Weekly Inspiration

Are You A Rabbi?
February 23rd, 2023

I was checking out of a kosher store and the non-Jewish clerk asked me if I am a rabbi. 

“Why do you ask?” I said. 

“Because all the rabbis who come here have an attitude. They’re so nasty. And you are so nice! You can’t be a rabbi!”

Hashem yerachaim! Is this what it has come to? 

Later that day I went to another Jewish business, where the proprietor schedules his clients by appointment. Someone had called for an immediate appointment for himself and his two sons. The proprietor said, “I’m so sorry, but that time is already booked.”

“What do you mean? I’ve been your customer for years! I need that time!”

“I’m sorry, but, as I said, other customers have already booked that time.”

The caller was furious and hung up. 

Hashem yerachaim! Is this what we have come to?

My parents were not raised in a Jewish environment and did not know Torah, but they knew how to behave. They would sooner have jumped off a bridge than push someone else out of the way. 

“Derech eretz kadma l’Torah… proper behavior is a prerequisite to Torah.”

In Israel, there are violent protests over proposed legislation, with huge demonstrations and incitement to harm government officials. 

Hashem yerachaim! Is this what we have come to?

Why did Haman come to threaten Am Yisroel? Why do we have such vicious enemies? Why did Hitler arise? Why do they hate us? 

My dear friends, is it really such a mystery? 

With all humility, I want to say that Am Yisroel  has to be worthy of redemption. 

Our rabbis tell us that, in the days before Moshiach, if we don’t do teshuva, Hashem will “appoint a king over [us] whose decrees will be as harsh as [those of] Haman [as a result of which] the Jewish People will repent.” (Sanhedrin 97b) 

All over the world we are in deep trouble. Yishmoel is attacking Israel; Edom is attacking Israel; and our own people are attacking each other.

I have a friend, a respected father of fine children. He was recently in a store when someone poured boiling coffee over his head. Not only was he burned, but he slipped on the coffee and was severely injured. 

I have another friend in Israel; you read about him in the news, when his two sons were intentionally killed by an Arab driver. He himself is in critical condition.

“Shomer Yisroel … Guardian of Israel, protect the remnant of Israel. Let Israel not be destroyed ….” (Tachanun) When we say that, do we actually contemplate that Israel – G-d forbid! – might be destroyed? I don’t think that the Anshei Knesses Gedola were exaggerating when they wrote this tefillah.

My friends, we have to merit redemption. We have to think about our brothers and sisters, not just ourselves. Mordechai and Esther lived for their people. They took their own lives in their hands and risked all for the future of Am Yisroel. When you love another Yid you are really loving yourself. 

As I write, a new earthquake has struck Turkey, as if to bring home to us that this entire planet is shaking and trembling. Right now the world is crumbling.

My friends, I am going to offer three simple suggestions:

1)    Let’s admit that the world is crumbling. This will lead to yiras Shomayim.

2)    Yiras Shomayim will lead to respect and kindness, “derech eretz.”

3)    Derech Eretz kadma l’Torah … derech eretz will lead to a world filled with Torah. 

Hashem will respond. He will send a redeemer as He did in Mitzraim. This redeemer, Moshiach ben Dovid, will show us the way to save ourselves. This is really going to happen. 

In Shushan ha Bira, Mordechai and Esther saved the world. Now it is our turn. 


Anshei Knesses Hagdola: the rabbis who composed the prayer service. 
Hashem yerachaim: May Hashem have mercy on us
Mitzraim: Ancient Egypt 
Shushan ha Bira: The city where the Purim story took place
Tefilla: Prayer
Yiras Shomayim: Fear of Heaven


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