12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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HomeIsrael and SocietyCurrent Affairs2010: Redemption or Suicide?
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2010: Redemption or Suicide?    

2010: Redemption or Suicide?

The world could blow any minute. The situation here in Israel is as dangerous as playing with matches while sitting on a stack of dynamite sticks.


I’d rather be writing about music, child education, or some other pleasant subject. But there’s no time. Who knows if this op-ed will even make it to press? Will anybody still be around to publish it?

Like my beloved rabbi and spiritual guide Rav Shalom Arush, may Hashem bless him always, I disdain doomsday prophecies, Messianic speculation, and scare tactics. But then again, if our local bomb sirens would play “Moonlight Sonata” instead of screeching their unearthly wail, nobody would run to the bomb shelters…
Moonlight Sonata? Who’d get out of the way?
At the time of this writing, the temperatures outside have skyrocketed and forest fires are raging out of control all over Israel. Yet, rumors are spreading all over our tiny homeland faster than the wildfires. Some say that the Israeli Air Force has landed in Saudi Arabia. Others say that Israel's strike force is poised for attack in Azerbaijan, on Iran's northwestern border. More flotillas could set out for Gaza at any time and could trigger an explosive confrontation in the Mediterranean. Iran is now assembling its first nuclear warheads. Hizbulla has a very itchy finger on its missile-launch ignition button, while thousands of missiles are aimed at Tel Aviv this very moment.
The world could blow any minute. The situation here in Israel is as dangerous as playing with matches while sitting on a stack of dynamite sticks. You’d think that we should be declaring national teshuva and that the government should be distributing copies of The Garden of Emuna together with the gas masks. You’d think that the religious public would be organizing prayer vigils all night long. But, no – there are no prayer vigils and no mass emuna breakthrough.
Ahab, the seventh king of ancient Israel and one of our history’s most infamous idolatrous villains, won all his wars. How on earth did he do that? The Midrash tells us that his generation refrained from slander and internal strife. There were unified. Hashem, like any loving parents, forgives errant children as long as the children love one another.
You’d think we’d be rallying together at such a time. The whole world is against us, our hostile neighbors are doing their war dances, and even our so-called friends are betraying us. OK, so our people lack spiritual awareness. Wouldn’t you think that the observant public would at least pull together?
Sorry, folks.
The Emmanuel fiasco luckily ended  with the good will and Torah-logic of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and the Slonimer Rebbe, may Hashem bless them and grant them long and healthy years. But, we had to lick the painful wounds that were inflicted on us by over-zealous flag-bearers on both sides of the religious fence. We can't afford any further schism in Jewish unity that will take decades to repair. In the future, people should consider the end result before they go to war. The old adage tells about a tombstone of the man who drove a little VW beetle that was smashed by a Mack truck that went through as red light; engraved on the tombstone was, “But I had the right of way.” The end result is what counts. What good is a victory for either side if their battle has compromised Divine compassion for our people and exposed us to more threats from the outside?
Now that the residents of Emmanuel are out of jail and the crisis on the unity front has past (let's hope forever), we have much more urgent work to do here in Israel, like invoking Divine compassion with more holiness. Bilaam the evil soothsayer couldn’t touch a hair of a Jewish head with his curses and witchcraft, but he almost succeeded in destroying the Jewish people by tempting them with the wanton women of Midian. Hashem hates debauchery. The land of Israel is like a delicate princess with a very delicate digestive system; she regurgitates debauchery and those who engage in it. We’d think that we could counter Achmedinejad’s new nukes by making a greater effort to preserving our personal and national holiness. But what do we do?
The government sanctions another Gay Parade in the holy city of Jerusalem for July 29th. The question is if we’ll make it to July 29th or not…
Were it not for emuna, I’d be at my wits end. Rather than doing our best to hasten the Geula, the full and complete redemption of our people, we seem to be committing national suicide.
We have to begin caring about one another; can we go on vacation while Jonathan Pollard and Gilead Shalit still decay in captivity and while an ax from Washington is still hanging over the necks of hundreds of thousands of residents of Judea and Samaria. The threats all around us are not from our enemies and our well-meaning allies – they’re from Hashem. Hashem is doing everything for the best because he wants us to wake up from our narrow interests and our physical appetites and to begin living lives of emuna. One can't retain sovereignty in the Land of Israel without emuna and kedusha - faith and holiness. Hashem wants us to be light unto the nations and not laughing-stock of the nations; for that, we have to spread emuna – day and night – the world over.
Beloved brothers and sisters, let’s shake off the suicide mode and reboot into the redemption mode. Our very survival depends on our national restructure of priorities. It’s time for emuna.

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