March 1, 2012- Rabbi Yaakov Yisachar Ber Rosenbaum, The Rebbe of Nadvorna, passes away.
March 13, 2012- Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, The Vizhnizter Rebbe, passes away.
March 16, 2012- Obama issues an executive order entitled, “National Defense Resource Preparedness”, which gives the government control over all of the nation’s resources- food, farming, labor, and industry. It is yet another step in the tyrannical evolution of a country that used to promote “freedom”.
March 19, 2012- Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, age 30, his two boys, Gabriel, 6, and Aryeh, 3, and Miriam Monsenego, 8, are violently murdered in front of their school in France.
March 20, 2012- Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, founder of Torah Ohr Yeshiva, passes away.
March 20, 2012- A 7.4 magnitude earthquake strikes near Acapulco, Mexico, one of the “hottest” vacation and party destinations in the world.
March 2012- Record-breaking heat in much of the upper Midwest U.S., including Chicago. Never before have temperatures been consistently 30 degrees above normal for such an extended period of time.
March 2012- A severe snowstorm hits Arizona and New Mexico, closing down highways, schools, and leaving 33,000 people without power. Up to 19 inches of snow were reported.
March 2012- Severe thunderstorms hit Tulsa, Oklahoma, with thunder so strong it registered on seismic equipment. Tornadoes have hit and damaged several homes as well, and flooding remains a prime concern.
March 2012- Flooding continues along east Australia, forcing 13,000 people out of their homes.
Do I need to go on?
Our world is turning upside-down. In Chicago, one of the coldest cities in the U.S., there is 80 degree weather, while in Arizona, one of the hottest cities in the U.S., there is record snowfall! Crazed killers are victimizing not only adults, but robbing us of our most precious commodity- our pure, sweet, and innocent children. Righteous Tzaddikim, the pillars of our generation, our defenders and leaders, are leaving us like orphans on the street. The U.S., once a symbol of freedom and the good life, is continuing to evolve into pre-WWII Germany.
What is Hashem doing? Why are things spinning out of control? Our situation today reminds me of people back in the 1980’s walking around with those ridiculous boomboxes on their shoulders. Even though I was under 10 years old, I remember seeing it on t.v.- larger than life stereos blasting deafening sounds ( I wouldn’t call it music) directly into the poor, suffering eardrums of the people trying to balance them on their stick-skinny shoulders without heading for a fall. The strangest part was that even though the noise was pounding in their ears, it seemed to me like they really couldn’t hear it. It was almost like a background noise, like elevator music that you hear but don’t pay attention to as you’re working or talking to other people.
This is what I feel like we’re doing today. Hashem has turned up the volume, and continues to do so, but we’re still going about our water-cooler gossip. We don’t hear the sounds getting more deafening. We don’t want to see the signs that Hashem is sending. Why are we so stubborn? How long will we continue living in a zombie-like state, going about our daily, robotic routines as if nothing is changing. Why are we still planning vacations for the following year? Most of us assume that we will get through this strange patch of life and things will go back to normal.
Wrong, people. Normal is over. Life with our heads in the sand can’t continue anymore. We must get out of our outdated way of thinking. All around us, the signs are getting louder and clearer. Our world and our way of living is changing drastically. Ignoring it will not protect you from getting swept up in the changes. If anything, one day you will realize that the rug has been pulled out from under you, and you are in a free-fall with nothing to grab onto.
What is the way we can survive the rapid changes? Only through emuna and teshuva. Rabbi Brody says, “Hashem is going to take the carpet and shake it - whoever is holding on real tight will survive.” Practically speaking, what does this mean?
1) Emuna- Internalize this famous principle written by the Rambam: Hashem did, does, and will do everything. Every single situation in our lives, from our coffee getting spilled in the morning to the rocket barrage on Ashdod, is a product of Hashem’s Divine will. If we work on accepting this fact, we save ourselves the daily wear and tear that stress does to our bodies and souls.
2) Teshuva- each day we must do a personal accounting of our deeds. We must look at what we did that was commendable and be happy with our accomplishments. We must also look at what we could have done better, and feel true remorse for our actions. If we have hurt someone, we must apologize to that person. Then, we must commit to not doing that same transgression again and ask Hashem to help us succeed in becoming better people.
3) Living a spiritually-oriented life- It’s time for a major life priority overhaul. Fancy dinners and vacations should not be #1 on our list anymore. Now we must focus on working on ourselves and helping others. Every person we help to see that a materialistic life is poisonous to our souls is like another life we have saved. What is the best way to save someone’s life, and thus give them the gift of eternal happiness? Share with them the teachings of emuna- give them a cd or a book. Do you remember how The Garden of Emuna changed your life? What about one of Rabbi Brody’s unbelievable cd’s, that I personally could not drive my kids to school without listening to it in the morning? Don’t the people you love and care for deserve the same opportunity? It will not only change their lives, it will change the lives of every single person they come in contact with. You can literally save the lives of their children and all future generations from helping one person.
4) Come to Israel- If you have been debating making aliyah, debate no longer. The time is now. All of the righteous Tzaddikim state that Israel will be the safest place in the world for anyone who is committed to living a Torah-observant life. Remember, our ideals as Jewish People are not rooted in materialism. They are rooted in spirituality.
We cannot continue to ignore the signs that our world is rapidly changing. At this point, we have two choices: either willingly change our priorities and way of living, or risk getting lost in the chaos. The choice is ours.