5 Kislev 5778 / Thursday, November 23, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Wailing for Watermelon    

Wailing for Watermelon

With the generation of the desert, it was a choice between the Divine Presence and a watermelon or a golden calf. Today, the evil inclination is much more sophisticated…


Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody



Everybody say thank-You to Hashem. Let's pray that He has mercy on us and gives us the right words to strengthen His children.


I want everyone to merit making teshuva.


One of the most shocking episodes in the Torah is when the rebellious Israelites wanted to replace Moses. How could that be? He was the epitome of good! He reflected Divine light. He did nothing but pray for their welfare for years on end. He led them out of Egypt while the Israelites saw scores of miracles. The lowliest one of them saw revelations that Ezekiel the Prophet didn't see.


And what did they do? They crie and complained. They want a golden calf. They want fresh meat. They want democracy. But hold it – Hashem is leading you in a supernatural manner! Your well goes wherever you go for forty years in the middle of the desert. You get fresh Heaven-sent bread – manna – every morning. Your clothes and shoes never wear out and those of your children grow with them. They never need to be laundered. Zillions of miracles, beyond our comprehension. What do they want?


Hashem's Presence is in their midst – the cloud and the pillar of fire accompany them day and night.


If the Torah wouldn't say so, I wouldn't believe it. "The families were crying." Not one or two, everybody was crying. What did they want with all these miracles? They cried about the watermelons and the garlic of Egypt. I wouldn't believe it if the Torah didn't say it.


The Zohar says that at that moment, Moses was so brokenhearted about their ingratitude to Hashem that he cursed himself. This was the curse that prevented him from entering the Land of Israel, says Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai.


During the entire Torah, we see that the Israelites didn't taste the true taste of the true tsaddik. If so, they wouldn't have cried, they wouldn't have complained, they wouldn't have budged from the word of Moses. Moses could have made them into tremendous tsaddikim. They completely missed the light of Moses; they missed the purpose of life.


So you don't see Hashem's Divine Presence and you therefore long for watermelons? How is that possible? If a person doesn't search for the light of the true tsaddik, he or she will be just like the generation of the desert, spiritually blind.


Rebbe Natan teaches us that any true spiritual strengthening can come only from the power of the true tsaddik of the generation. No matter what a person endures in life, if he is connected to the true tsaddik, he'll reach lofty spiritual heights.


If you don't search for the true light of the tsaddik, you'll end up yearning for watermelons instead of for your own intimate relationship with Hashem, for emuna and for the light of Torah. King David in Psalm 78 talks exactly about what we're talking about; he condemns the mistaken generation of the desert who forsake miracles for watermelons. Read the whole Psalm and see for yourself. They spoke slander about Hashem. Their spiritual awareness was zilch in relation to what it should have been. King David says, "They didn't believe in Hashem!!" That's why they provoked the stern judgments that manifest in their death in the desert, for they were unfit for entering the Holy Land of Emuna, Eretz Yisrael.


But Hashem is merciful. He waited for the teshuva that they never did. They continued to test Hashem. We say this every Friday night at the end of "Lechu Nranana" – we remind ourselves of the "generation with the erring heart."


What did they lack? Emuna – emuna begins where intellect leaves off. We all came to this world to learn emuna. If you believe in Hashem, you must believe that everything He does is good, otherwise you are not a believer. A person must be tenacious in his quest for emuna.


The only trouble that the Jewish People have is lack of emuna.

Whoever has emuna has no troubles; without emuna, there is nothing but trouble.


Anyone who ever tastes the true taste of Torah knows how good and sweet it is. So, if you have emuna, you have Gan Eden in this world.


So what else do you want?


Is the pleasure in life you're looking for chocolate ice-cream or cheesecake? Is it a rib steak or a glass of cold beer? This is the taste of life you're looking for? You're forfeiting true paradise for a watermelon? So what's new?


Why aren't you looking for the Moses of the generation to uplift you from the garbage of this world, the debauchery, the lies and the lust?


You get your vitality in life from a smartphone? You prefer your smartphone to Moses? If you don't look for the tsaddik to uplift you, this world will be tasteless; even worse, it will be purgatory. Don't expect to raise upright children with that iPhone in your pocket…


The world was created for us to learn emuna. We need to be connected to the true tsaddik of the generation. With the generation of the desert, it was a choice between the Divine Presence and a watermelon or a golden calf. Today, the evil inclination is much more sophisticated; it has replaced watermelons and golden calves for iPhones. Everyone today has a free choice – the Divine Presence or an iPhone. What's yours?

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