11 Tishrei 5781 / Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
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The Unholy Protectors    

The Unholy Protectors

When we fear others more than Hashem, we forget our holiness. We forget we are Hashem’s treasures. When we forget our true identities, we lose all our power...


It was Saturday night; I had just gotten off the bus, and as is typical of me and my new life in Israel, I found myself lost and wandering up and down the streets. It was dark and a bit unnerving, but I thanked Hashem, knowing this was for the best. I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally saw a sea of colorful kippas ahead in somewhat familiar territory.


I called a friend who said she would come meet me. A guy in a ski hat came over offering his help. “No, thanks,” I said. But he insisted I did need his help. I felt uncomfortable and wanted him to leave, but I felt scared to say so.


“Are you shomer negiah?” he asked.


“Yes,” I said, as if it was any of his business.


My friend called me back. The guy with the ski hat grabbed my phone and told her where to meet us. He guided me to a secluded sitting area and immediately started rubbing my back and my arm. He grabbed my hand, and I quickly yanked it away.


“Hey, why are you so uptight? I teach meditation. You need to learn how to relax.”


I froze like a deer in headlights. Years of an abusive childhood had conditioned me to deny these uncomfortable feelings and to keep my mouth shut. Obviously, he had no idea of the meaning of “shomer negiah.” I suspected he wasn’t really Jewish.


My friend called again, saying she was just across the street. He took my phone and told her, “Be patient. Just wait five minutes and we will meet you.”


 “Come on. I will take you to her,” he said.


He started leading me in the opposite direction of where I thought she was. I continued to keep my mouth shut. A minute into it, I could feel something very wrong was happening. “Hashem, help me,” I prayed.


Immediately, I begin to dial my friend. This made him very angry, “Why are you calling her? Can’t you wait just a few minutes?” And at that moment, I saw who he was and finally let myself have the truth I suspected all along. He was not protecting me at all… who knows what he intended?


I turned around, keeping my friend on the phone as I walked to meet her. I told him to go, and he did this time.


When I got home, I was really disgusted with myself. Why did I let this happen? Why did I attract the situation to myself? Why didn’t I tell him to go away when I knew from the beginning I wanted him to leave? Why did I let him get away with touching me in ways my future husband will not be allowed when we are dating?


As I prayed, Hashem began to show me some things.


I saw how my situation was like a microcosm of Israel. We listen to “unholy protectors,” who come along and tell us to give away our land or to allow terrorists to send missiles day and night without every defending ourselves. The “unholy protectors” tell us if we just listen to them, everything will be okay. “Just relax…don’t be so uptight. I’m here to do what’s best for you.” Why do we listen?


We listen to one degree or another, because we are afraid of them. When we give into them in our personal lives or as a nation, we are fearing them more than we fear Hashem.


When we fear others more than Hashem, we forget our holiness. We forget we are Hashem’s treasures. When we forget our true identities, we lose all our power. Then people can take us over like the Egyptians did with the Israelites. That night I had just come from the Western Wall where I had been praying for hours over Shabbat. There were dark entities, “unholy feeders” that directed this guy to me. The “unholy feeders” are always searching for some light to nosh (eat) since they can’t produce it on their own. I also needed to fall so I could see things I needed to clean up inside. I let the “unholy protector” stay with me and take what wasn’t his because I feared him more than Hashem. I forgot who I was and blended into his world just as the Jewish people through history have tried to blend in with the nations.


Being shomer negiah is, in a sense, like guarding the Holy Land. Keeping its boundaries and borders and not giving it away as if it has no value. Yosef, the Tzaddik, could be completely surrounded by an unholy nation, and yet he never forgot who he was and he never bowed down to them. This is why he was able to shine in enemy territory.


We all must wake up and remember who we are. We must remember the holiness of the Land and Hashem’s promises to Avraham. We have to take back the land of our bodies and our souls and guard them like the precious and holy treasures that they are.


It is true that in our history as the Jewish people we have been abused and plundered and have had traumas that pile up to the sky. But we are in a different time now. Hashem, has given us back the Land. All we need to do now, is believe we have it and to embrace our true identities. If we do this, than like Yosef, we will have the power to shine and prosper no matter what the nations of the world do. May we all be blessed to know our own holiness and to live as a nation of priests.

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