Ocean City, New Jersey. To me, it looked like an ominous warning, because just 5 months later, that city was flooded by the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy.
Just a few weeks ago, New York and New Jersey were the center of the worst devastation to hit the North East in recent history when they were hit by the Frankenstorm- a combination of Hurricane Sandy and a nor’easter. Can you imagine? Ahurricane colliding with a snowstorm?? It’s completely absurd!This storm caused an estimated $50 Billion worth of damage. For weeks, many people suffered in the winter weather without power, gas, and food. Even two weeks later, many homes didn’t have their power restored, and lines for gas were blocks long. Long Island was literally in the dark. Where was FEMA to be found? More on that later…
Everyone can see that the world is going crazy. Even the animals are going crazy! Since 2011, there have been repeated instances of mass animal death: tens of thousands of birds just dropping out of the sky, millions of fish washing ashore, bees dying in large colonies, even cows dying by the hundreds- and scientists can’t understand why. In California, there was a massive locust invasion last June.
There have been other strange phenomena occurring as well. Large bodies of water, such as the Yangtze River in China, have suddenly turned a blood-red. This scary sight also happened in many other places, such as Texas and Ohio. There was even a “bloody” waterfall in Antarctica! Scientists still haven’t figured out what is causing the water to turn red (Red Tide has been ruled out).
It’s as if the Ten Plagues are happening all over again. We see the water turning to blood, frog invasions (recently, several cities in China were overrun by small frogs), unexplained animal deaths (which looks an awful lot like Pestilence), Hail, and Locusts (like the millions that just landed in Herald, California). The Northeast has been struck by the plague of Darkness, with the prolonged power outages that literally incapacitated millions of people in several states for weeks.
Strange, isn’t it?
Regarding the recent Frankenstorm, we must ask ourselves what messages Hashem is trying to send us. Could it be that all of the urging by the Gedolim to make aliyah has some validity? I think so. Could it be that Hashem is getting fed up with our extended and increasingly unwelcome stay in the United States and other parts of the world? I think so. Many people have lost everything they owned in the recent storm. Where is the mercy in this? How is this for the best? One of my thoughts on this question is that Hashem may be trying to get the Jews out of the U.S. because He knows what’s coming in the near future, and by forcing them to choose between rebuilding or leaving, He’s saving them from a far worse situation later.
What situation am I referring to? You’ll find out next week…