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RAISING OUR EYES

Roy Neuberger - Nov. 14, 2014


"[Isaac] raised his eyes, and behold: camels were coming... Rebecca raised her eyes and saw Isaac ...." (Genesis 24:63-4)

King David said, "I raise my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help is from Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth..." (Psalm 121)


My friends, we must avoid panic. The miraglim (Biblical spies; see the Torah Portion Shelach L'cha, Numbers 13:1ff) panicked and fell into deep trouble. "We saw the ... sons of the giant .... We were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and so we were in their eyes...." (Numbers 13:33)When we fail to "raise [our] eyes to the mountains," we lose our trust in G-d; we become vulnerable, G-d forbid, and catastrophe results. The Holy Temple was destroyed because we forgot who we are and forfeited our eternal protection!

"You should realize with a trembling heart that your missteps cause a devastation [in the higher worlds] far greater than the destruction [of the Holy Temple]!" (Nefesh Hachaim, Shaar Aleph, Perek 4)

Following a recent terrorist attack, a national organization sent out an email which stated, "the global community needs to institute harsh measures to further marginalize Hamas and its cold-blooded killers... We ... hold ... Mahmoud Abbas accountable for today's attack..."

Let's get hold of ourselves. We are the Nation of Israel; we are not from the surrounding cultures. Did we not read recently about the birth of Ishmael, the "pe're adam," (progenitor of the Arab nations) whose basic nature is to try to destroy the entire world, "a wild ass of a man [whose] hand [is] against everyone and everyone's hand is against him..." (Genesis 16:12)


"We should not be fooled into thinking that (Ishmael's animal nature) is a superficial trait.... Ishmael is not a man with a wild character; he is a wild character who takes the form of a man. His essence is more 'pe're' (wild ass) than 'adam (man).'" (Redemption Unfolding, quoting Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin)

The Children of Ishmael are a problem only because we allow them to be a problem. Hashem guards against all our enemies if we act in such a way as to merit His protection. Every day, we say "Beware, lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and bow to them. Then the wrath of Hashem will blaze against you ... and you will be swiftly banished from the goodly land...." (Deuteronmy 11:16ff)

Why do we blame our enemies? Hashem will see that they receive full punishment for every hair they have harmed, but the cause lies in our own behavior. We say on Yom Kippur "al chait (I have sinned)." Our lifestyle is based on taking responsibility for our actions and not blaming others. The surrounding culture - the so-called "global community" which hates us just as much as the Children of Ishmael, and upon whom we must stop relying to protect our interests - always blames others for their problems. We must run from this! To the extent that we blame others, to that exact extent we are failing to fix the cause of our problems!

Recently I received an email from a Jewish source with photographs of brutal acts committed by the Children of Ishmael. The writer warned: "Careful: The following photos will shock you...The photos are beyond 'horrible,' but the world needs to know what is coming unless real action is taken." The world is petrified of the Children of Ishmael.

Let's remember the miraglim. When we fear the alleged strength of our enemies, then we become "grasshoppers" in our own eyes!

Yes, the world needs to know "what is coming."

I will tell you what is coming: the Geulah Shelemah (the Final Redemption)!

I recently visited the Grave of Samuel, the Prophet who merited to anoint King David.

My friend, a distinguished Rosh Kollel, had been concerned about a shidduch for his daughter. Two people, one a talmid chacham in Bnai Brak, suggested that he pray at the Grave of Samuel the Prophet. He followed their advice. Soon after, his daughter started going out with a fine young man from a distinguished family. His name is Shmuel (Samuel)! At the wedding, the bride's father's face was beaming with a light which seemed to emanate directly from the Grave of Samuel the Prophet.

Standing at the grave and looking south, you see the glory of Jerusalem spread out before you. Looking north, on the contrary, you see Ramalla covering the hillsides of the Holy Land of Israel like a blanket of impurity. These two worlds have clashed for thousands of years. "Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian (the mother of Ishmael) ... mocking, so she said to Avraham, 'Drive out this slavewoman with her son." (Genesis 21:9-10)

The time has come for us to "drive out" the traits of Ishmael from our souls.

Ishmael is violent; we have to be completely different. We have to be so good to each other. Have you ever bumped into someone in shul? Do you realize that you may have disturbed his concentration and ruined his direct communication with the Master of the Universe! We have to think what we are doing!

"What is happening now with the offspring of Ishmael is preordained. In order for us to prevail over Ishmael, we must raise our voices in prayer. [Ishmael's] name does not hint that if we are strong and battle him with chivalry, we will defeat him. His name does not hint that if we engage him in diplomacy, we will outwit him. His name proclaims that the only way to defeat him is through prayer." (Rabbi Chaim Vital as quoted by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz)

We have to strengthen our spiritual nature so it predominates over the animal! "I raise my eyes to the mountains... My help is from Hashem, Masker of Heaven and earth. He ... will protect you from every evil! (Psalm 121) May we soon see the day when the successor to Samuel the Prophet anoints Moshiach the son of David!

 

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