Someone showed me an editorial from a leading Israeli Haredi newspaper. The editor was encouraging people to take an active role in the coming January 22, 2013 Israel elections and says: "The outcome of the coming election is fateful for the Haredi public..."
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but his words were spiritually nauseating. No mention of Hashem, no mention of emuna, no mention of teshuva; and this is a leading "Haredi" opinion molder, with thousands of readers! According to him, the entire quality of life for a Haredi depends on whether his political party gets enough seats in the Knesset. Not only is that ridiculous, but it's heresy.
My beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush, may Hashem bless him and keep him healthy, told me that the threat of drafting Yeshiva young men into the army stems from the fact that they're not learning Torah with as much holiness and dedication as they should. It doesn't matter who's in power. It matters how we serve Hashem.
But people argue - if the Haredi parties won't be in the government, then there will be less money allotted to the Yeshivas...
Once again, whatever happens is Hashem's will and all for the best. The politicians are only puppets with Hashem pulling the strings.
There once was an Israeli politician by the name of Yoseph (Tommy) Lapid. He rose to power on a secularist, fiercely anti-religious platform in 1999. Ultimately, he became Minister of Justice and Assistant Prime Minister. He made a big splash when he was in power, especially by severely cutting back the stipends for married Torah (kollel) students.
At the time, I was Rosh Kollel (Dean) of Rabbi Arush's Rabbinical seminary, a branch of the Chut Shel Chesed Yeshiva in Ashdod. We had fifteen highly-talented Torah scholars well on the way to becoming ordained rabbis. They were receiving a monthly stipend from the government of nearly 800 NIS ($200) monthly, and another 300 NIS ($75) from the Kollel. When Lapid succeeded in cutting the stipend by half, our kollel - which lacked private funds and significant private donors - had difficulty in keeping in keeping its doors open. Rav Shalom decided to close several of the outlying branches and consolidate in Jerusalem.
I took a breather from teaching and wrote two of my Hebrew books the next year.
One day, Rav Shalom came to visit me in Ashdod. In the previous months, I had the privilege of editing and proofreading the first edition of The Garden of Emuna. Rav Shalom told me that he felt that it's high time that we begin spreading the light of emuna in English. I dropped everything I was doing, and began to invest all of my time in translating Rav Shalom's books and CDs.
Just imagine - were it not for Yoseph (Tommy) Lapid, I might still have been the Head of a small Kollel, teaching Rabbinical Law to fifteen or so students. Instead, Hashem wanted me to spread Rav Shalom's light in English. Both the books and the CDs have reached millions of people - we stopped counting long ago. Tommy Lapid never dreamed that he'd "help" spread emuna around the world. Hashem does have an amazing sense of humor.
Hashem does everything, all for the best, and all for a good reason.
People - especially politicians - make a big splash when they arrive on the scene. They remind me of a person sticking his arm in a bucket of water or a bathtub - he splashes and splashes, but exactly twenty two seconds after he takes his arm out, the water is calm - back to normal as if nothing ever happened.
Hashem determines change in the world, not the politicians or the media. Our Torah, emuna, mitzva observance and particularly teshuva mitigate the stern decrees and thereby exert tremendous influence on the decisions that Hashem makes. Since we have the power to influence Hashem, our sages tell us that we are virtual partners in the creation and maintenance of the world. Therefore, we'd be best advised to focus our efforts on the things that count - Torah, emuna, mitzva observance and teshuva.
Here we are, the week after the elections in the USA. Look how much time and money people spent on trying to get their candidate elected. Look at the seas of ink that were spilled in writing about the campaigning and elections. Look at the hours of sleep that were lost in watching the late-night election returns on TV. Imagine if all the people who watched midnight TV said midnight lamentations - Tikkun Chatzot - instead. They really would have changed the world!
The Evil Inclination wants us to devote our time to inconsequential things. He'll let a person splash in the bucket all over the place, for ultimately, nothing will change and the water will go right back to normal. Just imagine how, after your 120 years on earth - you're shown that you're life was a series of meaningless, inconsequential endeavors. That will be both unbearably painful and embarrassing. Don't wait until then...
It doesn't matter who was elected in the USA or who will be elected in Israel - eitzat Hashem he takum - the counsel of Hashem is what shall be.
So, if you want to splash, don't use a bucket of water. Try going to a mikva. That way, you'll add a little more holiness to the world; a little more holiness, more Torah, more emuna or a drop more of teshuva is making your everlasting mark on the world. May you succeed!
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