My friends, I am writing these words on 10 Teves, a day of deep mourning. This is the day that the City of Yerushalayim was surrounded.
It is still surrounded! We have not recovered from this catastrophe!
This is the week that the Torah buries its head in sackcloth and we enter the Tumah of Mitzraim. “A new king arose over Mitzraim, who did not know Yosef.” We reach the 49th Level of Tumah and we are lost! Who will save us?
This is also the week that the bottom dropped out of my life fifty-seven years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when I was plummeting down the endless hole and Hashem reached out and saved me. I will try to describe it:
“Here I am, confounded and confused by all the terrors of this world: fear of people, disease, death, chaos, war, crime, catastrophe, sickness, insanity, pain, anguish. I think back to my earliest childhood, when I was floating in outer space. One day, Hashem reached out and saved me. He has not let go. He reached out to me in the blackness, and He has been with me ever since, loading blessing upon blessing upon me and my family. Because of my lowliness, I still do not fully appreciate His Presence. I am still afraid. But in the darkness, I remember when I was completely alone. I know He has saved me every second of my existence, and this is my only hope. I go over in my mind His lifesaving Presence and that gives me hope, an approach to sanity and redemption. I know that He will continue to hold my hand. This is all that can save us. He has been with us through eternity. His embrace is the only reason that we have not descended into the bottomless pit. And now, all we can do is hold on to Him with all our strength.”
It is all coming together.
I think that we have perhaps reached bottom.
Maybe the bottom is good, because there is no way to go but up. But the bottom is terrifying, because we don’t really know if there is a bottom! There is no guarantee we will go up.
My friends, look at our world and weep!
We have elected a “frum” government in Israel. This was going to be the Geula, right? And now we have plunged to the bottom! Maybe the outright enemies of Torah were better. At least we knew where they stood.
Ha Rav Shlomo Amar, Rav of Yerushalayim, had the courage last week to quote the Ohr Hachaim ha Kadosh, who said that, before the Geulah Shelemah, Am Yisroel is destined to reach the 50th Gate of Tumah!
We are at the Fiftieth Gate, “Sha’ar Nun.”
Cry for Our Nation! Those who proclaim to love and keep the Torah are trampling it under their feet. Night is crashing down upon us.
My friends, I have a thought.
Perhaps the problem in Mitzraim was that we were “only” on the Forty-Ninth Madreiga of Tumah. We were not completely lost. We had a glimmer of hope. Maybe that is why Mitzraim was only the first and not the last Golus! Maybe this is what the Ohr Hachaim is telling us: that we need to lose all hope to be saved.
What was the “glimmer” we had in Mitzraim? Moshe Rabbeinu! But today we are totally lost! There is no redeemer. The world has failed us. The empty culture of the Other Nations has failed us and the world of our own “politics” has failed us. All the idols have been smashed. There is nothing left, nothing but Torah.
In the words of our Holy King, Dovid ha Melech, “You reduce man to pulp and You say, ‘Repent, Oh sons of man.” (Tehillim 90)
All we have left are the words of the Prophet: “Let one sit in solitude and be submissive …. Let him put his mouth to the dust; there may yet be hope.” (Eichah 3:28-29)