“Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.” (Genesis 32:25)
Who was more alone than our father Jacob? Jacob is alone and his children are alone. “Behold! It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations.” (Numbers 23:9) That is our unique position in the world and also our strength.
When one is alone, one has only G-d.
My friends, how are we expected to react in the wake of recent events? It is crucial that we react properly, because we are in extreme danger, wherever we are.
We should not think that we are safer outside Israel. I saw a recent article in the magazine American Rifleman, entitled "Is Chaos at our Door?" It detailed very serious threats against the United States, beginning with the electromagnetic pulse bomb (which incidentally is the initial cause of the chaos described in my book, 2020 Vision). The same threat that exists in Israel exists in every corner of the world, and the Children of Israel are Target Number One.
The entire world is in imminent danger, and we must know how to deal with it.
Someone told me that the lesson of the recent attacks in Israel is that every Jew should carry a gun and travel in groups. My friends, let's get real. I am not dismissing appropriate self-defense, but if we think that we can defend ourselves against hundreds of millions of vicious enemies by outfighting them, then we are living in fantasy. The answer is not through political or military action. Going up on the Temple Mount will certainly not bring Moshiach! That is the kind of facile solution suggested by people who refuse to understand what is holding back the Redemption!
We are not allowed on the Temple Mount for one reason only: because we nullified our permission to be there! We have to fix the cause, not the result! I will tell you what we need on the Temple Mount: we need the Shechina, the Presence of G-d. When the Shechina returns, then we will return! "May our eyes behold Your return to Zion. Baruch Ata Hashem... Blessed are You, G-d... Who restores His Presence to Zion."
My friends, we need to learn how to daven, to pray! We need to know how to cry out to G-d so that our heart cracks and tears pour out of our eyes! Do you think I'm exaggerating? Not one bit! If we understand our danger, then we will learn very quickly how to pray!
"Min hamaitzar ... from the depths I called You, G-d. And it is written (Psalm 102), 'Prayer is for the poor one, when he wraps himself in his pain.'" (Berachos 10b)
My friends, it's easy to yell out slogans and provoke both friends and enemies with our bravado. What's difficult is to repent, searching our thoughts and actions and coming back to our Father in Heaven with tears. Here is how one of the recent Har Nof martyrs was described at his funeral: "Who is a person worthy of the World to Come? One who is modest and humble, who enters bowing and leaves bowing, learns constantly and doesn't take credit for himself." (Sanhedrin 88b)
We must learn from him. Why did the Holy Ark contain the broken Tablets? (See Bava Basra 14b and Berachos 8b) I think part of the answer is that we cannot get back the Ark and the Holy Temple until we ourselves are broken like those Tablets!
We must keep in mind that our Prophets and Rabbis foresaw all that is happening today. A great Rabbi recently wrote that "the Torah's opening words forecast all of world history...the word 'tehom' (depths) (Genesis 1:2) refers to the exile in which we find ourselves, the exile of Edom which is as deep as the greatest unfathomable depths..." We should not imagine for one second that the events of today are G-d forbid "outside" the purview of the Torah or that the final redemption is somehow "derailed" by events which G-d "did not foresee."
Only our limited sight prevents us from seeing that we are in the countdown directly leading to the final redemption. This same Great Rabbi stated, "This is the final stage of exile and it involves the prevention of our being able to live ... in the Land of Israel. "The preeminence of Ishmael was foretold from the very beginning and it is implicit in his name: "Because G-d will in the future hear the cries of the Children of Israel on account of what Ishmael will do in the land in the end of days, he is called 'Ishmael,' which means 'G-d will listen' ... to the Jewish people crying out in prayer!" (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer)
I want to ask a few questions:
Do we cry real tears when we daven? Even on the Sabbath we can cry because of dvaikus (oneness) with the Master of the Universe. But we have to know that we are davening "on our blood," meaning for our very lives. (Berachos 10b)
Do we daven like "the poor one, when he wraps himself" in his pain?
Do we daven like King David, who calls himself a "worm and not a man," (Psalm 22:6) and who says "ani tefilosi ... I am my prayer?" (Psalm 69:14)When I say "Ana Hashem hoshia na ... Please G-d, save me!" do we realize that we are literally screaming out for our lives and the life of Israel, in fact the entire world?
Have I hurt someone today with words or actions? Did I push anyone out of my way today?
Do I joke as soon as davening is over, or do I cry that I am leaving the Shechina?
My friends, the world is racing toward Moshiach. Are we paying attention?
"Avinu Malkeinu ... Our Father and King, be gracious with us and answer us, though we have no worthy deeds; treat us with charity and kindness and save us!"