9 Cheshvan 5781 / Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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The Deeper Cause of Anti-Establishment    

The Deeper Cause of Anti-Establishment

The anti-establishment movement, the direction of the world towards rioting and violence, and what we must do to fix it, is hidden in the Confession of Yom Kippur…


Among the sins we confess on Yom Kippur in “Al Cheit” which is part of the Vidui (Confession) is “for the sin we sinned before You by disrespect against parents and teachers.” 


This requires explanation: These are two different sins. 1) Disrespect for parents. 2) Disrespect for teachers. If this is the case, why do we confess for them together? 


One of the worst aspects of the human soul is a desire to rebel against the leadership of others. This causes people to show disrespect against leaders, and to demonstrate that they are not humbled before them. A rebellious spirit has spread throughout the world in our lowly generation. People see it fit to show disrespect for government, party leadership, and the like, to the point where millions of people vote for representatives who oppose the current administrations, even those who are inexperienced, filled with flaws, and devoid of answers. They are only popular because they rebel against the current leadership. 


What stimulates the desire for rebellion is the power of lust. “The lustful heart of man is evil from his youth,” seeking to fill his materialistic desires even if it means hurting others, such as theft, adultery, and murder. Fear of the authorities is one factor that curbs the materialization of lust. Therefore, people who are overwhelmed by lust will despise the government and its officials. The fact that this movement only continues to gain momentum with the spread of the Internet and smartphones and the lust that they engender should therefore come as no surprise. 


Unfortunately, this satanic force has overtaken the Jewish world as well, causing Jews to sin by insulting and putting down the Rabbis, who are the leaders of the Jewish People. This is a result of people being controlled by their lusts, thus trying to find all kinds of excuses to remove any boundaries and restrictions. They claim that we live in a modern world and we cannot live like in the olden days. When a Rabbi says that something is forbidden, they insult and belittle him by making jokes about him, claiming the Rabbi is a pretender who secretly doesn’t practice what he preaches. They would do anything to justify that one does not need to listen to our leaders, and may therefore continue following evil desires. The more materialistic the person is, the more he insults the rabbis. 


We see that, Baruch Hashem, the Jewish people are never forlorn. We still have Gedolim, Tzaddikim, and Jewish Leaders who sacrifice their lives for Torah, avodah, and  gemilut  chasadim  for  the Sake of Heaven. People speaking out accusingly against Rabbis is as old as time itself. Already in the times of Moshe Rabbenu, who was the most humble man who ever lived, Korach said “Why do you raise yourself above the community?” 


Some say that the Rabbis and leaders that we have today are not as great as the Rabbis from previous generations, and we therefore have nobody to learn from or to receive spiritual influence. However, Chazal said that Hashem showed Adam each future generation with their own sages and leaders (Avodah Zarah 5b), and that Heaven provides each generation with the leaders they need for their level. In previous generations, the common people were greater, so they needed greater leaders to fit their level, and we have the leaders that we can receive from, on our level. The Generation that lived in the Desert had the greatest knowledge of Hashem in history, therefore their leader was Moshe Rabbenu. The generation of Shmuel HaNavi was also on a high level, so their leader was Shmuel HaNavi. In the generation of Yiftach, they were on a lower level, so their leader was Yiftach, who was on a lower level, relatively speaking. However, the Gemara says “Yiftach in his generation is like Shmuel in his generation” (Rosh Hashanah 25a). There is nobody to follow and respect, other than the leaders of our own generation. 


Thus, the sin of insulting teachers is one of the most damaging to Judaism. The way Judaism remains strong in every Jewish community is through their local Rabbi’s power. If they insult him, they will come to disobey him, and this leads to total abandonment of Torah, especially among children who grow up in an environment with such attitude. We see in all past generations, that whenever communities insulted the honor of their Rabbis, Judaism was destroyed resulting in heretics and outcasts who gave up Torah and mitzvot altogether. 


Really, people should know to honor their rabbis out of simple gratitude, just like they have to honor their parents who gave birth to them and raised them. The Gemara teaches “Whoever teaches another person’s child Torah is considered like they gave birth to him” (Sanhedrin 19b). The Rambam also writes “just as a person is commanded to honor his father and fear him, so too is he obligated to honor his rabbi, even more than his father. This is because his father brought him to live in This World, but his Rabbi who taught him Torah Wisdom brings him to life in the World to Come” (Rambam - Hilchos Talmud Torah 5:1). But when people give into materialistic desires, they can forget the good he did and come to insult parents and teachers. 


According to this we can understand, that on Yom Kippur we are elevated above our materialism due to our fasting, which afflicts a human body, and refraining from five sources of physical pleasure. It is therefore the perfect time to do teshuvah and confess our sins, “for the sin we sinned against you by insulting parents and teachers.”  


When we open our eyes and recognize what a grave sin it is to be ungrateful for all of the good bestowed upon us by our parents and teachers together, we accept upon ourselves to keep the dictate of “make for yourself a rabbi,” and not to insult Jewish rabbinical leaders, who are the pillars of the Jewish People. We have to follow them and honor them, and obey what they teach us.  


May it be Hashem’s Will that in this merit we should all be worthy to a gmar chasimah tovah, a good sealing for a good verdict for the coming year, and a good and blessed year, Amen. 


Please pray for Rabbi Moshe ben Raizel - רבינו משה בן ריזל to have a Refuah Shleima bekorov mamash - an immediate and complete healing. 



The Kalever Rebbe is the seventh Rebbe of the Kaalov Chasidic dynasty, begun by his ancestor who was born to his previously childless parents after receiving a blessing from the Baal Shem Tov zy”a, and later learned under the Maggid of Mezeritch zt”l. The Rebbe has been involved in outreach for more than 30 years, and writes weekly emails on understanding current issues through the Torah. You can sign up at www.kaalov.org


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