Newsletter

IT IS TIME

Roy Neuberger - Apr. 20, 2018


I write these words after Shabbos, as the Yom Tov of Pesach is leaving us.

 

During Pesach, we experience the intense joy of freedom. In order to experience this, one needs not only to be freed from slavery, but first, before liberation can take place, one has to become aware that he is a slave. The greatest obstacle to freedom is lack of awareness that we are slaves.

 

This is not an abstract problem.

 

It is well known that this exact challenge occurred in Biblical Egypt. Rashi states, based on a sentence in the Book of Exodus (13:18) that only one-fifth of the Children of Israel left Egypt with Moses. That is a shocking figure, and the implications are enormous, because the events which occurred in Biblical Egypt apply directly to our era. The Chofetz Chaim is reported to have said that we can learn about what will happen at the Final Redemption from the events at the end of our Slavery in Egypt. Those who never left Egypt with Moses apparently remained there because they chose did not want to understand that the culture of Egypt was totally antagonistic to the recognition of the Existence of Hashem, the King of Kings.

 

+          +          +

 

During the recent Yom Tov, Am Yisroel experienced a catastrophe of epic proportions, in which a young couple, newly engaged, were struck down in an automobile accident. I am going to spare the details; they can be learned through the media. This chosson and kallah were killed by people who did not know them, who had no motive and no excuse. There was only insanity.

 

One must say that the facts are not totally inconsistent with other aspects of the culture in which we live. It is a culture of random violence, a society in which human beings are being replaced by robots and in which human beings are increasingly acting like robots themselves, going through the motions of life without thought or emotion, without brains and without hearts.

 

Tragically, this culture prevails throughout the entire world.

 

How – if possible – can we deal with this? I am going to try to discuss the situation, because the horror of this event is burning a hole in our hearts, and I think we need to try to understand what we can. Our Rabbis have told us that it will be rough in the days before Moshiach ben Dovid. “Rabbi Yochanan said: If you see a generation upon which numerous troubles come like a river, expect [Moshiach].” (Sanhedrin 98a) This is a deep river.

 

We have been submerged in Exile for almost two thousand years. We have reached a point at which we believe that it is normal for us to be here. That is not good. Please recall what I said earlier: one has to know one is a slave before one can even think about freedom. I am frightened to think that I have no idea to what extent my attitudes are affected by what is around me. I am not just referring to overt excesses of materialism, but I am referring to subtle elements of personality, desires and goals which are molded by the surrounding culture.

 

Take, for example (and this hits close to home), the subject of driverless cars. Why does the surrounding culture assume that a machine can function in a manner superior to a human being?

 

Human beings – all of them – are supposed to conduct their lives according to the Holy Torah. Whether we are bound by the seven mitzvos pertaining to non-Jews or to the six hundred and thirteen pertaining to us, we are bound by the Torah. If people don’t know that Hashem runs the world, then they become robots and the entire world is controlled by mindless entities.

 

We are getting close to the point at which the robots are going to take over.

 

My wife told me that statement sounds extreme, but I do not believe this is an exaggeration. Between actual robots and people who are tuned out on electronics, we are increasingly living in an environment populated by bodies that are separated from spiritual awareness. Every morning we say, “Elokai neshoma shenasata bi … My G-d, the soul that You placed within me is pure…” But there are millions of people walking around this planet who have put their souls to sleep.

 

I believe the time has come to understand that the surrounding society is sick beyond redemption. We cannot change it and it is not our job to change it. In fact, if we can separate ourselves from it, it will not affect us. “Rabos machashavos … many designs are in man’s heart, but the counsel of Hashem, only it will prevail.” (Mishlei/Proverbs 19:21) But we have to separate ourselves, just as our ancestors had to separate themselves from Biblical Egypt.

 

The situation has become dangerous. Moses did not come to tell the Children of Israel how they could fix things in Egypt in order to live there. Moses was sent by the G-d to take our ancestors out of Egypt. A nation enmeshed in the culture of Egypt cannot ascend to Mount Sinai.

 

It is time for the Final Redemption, my friends. It is time to understand that an era has ended and a new one is beginning. It is time to pull ourselves out of this quicksand and enter the world which Hashem is preparing for us. “Arise and depart from amid the upheaval. Too long have you dwelled in the valley of weeping.” (Lecha Dodi)

 

It is enough. “Arise, let us ascend to Tzion, to Hashem our G-d. For thus said Hashem: Sing, oh Yaakov, with gladness, exult on the peak of the nations; announce, laud [G-d] and say: ‘Oh Hashem, save Your people, the remnant of Israel.’” (Jeremiah 31:5-6)


 

Recent Posts


Tags

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

Archive