Since the Churban and the advent of our Golus two thousand years ago, we have been at the mercy of violent and ruthless enemies. Sometimes the violence is physical and sometimes it is aimed at our holy Torah way of life, attempting to destroy the very basis of our existence. There have been brief respites, but the attack is virtually unrelenting.
The history of the Jews in the United States of America has been a remarkable interlude.
Now the government of the State of New York is trying to destroy the very foundation of our existence, the holy yeshivos where our children learn the essence of life.
The Third Reich, ymak shemo, wanted above all to destroy the Shas Yidden, the holy repositories of Torah who guided and sustained our People. They wanted to cut our Tree of Life not only to the ground but below the ground, to destroy the roots so the tree would never grow again. They almost succeeded.
America has been good to us, but we must understand the gravity of the current situation. Our enemies want a world without Hashem and without Yidden, without Torah, without morality.
They want chaos. Life without Torah is death.
I mamash feel sorry for the officials of the State of New York. The depth of their guilt is beyond measure. They are attacking the Ruler of the Universe.
With what I hope is humility, I want to propose a reason why this could be happening to us.
What is the problem here? The State of New York is proposing to give non-Jews authority over our holy yeshivos. This is like making Haman the Rosh Yeshiva, G-d forbid. How could this happen and why is this happening?
My friends, please forgive me, but I want to say that we as a nation have brought aliens into our collective neshoma. The culture of the surrounding nations is being allowed to enter our souls. Their non-values, their immorality, their desires, their “entertainments,” their empty culture has become “normal” in our eyes. We are ingesting the culture of golus the way Chava and Adam ingested the poisonous fruit in Gan Eden. In the words of Reb Elchonen Wasserman zt”l, “There is no place for [the Jew] in the circuses of the other nations."
The result of ingesting this poison is that Jews -- filled with hatred against their own brethren who are living by the Torah -- actually become our most zealous enemies. This was the genesis of the current war against yeshivos, which was supported strongly (as I mentioned last week) by the vicious attack on Jewish education orchestrated by the New York Times, a newspaper owned and controlled by Jews.
What is the solution?
Rabbi Wasserman continues: “When a Haman persecutes Israel, it must be realized that he is merely a rod sent by Heaven to chastise us…. We must seek the means to prevent Heaven from wielding these rods against us.” (Reb Elchonen, Artscroll/Mesorah)
This means teshuva! But how do we do it? It is too much! It is too difficult!
My friends, it is challenging to daven. Proper kavana is always a challenge, but the tzouris in our days is too much for words. It is impossible to enunciate the scope of the tragedies that are occurring on every level, the attacks, the sickness, the pain, the anguish … the sword of Esav and the kiss of Esav … it is all too much.
In Mitzraim, it was also too much. We cried out to Hashem. “The Children of Israel groaned because of the work and they cried out. Their outcry … went up to G-d. G-d heard their moaning and G-d remembered His covenant with Avraham, with Yitzchak and Yaakov.” (Shemos 2:23) It doesn’t say that we “prayed;” it says that we “cried.” When the tzouris becomes too much for words, one can only cry, because there are no words for the depth of our anguish.
A very choshuve Jew said to me that he cannot cry when he davens; it’s not his nature. I understand that. The Gates of Tears are never closed, but not everyone can cry.
My friends, Hashem gives us a gift on Rosh Hashanah. It is called Shofar.
The Shofar cries for us! Listen to the Shofar! It is crying. If we cannot cry, then let the shofar cry for us. Let the cry of the Shofar ascend to the Kisei ha Kavod and carry all our tears with it, all the tears we do shed and all the tears that we should shed. Even if we don’t know how to cry, the Shofar will cry for us.
The Navi tells us, “Hashem, Master of Legions, will … eliminate death forever and my L-rd Hashem Elokim will erase tears from all faces. He will remove the shame of His Nation from upon the entire earth, for Hashem has spoken …. For the hand of Hashem will descend upon the mountain and Moab will be crushed in its place as straw is crushed into a pile of refuse. … And He will topple the stronghold of [their] powerful walls …. until the dust.” (Yeshiah 25:6ff)
The Hand of Hashem will bring salvation to the entire world. The reign of our enemies will end. Ksiva v’chassima tova … may we see a year of blessing, with the Ultimate Redemption. Let the Shofar cry for us!
Let the year and its curses conclude! Let the year and its blessings begin! (Achos Ketana)
Choshuve: Holy, distinguished
Churban: Destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
Gan Eden: The Garden of Eden
Kavana: Concentrating on the meaning of prayer
Kisei ha Kavod: The “Throne” of G-d
Mitzraim: Ancient Egypt
Shas Yidden: Jews who study the Holy Torah
Tzouris: Trouble, anguish
Ymak Shemo: May its name be ground to dust