A terrible car accident occurred in the Five Towns last week.
During the same week, a violently destructive tornado struck the Midwest.
Life can go upside-down in an instant.
In these days before Moshiach, we are witnessing events beyond our comprehension. Hashem is orchestrating a finale to the pageant of history. We will have to grip the Torah very tightly to save ourselves. It is a mistake to think that life is going to continue as usual.
I have said this many times, but I do believe we are not getting it, and we need to focus. I myself am no exception. I go through life as if it will continue in its usual course, but this is not the case. Please remember that Am Yisroel in Mitzraim saw the collapse of the entire civilization in which they were living. This was the prelude to Har Sinai. We cannot continue to live our present life and expect everything to stay the same when we are about to meet Hashem face to face.
When this Redemption comes, we are going to shake the way Yosef’s brothers shook when they heard him say, “Ani Yosef … I am Yosef.”
Listen please to the words of the Novi: “I [Hashem] take an oath that on that day [the day of the Final Redemption] a great earthquake shall come upon the soil of Israel and there shall quake before Me the fish of the sea, the birds of sky, the beasts of the field, all creeping things … and every human being on the face of the earth.” (Yechezkel 38:19ff)
Every animal and person in the world will be “quaking” on that day!
Can we imagine this?
No! We cannot imagine!
During the recent convention of Agudas Israel of America, there was a session called “Ani Ma’amin” at which the speaker was Reb Shlomo Steinmetz. He called himself a “poshete Yid from Montreal … a ‘plain Jew.’”
If this is a “plain Jew,” then the Jewish People are very exalted.
All eyes were crying. His son was killed in the collapse of the bleachers in Meron last L’ag b’Omer. The father spoke with dignity. His focus was “emunah in Hashem.” At the end of his presentation, the song “Ani Ma’amin” was sung with great emotion.
At the end of Shacharis services we have a tradition to recite the “Thirteen Principles of Faith” based on the writings of the Rambam. Each statement begins with the words, “Ani ma’amin b’emunah shelemah … I believe with perfect faith ….”
This world is a ladder; our entire life is a series of tests. Who exemplified this better than our Avos andImahos, the Patriarchs and Matriarchs whose lives are presented in the parshios we have been reading since the beginning of the year? We have learned from our Avos and Imahos that we can elevate our lives by understanding that Hashem gives us these tests for precisely this purpose: to elevate our lives.
During this very week fifty-six years ago -- when my wife and I were students at the University of Michigan and we had been married a few years -- my life turned upside down overnight. I thought that I was finished. I was sliding down the black hole which has no bottom.
But my life was just beginning.
I had many tests before finding the Torah and I have had many tests since finding the Torah. I am not going to tell you that I understood them when they occurred, but I am going to tell you that I have found out, in each and every case, that Hashem was holding my hand. He was “leading me on paths of righteousness ….
“Though I walk in the valley overshadowed by death, I will fear no evil, for [He] is with me ….” (Psalm 23)
May we go through life with emunah shelemah, the knowledge that whatever happens to us emanates from Above. There will come a day when Hashem will wipe away all our tears. May we see it soon in our days.
Emunah: Faith and trust in G-d
Yechezkel ha Novi: Ezekiel the Prophet