Roy Neuberger - Dec. 21, 2018

Exile begins.


Our Father Jacob is gone! Joseph is gone! Soon all the Sons of Jacob will be no more and the Children of Israel will plunge downward into Egyptian bondage … hurtling toward “mem-tes shaare tumah,” the Forty-Ninth level of impurity and assimilation into the darkness of Egypt.


The lights of Chanukah are gone. Winter is upon us, the season of darkness.


Recently, I was driving in our local suburban community. I was on a main street, about to turn left onto a smaller street. A car was approaching the intersection from my left. I slowed down to make the turn. There was a stop sign for the oncoming car, but the driver went through the stop sign. I was now straight in front of him, maybe six feet away, and he was headed directly at me. He was not moving fast, but he was moving. I honked, thinking he had not seen me. But he had seen me. He was looking straight at me – I could see his face clearly – and he kept coming, moving forward. I was right in front of him. He just kept coming, making it increasingly difficult for me to turn, because he was now probably two to three feet away from me. But he didn’t stop; he just kept going forward until our cars almost touched each other.


What I am describing to you was intentional, malicious, provocative, confrontational, aggressive and purely gratuitous. There was no reason for him to keep going, but he did. I am sorry to say this, but I believe the world is filled with such dangerous people.


Every year at this time I receive the yearbook from the famous college (founded 755 years ago) that I attended in England decades ago, before we became observant. Every year I see the frightening “yeridas ha doros… descent of the generations” there. This year, the student columns clearly describe the plummeting morality and social chaos which reminds one of conditions before the Great Flood in the days of Noah. The Torah describes those conditions in this way: “G-d saw the earth and, behold, it was corrupted, for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth.” (Beraishis 6:12)


Fifty-three years ago, my wife and I were living in Ann Arbor, Michigan as college students. My personal life was descending rapidly toward desperation. I had tried every path I could think of and nothing worked. In this very week, fifty-three years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and saw the abyss before me. There was nowhere to go except down. In desperation, I realized I had to do something I had been fighting all my life. But it was either that or death, so I opened a tiny window in my neshoma and called out, “G-d, if You exist, save me!”


Hashem saved me.


That was January 10, 1966, the 18 Day of the Jewish Month of Teves, whose anniversary is this week. “In the evening one lies down weeping, but with dawn … a cry of joy!” (Tehillim 30)


When we reach bottom, that is when we can bounce upward. From Egypt, the Children of Israel ascended to Mount Sinai, and soon, with G-d’s help, we will all welcome Moshiach ben Dovid!


Recent Posts


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