Ahmad is a street sweeper in Yerushalayim. I meet him when I leave shul after Shacharis. I did not know whether he was a Jew or an Arab, but I would say “Boker Tov” to him every day. It soon became apparent that, in his somewhat difficult job working on the street, he might want a cup of coffee. So I started bringing him coffee and a cookie every morning. This made him happy. He says that he loves me. (Yes, I know one must be wary).
There is construction on our block. The Arab workers seem to think that I am meritorious for bringing Ahmad his coffee. This week I received a package delivery. The Arab delivery man said to me, “Come out here to the street.” So I came and the Arabs on the street were all smiling and talking about Ahmad’s coffee.
Do you know what I realized? On whatever level, the Arabs feel like brothers, even if they never met until five minutes ago. They are happy someone is taking care of Ahmad.
I read a headline last week:
IRAN IS DETERMINED TO GO NUCLEAR. WHAT ARE ISRAEL’S OPTIONS?
As we near Rosh Hashana, we have to know that there is only one option: teshuva.
Iran is serious about desiring to obliterate Israel, G-d forbid. Yes, Arabs fight each other, but I see from my street there is a basic brotherhood which seems very potent.
My friends, we have to learn from this.
Reb Elchonen Wasserman zt”l said: “When a Haman sets himself up against Israel, we must know that this Haman is nothing other than a Heaven-sent rod to smite us. No good can come from combating the rod; does G-d lack any rods? … In the days before Messiah, sense will be lacking, and, like the mad dog, they will bite the stick.”
We received the Torah through achdus, unity. We were “k’ish echad b’lev echad … like one man with one heart” at Har Sinai and that is the only path to the Torah.
Without Torah there is no life.
OK, that’s obvious. Everyone knows that!
No, my friends, it is NOT obvious!
We pretend there are other options, but there is only one option.
As we count the minutes to Rosh Hashanah, we should know there is a sword at our throat. Perhaps we can save ourselves, but there is only one way. There are no military or political options, no strategy except the strategy of returning to Torah.
It will be a miracle if this world is able to save itself. The King of the Universe loves His Children and has promised to protect us, but we have to cling to Him.
There is no strategy but Torah.
Agudath Israel of America reported this week a vicious attack by the New York Times on the educational system of the Chassidishe community. The New York Times is owned and operated by Jews. That gives you a clue to the danger we face. Our enemies are inside.
I am not trying to show how good a Jew I am by comparison. Believe me, I am in need of teshuva as much as anyone, but I want to show the danger. The atomic missiles are coming from Times Square as well as Iran.
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the wicked people and all the evildoers will be like straw, and that coming day will burn them up, says Hashem, Master of Legions, so that it will not leave a root or branch.” (Malachi ha Novi)
This is the final prophesy in the Torah. The days are coming. We are talking survival.
There is nothing else: “ain od milvado … There is nothing else except Hashem.”
“Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua: from the day the Temple was destroyed, there is no day without its curse,” (Sota 48a) and Rava adds, “Each day’s curse is greater than the [previous] day’s curse.”(ibid 49a)
The world is plunging downward. Nothing can save us except returning to our Father and His Torah. “Upon what, then, can we lean? [Only] upon our Father in Heaven.” (Sota 49b)
My friends, let’s forget about everything except teshuva, returning to Hashem and His Torah and humbling ourselves before the Master of the Universe. “[Hashem], You reduce man to pulp and You say, ‘Repent, Oh sons of man!” (Tehillim 90)
Let’s wake up and smell the coffee!
May we see a Year of Redemption!
Boker Tov: “Good Morning” in Hebrew
Malachi ha Novi: The Prophet Malachi
Shacharis: Morning Prayers
Teshuva: Repentance, returning to Torah