Weekly Inspiration

Open Letter to the New York State Department of Education
October 2nd, 2022
Open Letter to the New York State Department of Education

Distinguished Public Servants,

In the last chapter of our Holy Torah, which we read next week, it says that “G-d presented His fiery Torah” to the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai. (Deuteronomy 33:2)

Through this Torah, which has been handed down from generation to generation, we –
the Children of Israel -- have brought the blessing of G-d to the entire world. As G-d said
to our Father Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you and him who curses you I will
curse. And all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” (Genesis 12:3)
WITH RESPECT, I SAY TO YOU: Our standards are the standards of the Torah which G-d presented to us at Mount Sinai. Through this Torah we have brought the knowledge of G-d to all mankind: the standards of morality, which have become the basis of all civilization, among them, not to murder, not to steal, and to seek peace, the worship of G-d and the brotherhood of mankind.

These standards were promulgated to the entire world through our Torah, which has
become known as The Bible, the Five Books of Moses. This fiery Torah is the mainstay
of all earthly existence. It is this which we study in the holy yeshivos and Torah institutions through which we perpetuate our heritage, the very heritage which sustains the entire world, the world of all G-d fearing men and women, Jews and non-Jews alike.
Fire is a blessing but fire is also dangerous.The Torah has warmed and illuminated all of mankind through its holiness. But fire is
deadly when out of control. Through our Torah study we have been taught to control
this fire so that it benefits mankind.
G-d forbid that the fire gets out of control
The Prophet Malachi spoke about the end of history – our very days – when he said,
“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 G-d, Master of
Legions, so that it will not leave them a root or branch….” (Malachi 3:19)

With respect, I would suggest to the distinguished members of the New York State Government, not to tamper with this Holy Fire. It is not yours and it is not ours, but it is the Torah of G-d. Mark Twain once wrote: 

"If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race.  It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way.  Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of.  He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.  He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it.  The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished. The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind.  All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains.  What is the secret of his immortality?” (Harper’s Magazine, 1897)

The secret, of course, is the Torah.

And with respect, many have said, "Woe to the one who comes to tamper with it."  This is also true of the holy institutions through which it is passed down to the next generation. If you give honor to the Torah and its teachers, it will then be your blessing; it will sustain you. But the Al-Mighty G-d does not look with favor on those who attempt to disturb His Words.

No nation which has attempted to disturb the ancient Jewish way of life has ever succeeded. They may have caused temporary tribulations, even death and destruction;
they may have burned our Holy Temple and thrown our people into exile to the Four
Corners of the Earth, but they have never succeeded in extinguishing the Fire of Torah
and the life of those who uphold it, and their opposition to our holy way of life has
always, without fail, caused their own civilization to self-destruct.

One need only look to the Torah itself to see what happened when Pharaoh attempted
to inflict his way of life on our ancestors, to enslave them, to kill their children and erase
the traditions of our Fathers. The result of Pharaoh’s evil plan was the total destruction
of his Civilization. Ten Plagues destroyed it and his entire army was drowned in the Red
Sea … through which the Children of Israel walked triumphantly to freedom and to
Mount Sinai.

Pharaoh was the most powerful man on earth. His civilization was considered
impregnable, but it was blasted into nonexistence by the anger of G-d when Pharaoh
attempted to intimidate and enslave our ancestors. In the end, G-d will never tolerate
the intimidation of His Children. Go down through the ages. Where is Hitler today? He
killed himself in an underground bunker as his “Thousand Year Reich” burned and
crumbled into dust.

 I wish for you a life of peace, honor and blessing which come to those who respect
the Fiery Torah given at Mount Sinai and those who teach it to our children. Those who
bless and protect the Children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be blessed and protected.
With respect, Roy S. Neuberger

Back to previous page

More Inspiration