Newsletter

A HUMBLE MAN RIDING UPON A DONKEY

Roy Neuberger - Oct. 12, 2018


In this week’s Torah Portion, life on this planet is destroyed. I believe the Torah is showing us that everything in the material world is vulnerable. Since mankind has left the Garden of Eden, life has been a cycle of destruction and rebirth. We depend on Hashem’s promise of techias Hamaisim (Resurrection of the Dead). Just as “Noah” is the second Torah Portion, so “Techias Hamaisim” is the second blessing in Shemoneh Esreh: “And You [Hashem] are faithful to revive the dead!”

 

Right now, the news is alarming. Sounds of war reverberate. Haters of Israel raise their voices. The United States, the “bastion of democracy,” echoes with anger and increasing anti-Semitism. In Northern Syria, a confrontation is unfolding which could involve America and Russia in direct conflict.

 

It behooves us to study this Torah Portion as a guide to survival in a time of world catastrophe. It is clear that Hashem values His beautiful world and those who inhabit it. Based on that premise, it seems that we should try to live in such a way that we give Hashem a reason to save us.

 

Every Shabbos we say, “Moshe rejoiced in the gift of his portion, that You called him an ‘eved ne’eman’… a faithful servant.” Hashem watches over those who desire to serve Him. “Then those who fear Hashem spoke to one another and Hashem listened and heard and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear Hashem and those who give thought to His Name.” (Malachi 3:16)

 

I once had occasion, when my father was honored in 2007, to visit the White House. Hashem answered my prayers and I was able to speak personally to President George W. Bush. I discussed the historical role of Israel, how the Patriarchs’ children are returning to the Holy Land in accordance with Biblical prophecy and how he could actually ally himself with Hashem’s plan. I also praised him personally (he was under fire at the time) for his belief in G-d and his adherence to Biblical ideals of morality. Shortly after our conversation, one of his aides came to thank me, saying “The President needs to know he has friends.” It is considered praiseworthy in our world to show honor even to a “king” of flesh and blood.

 

In Israel recently, I had a taxi driver with a strange hair style. I thought, what kind of creature is this? Just before our destination, he stopped short and started yelling. Standing alone in the middle of the street was a small child, dressed only in a diaper. I jumped out of one side of the taxi and he jumped out the other. He started running up and down the street yelling for people to come out of their houses while I carried the child to the sidewalk. Finally, a lady appeared who knew where this baby lived. She took him home. The taxi driver turned out to be a compassionate Jew! “Mi k’amcha Yisroel, goy echad b’aretz … Who is like Your people, like Israel, a unique nation on earth!” (II Samuel 7:23)

 

There are surprising examples of kedusha (sanctity) in this world, like gold buried beneath the earth, but one must dig for it. During the days leading up to Yom Kippur we lay the foundation for a new year by breaking open our souls before our Creator. This is the “digging.”

 

Dovid Hamelech says of Hashem, “You reduce man to pulp and …say, ‘Repent, O sons of man….’” (Psalm 90) We awaken early to say Selichos. We try to tell the truth about ourselves: The lurking enemy (the Evil Inclination) is concealed within (man) from the time of his birth…No strength nor might does the body have to stand against it and hold its own…. Consider, L-rd, our aching spirit; look at (our) broken hearts … Strong, Mighty One, we have not forgotten Your name. Please do not forget us for all eternity!” (Selicha 98)

 

We are exceedingly vulnerable to the Evil Inclination, but, if we are honest with ourselves, we have a chance for survival. There is hope for one who “speaks truth within his heart.” On such a basis, a new world can be built.

 

From many places in Yerushalayim, one can see Kever Shmuel Hanovi (the Burial Place of Samuel the Prophet), high on a hill behind Ramot. It looks out over the Holy City, watching and guarding us. Hashem said to the Prophet, “Fill your horn with oil and go forth; I shall send you to Yishai Bais Halachmi (Yishai, the inhabitant of Bais Lechem)….

 

“Yishai presented his seven sons before Shmuel, but Shmuel said to Yishai, ‘Hashem has not chosen these.’

 

“Then Shmuel said: ‘Are these all the boys?’

 

“(Yishai) sent and brought (Dovid). He was ruddy with fair eyes and a pleasing appearance. Hashem then said, ‘Arise and anoint him, for this is he!’ Shmuel took the horn and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the spirit of Hashem passed over Dovid from that day on.” (I Samuel 16:1ff) The gold is buried deep within the earth. One must dig for it.

 

We may think we know how Moshiach will come, but it is hidden from us. “A heavenly voice rang out and proclaimed, ‘It is My secret! It is My secret!” (Sanhedrin 94a), on which Rashi comments, “The time of Moshiach is known only to [Hashem].”

 

On misty days, especially at dusk, if you look at Kever Shmuel Hanovi, it appears like a man mounted upon a donkey. Through the mists of Golus, a figure is approaching. “For behold, your king will come to you, righteous and victorious is he, a humble man riding upon a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)

 

We will survive every Flood, every challenge, every blow, every enemy. Soon, suddenly, in Hashem’s abundant mercies, the surging waters will recede and the redeemer will come.

 

PICTURE CAPTION

Kever Shmuel Hanovi through the mist.

Do you see the man riding upon the donkey?


 

Recent Posts


Tags

Shavuos Matriarchs Torah portion prophet Holocaust murder Moshaich Jewish festival Temple terrorists king Parsha commandment Hashem synagogue David pain mitzvos United Nations Sodom Day of Judgement Maimonides mikveh, Sabbath Macabees 2020 Vision messiah peace Mount Sinai kesuba sin Hasmoneans Haman Sephardi Benjamin gossip Malbim Tisha b'Av repentance fear Esther Ishmeal mikveh Temple Mount Second Temple Abrahem Sukkah Laban Protective edge repent Shechina leprosy Father in Heaven Moshe Jewish bris milah Abraham Golan Holiness Golden Calf spirituality Chafetz Chaim India Garden of Eden heavenly gates three weeks redeemer violence rosh chodesh Amalek Leah chessed miracle Chofetz Chaim blessing world to come G-d Baku Purim Hagar Gog Bais Hamikdosh Pinchas darkness God Jewish People alone patriarchs'matriarchs rain miracles bird liberation Sefiras haOmer mitzva earthquake slavery Tallis minyan Joseph Adam holy survival King of the Universe pray Torah spies Tu b'Shvat Sabbath Raiders of the Lost Ark Mount Hermon Midrash Heavenly Mercy menorah Blame Miriam culture terrorist High Priest Sages Ruth prophets Sarah Mordechai terror Pharaoh America prophet Samuel water Rashi Moab kosher patriarchs Ishmael biblical Banias plague Psalm self-worship Golus evil inclination Judaism salvation missiles Jerusalem Mount Zion Galil night Repentence Solomon prayer Miraglim tablets End of Days Creator Rachel Final redemption purity forefathers Magog cholent Master of the Universe Faith Isaac Children of Israel sun tears Jews angels keys Song of Songs Prophecy Lot resurrection King Solomon spiritual Noah prayer book paradise Greeks sanctity Geula deluge exile Holy land Rebbe Samuel the Prophet tabernacle High Holy Days trees judgement Maccabeans Jewish holidays rabbi Matisyahu eternity Edom Hebrew Chanukah idol soul Torah scholars Shushan automobiles kiddush holiday Shabbos Western World Rosh Hashanah Rome Balak Egypt terrorism Sukkos Israel yarmulke Ammon Ishamael Passover Avraham Tzuk etan eternal Nation of Israel compassion Europe Chanukkah Genesis Esau Bilaam heavenly throne meraglim Beit Hamikdash Yerushalayim Jew stars fault Canaan yeshiva danger locusts Yaakov Rebecca Babylonia Red Sea Elul Aharon idolatry enemies light Moses Rabbi Akiva priests moon Psalms Divine presence Ashkenazi esrog Achashveirosh war song Western Wall Exodus Boaz ancestors seder Eve dreams Tu b'Av shield of Abraham media Zion Samuel Zechariah evil Zion, Angel matzos Tefillin evolution Yom Kippur Rabbis Angel of Death Babylon hubris heaven fragrance persecution secret Talmud Jeremiah Passover Seder Red Heifer cries tremors chaos shmittah Solar eclipse Lunar eclipse sacrifices New Moon logic kinneret flood creation bible Teshuva Moshiach Ezekiel Ten Commandments Dead Sea ethics Day of Atonement Land of Israel Sea of Galilee Earth Rosh Hashana Holy Temple King David slaves Jacob redemption siddur prayers angel shofar Holy Ark stones fires barley incense Terror Attack in Jerusalem Judah materialism Isaiah Zohar Eglon Judgement Day Amram brotherhood Chol haMoed lights death

Archive