Roy Neuberger - Sep. 20, 2019

I actually enjoy going to the dentist. Maybe it’s Bina, the amazing hygienist, who tells me divrai Torah as she cleans my teeth.


Maybe it’s the dentist. He told me a story recently which I cannot get out of my head.


Several years ago, he was walking with his father, a Holocaust survivor, who said to him:


“Your mother was right.”


“What do you mean, Dad?”


“I was always worried. I worried about money. She told me not to worry.


“And I was angry. It doesn’t pay to be angry. In the end you are in the same place.”


This man had been through the Holocaust. He had everything to be angry about, but he found out that anger doesn’t help. Those words had a profound effect on his son. Recently, the son encountered a man who wanted to get into an altercation, so he said to him, “I don’t do ‘angry.’”


That was it. It stopped right there.


My friends, this is an angry world.


We read this week in the Torah Portion, the unbearable words of the Admonition (Deuteronomy 28:15ff), made even more unbearable by the fact that they have actually come about. If we were not serious about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur until now, when we read these words we are going to become very serious. Our lives hang in the balance.


The current Exile, which has torn our hearts out for two thousand years, resulted from sinas chinom, unwarranted hatred between Jew and Jew. (Yoma 9b) The Second Temple was destroyed by anger. It’s so simple and so catastrophic. And we have not learned.


“[Anger] is a terrible trait, and a person must distance himself until the extreme, and teach himself not to become angry even when called for.” (Rambam, Hilchos Deos 2:4)


My friends, it is within our power to stop it. The tzaddik whose story I told above is teaching us.

His name was Meir Yaakov ben Yitzchak. It will be a merit to his soul if we follow his example.


Is it so hard to say, “I don’t do ‘angry’”?


And Moshiach will come. Yes, that will bring Moshiach. The Second Temple was destroyed because of unwarranted hatred, and it will be rebuilt because of unwarranted love.” (Nechmad Mi Zahav, quoted in Artscroll Yoma 9b, footnote 18)


The Prophet says in this week’s Haftara, “Arise! Shine! For your light has arrived, and the glory of Hashem has shined upon you …. No longer shall violence be heard in your land, [nor] plunder and breakage in your borders, but you shall call [Hashem’s] salvation your [protective] walls, and [His] praise your gateways…. I am Hashem! In its time I will hasten it!” (Isaiah 60:1ff)


“[Hashem] will hasten it,” but we have to give Him an opening.


This is in our hands. We can hasten the Redemption if we listen to the words of the tzaddik Meir Yaakov ben Yitzchak. Hashem is waiting for us. “Y’hai shlomo rabo … May there be abundant peace from Heaven.”(Kaddish)  May we see it soon in our days!


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