The New York Times has been conducting a crusade against the world of Torah, slandering us and our educational system. The New York Times is a Jewish company; its founders and publishers are Jewish.
What is wrong with us!
This week’s Parsha describes how the Children of Israel built and worshipped a golden calf. Only Moshe Rabbeinu’s great presence stood in the way of Jewish self-destruction.
What is wrong with us!
In Israel, there is violence: Jew against Jew.
When are we going to wake up?
I believe that I understand this phenomenon. It goes back to the womb. In the womb, an angel comes to teach the fetus the entire Torah. At birth, the angel strikes every person above the upper lip. With that blow, we forget everything the angel taught us. (Niddah 30b)
Why? Nine months of nonstop Torah learning for nothing?
After birth, we “grow up” and go out into life, where we learn many facts and many disciplines, including reading, writing, math, history and science. We also learn how to apply for a mortgage or credit card, operate a car and a computer and a cell phone.
But there is a different kind of learning!
What happens, lehavdil, when we learn Torah, words that have been handed down through all the generations from Mount Sinai? This is totally different, because we all know that we have heard these words before!
These are the words we heard in the womb when the angel taught us the Torah!
Torah sounds familiar because we already learned it inside our mother!
In this world we have to decide whether or not to listen to the words we hear inside our soul, the words which the angel taught us. If we listen to those words, we will be happy and complete, at peace with G-d and at peace with ourselves.
But what happens if we refuse to listen?
I met someone recently who spent a few days in Las Vegas. She felt the tremendous gravitational force pulling her toward the slot machines. It happened that she had set herself a limit ($100) and stuck to it. That’s how she saved herself, but it was tough.
Our entire world is a giant Las Vegas, where there are no limits and no rules.
Which voice are we going to follow, the voice of Las Vegas or the voice – lehavdil – of the angel who is calling to us with healing words of Torah?
If a person refuses to listen to the voice of the angel, he knows he is wrong because he is hearing the voice from inside his own soul. So how will he rationalize his rebellion?
Do you know what he is going to say? He is going to accuse that voice of being corrupt and evil, because that’s the only way he can justify his lifestyle. And so, you have the New York Times lashing out against the Torah because they have to rationalize their rebellion against that Voice of Torah which they hear inside themselves. They call the holy Jew “corrupt” and that is how they can justify calling themselves “righteous.”
There is a brilliant book entitled “Modern Times,” written by a non-Jewish historian named Paul Johnson. Mr. Johnson defines “modern times” with reference to the so-called “Theory of Relativity,” and explains that “relativity” is not limited to the laws of physics but has come to define every aspect of modern culture. So now morality is considered relative, and ethics are relative and crime is relative and honesty is relative, and … the list goes on.
I met President George W. Bush in 2007 when my father was honored at the White House. I gave the President a blessing and told him why I thought he was getting so much criticism from the press. I told him it was because he believed in G-d and in G-d’s immutable standards of right and wrong. Most of the world were not on his level and they were trying to pull him down. (He appreciated my blessing very much.)
My friends, the world is trying to pull us down. There is a worldwide rebellion against kedusha. Every day we say in the Shema, “do not follow after your heart and after your eyes, which lead you astray.”
But we are the nation of Hashem. “Who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on earth, whom G-d went forth to redeem unto Himself for a people!” (II Shmuel 7:23)
A day is coming, my friends, and I doubt it is far away, when the King of the Universe will make a reckoning among all the nations. It will not be good on that day to be among the rebellious. There is still time to come home to Him, but I do not know how long.
This week we read a powerful Haftarah, which says of Hashem, “And I will sanctify My Great Name that was desecrated among the nations [and] the nations shall know that I am Hashem…. [and, Hashem says to His children,] I shall take you from the nations and gather you in from all the countries and I shall bring you to your Land and I shall sprinkle pure water upon you that you shall be cleansed …. On that day … they shall say, This very land that was desolate has become a Garden of Eden and the cities that were destroyed … shall be … inhabited. And the nations shall know that I am Hashem!”
May we see it soon in our days!
Chazal: The rabbis of the Mishna and Gemora
Lehavdil: By contrast