My friends, I don’t think we are allowing ourselves to understand the gravity of world events. If we would contemplate what is happening, then our davening would be different and every thought would be directed toward personal, national and world survival.
Several weeks ago, we read, “Yitzchok (Isaac) entreated Hashem opposite his wife” (Genesis 25:21). These prayers concerned life itself, the very future of our nation. Obviously, they were deep and passionate. And “Hashem allowed Himself to be entreated,” because “Hashem desires the prayers of the righteous” (Yevamos 64a).
Today it is appropriate for all of us to daven (pray) with the understanding that our lives are at stake. I want to emphasize here that my davening is far from where it should be; I am not satisfied. It is frightening to me how often I make a blessing without thinking about what I am saying. This needs constant attention and awareness. If we want to survive into the age of Moshiach, we need to cry out to Hashem “bechol levovcha uvechol nasfshecha … with all our heart and soul.”
The foundations of the world are shaking.
Do you drink orange juice? We take for granted that this American staple will be available plentifully for our breakfast. Is it an accident that a microscopic organism that has traveled from China is destroying the Florida citrus industry?
Okay, that’s just one industry. There are many more.
My friends, we must open our eyes. The way of life we have come to know and expect is shaking and trembling. Years ago, I remember Rav Moshe Shapiro zt”l writing that we cannot expect a “normal” existence anymore until Moshiach comes. To bring home this point, our people are under siege around the world.
In this week’s Torah portion, Yaakov Avinu, our Father Jacob, sets out from the home of his parents, bereft of all possessions (see Rashi on Genesis 29:11). He is totally alone, under attack by dangerous enemies who want to destroy him. All has been taken from him, except his connection with his Father in Heaven. Who could be more alone than this heroic man of destiny?
In the utter darkness, he sees a ladder ascending toward Heaven.
This is our one hope. This is the story of the Children of Israel.
We are alone in a hostile world. All we have is our connection to Shomayim (Heaven). This is everything, but we have to hold on to it with all our strength. We have to daven like Yitzchok and Rivkah. We have to dream like Yaakov. We have to climb the ladder. It is all we have.