Someone recently wrote to a Jewish website with the following question: “In light of the recent spate of high-profile antisemitic celebrity incidents … how should we respond?”
In this week’s Parsha, we meet Esav, the progenitor of the quintessential anti-Semite, the father of the Roman Empire, the destroyer of the Bais Hamikdosh, the founder of the church of Rome, about whom Rashi says, “Halacha hi … it is given fact that Esav hates Yaakov.” (Rashi on Beraishis 33:4)
Because Esav hates Yaakov, Hashem hates Esav. “‘I loved you,’ says Hashem … ‘But I hated Esav….” (Haftaras Toldos)
Don’t expect to reason with them, because hatred is ingrained in their soul. It will not work. There is no way to settle this argument, but Hashem is about to settle it forever.
The Novi tells us exactly how it will end. “The House of Yaakov will be a fire and House of Yosef a flame … and the House of Esav like straw. They will kindle … and consume them …. Then saviors will ascend Har Tzion to judge Esav’s mountain and the kingdom will be Hashem’s.” (Haftaras Vayishlach)
Our problem is that we do not want to face this. We do not want to understand. We ourselves are so deeply sunk in the culture of Esav/Edom. It is exactly like Mitzraim, where our ancestors were ensnared in that polluted culture to such an extent that they did not understand where they were. They were extricated, through the mercy of Hashem, only when the culture itself collapsed.
Even then they didn’t want to let go! The vast majority of the Children of Israel were lost in the darkness of Egypt and never left with Moshe Rabbeinu. Even Paro’s servants saw the end coming. After the eighth plague, they said to their king, “Send out [the Israelites] that they may serve … their G-d. Do you not yet know that Egypt is lost?”
But our own people had been drugged by this alien culture. When you are drowning in the slave mentality, your mind becomes polluted and you are unable to perceive the truth. They did not listen to Moshe Rabbeinu and they were lost.
This is our present danger.
That is why we have to grab onto the Torah and hold tight. That’s why we said at Har Sinai, “Na’ase v’nishma … I will do” before we said, “I will understand.” When you are drowning and someone throws the life preserver, you don’t debate. Either you grab it or you are lost.
I feel compelled to be blunt. We do not see what is happening because we are holding on to the culture of the Western World as if it will last forever. The way to save ourselves is to understand that the culture of Esav – he who opens his mouth and wants only to swallow that red, red meat – this culture is doomed.
A great Rosh Yeshiva told me, “I never ate steak in my life.”
It is permitted to eat red meat, but it’s not permitted to “live for” the red meat. This is the subtle difference between life and death. We have to escape from the fate which is even now dooming the descendants of Esav.
We are so trapped, my friends. Our Father, the Master of the World, in His mercy, is bringing these horrible anti-Semites to wake us up. Chazal tell us that, in the End of Days, Hashem will send “a king as harsh as Haman” so that we will do teshuva. (Sanhedrin 97b) These messengers of hate are here to wake us up.
The Chofetz Chaim reportedly predicted three wars before Moshiach. He cited World War I as the first war; he predicted World War II and he said that there would be a Third War, after which Moshiach ben Dovid would come. He was also reported to have said that, in the Third War – unlike the first two – those Yiddenwho stick like glue to Hashem and His Torah and who distance themselves from the surrounding culture will be saved and will see the Final Redemption.
I also saw the following: “In the final war before the coming of Moshiach, all the Jews who fear Hashem will survive. Hashem will say to them, ‘All those who are removed from the secular, worldly culture … you are Mine!’” (Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l, quoted in Redemption Unfolding)
I want to cry out from the rooftops!
“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 them a root or branch. But a sun of righteousness will shine for you who fear My Name, with healing in its rays, and you will go out and flourish like calves [fattened] in the stall.” (Malachi 3:19-20)
This is what the prophet tells us. There is so much hope!
We are standing at the door of the Great Shabbos! We have to say goodbye to the culture of Golus. As the malach told Lot, “Don’t look back!”
“Lecha Dodi … Come my beloved to greet the bride!”
Let us welcome the Great Shabbos! May we all merit to see it!