In our rapidly changing society, events occur with such speed that before we absorb one, another is already upon us. Additionally, our attention span has become nil. We no longer know how to listen.... even while someone is talking to us, we are busy texting someone else or scrolling through our Blackberrys. So let us pause for a moment and review recent events.
During the last months, we have lost many great Torah sages, but I wonder if we truly feel the terrible void that has been left. And now, the beloved Rebbetzin Bathsheva Kanievsky has been called on high. Her sudden demise represents a tragic loss, especially to the many thousands of women who found solace and comfort through her loving guidance, wisdom and sage advice. May her holy neshama have an aliyah and may she continue to daven for all of us.
This past week has also been a cause for jubilation and thanksgiving. For the past five years, all of us have been davening for the safe homecoming of Gilad Shalit, and now, Baruch Hashem, this past Succos we saw our prayers answered. I realize that there has also been some controversy over the exchange that made his freedom possible – a thousand savage monstrous killers released for one frail, painfully thin little Jewish soldier! To many it is incongruous to even imagine that such a disproportionate, suicidal deal could be struck. Surely, this was a grossly dangerous, ridiculous exchange.
I am not going to argue the pros and cons of that, but I do know that every Yiddishe neshama is precious to us. Our sages teach that ‘kol ha mekayem nefesh achas’ – all those who save just one life, it is accounted to them as though they saved an entire world’. Of course, you could protest, “At what price?” These savage killers could, G-d forbid, take many more lives and encourage more kidnaping.
I am not a halachic expert and I am not here to make a judgment call on that. We are Am Yisrael, and we march to the tune of a different drummer. It is not that we are unaware of the terrifying dangers that this deal represents, but just the same, to us, every Yiddish neshama is precious, so even as we offer prayers of thanksgiving for Gilad’s homecoming, we also pray that Hashem protect us from these barbaric monsters and that they perish before they inflict more harm.
Throughout the years, in my classes, I have taught that one can always find some sort of “remez” - allusion in the parsha (Torah portion of the week) to events that are unfolding before our eyes. This time, it was not only the parsha, but the Book of Psalms as well which stunningly confirm this teaching.
The Book of Tehillim designates a psalm for each day of the week. Gilad Shalit was released on the third day – Tuesday, and the psalm for that day is number 60. There are two words in that Psalm that jump out and demand our attention – Succoth and Gilad. Indeed, the release occurred on the holiday of Succoth, followed by the words, “li Gilad.” “Gilad is mine”
As for the parsha which we read on Simchat Torah, it is written, “And Hashem showed him the entire land – the Gilad” [Deut. 34:1]
Farfetched? Coincidence? Remez (a sign), a message? Take it as you will, but the fact is that these are the passages that we read from the Torah and the Book of Psalms at the time that Gilad Shalit was returned to his land. So take a few moments, put aside your Blackberry and your cell phone, and think. Think some more and absorb.
For a long time now, in many of my messages throughout the world, I have quoted a passage from our sages which teaches that our final redemption will be akin to the first one when we went forth from Egypt. In Jewish history, everything is replayed – What was it that broke Pharaoh and Egypt? – The Ten Plagues. And indeed, today we have experienced the beginnings of this very same phenomena. Time and again, I have demonstrated how each of these ancient plagues has unfolded before our very eyes.
At one of my programs, a young girl approached me: “I have to admit that your examples cannot be refuted, but Rebbetzin,” she challenged, “what about the plague of wild beasts that roamed the streets of ancient Egypt? Surely such occurrences could never happen in our 21st century.”
Well, last week, we witnessed the unbelievable – lions, lionesses, tigers, wolves, bears, monkeys, roaming the streets of Ohio. Can you imagine looking out of your window one morning and seeing lions and bears in front of your home? You’d probably shake your head in disbelief and think that you were having some sort of a nightmare.
Yes, events are unfolding so rapidly that even as they do, we remain immune. We are so preoccupied with our addictive gadgets that we don’t see, we don’t hear, and we don’t think, but while we are playing games, time is relentlessly marching on. The signs are becoming more and more intense and menacing, but we congratulate ourselves and rejoice in a false sense of security. Bin Laden and Khadaffi have been killed, so what is there to fear? We forget that even before their elimination, they had become “has been” and no longer represented a global threat. Tragically, we are oblivious to the new menace that threatens us – IRAN!. Ahmadinejad is given free rein to continue her Satanic agenda while Washington ties up Israel’s hands and instructs her to “take risks for peace.”
Just recently, Ahmadinejad’s long arm reached the U. S. where he planned to murder the Israeli and Saudi Ambassadors .... Make no mistake about it, he has many partners ready to execute his nefarious plans and some of them are right here in our own neighborhood. Just consider Chavez of Venezuela. And mind you, he has these partners throughout the world, the most dangerous being Israel’s Moslem neighbors who, in the guise of democracy and with the support of the U.S. have overthrown their dictators. These terrorists have been romantically dubbed “Revolutionaries of the Arab Spring”, but they are the harbingers of a bitter Arab winter that could freeze the world.. They have only one agenda: “Kill the Jews! Obliterate Israel!”
Ironically, it is Washington that helped choreograph this ominous scene. With America’s blessing, Mubarak of Egypt, Khadaffi of Libya, have been eliminated, paving the way for Iran’s domination of the region. It is maddening when you think about it. It was only yesterday that America helped unseat the Shah of Iran, paving the way for the mullahs to take over and impose sharia law, and it is that road that made it possible for Ahmadinejad to institute his satanic plans.
As I write these words, the murderer of Khadafy is joyously celebrating, but even as this news reaches us from Libya, so does the announcement that henceforth Sharia will be the new law of the land. Ahmadinejad is laughing up his sleeve. Not only has Washington given him the green light and tied Israel’s hands, but Washington has also eliminated all his neighbors who would obstruct his path. To be sure, he has one more obstacle to overcome..... American troops stationed in Iraq. But not to worry – Washington will soon pull them out as well.
As you my readers know, I am a survivor of the Holocaust. I smell the toxic fumes that assailed us in pre-Hitler Europe, but not only has our generation lost its ability to see, to hear, but we have also lost our sense of smell, so as the toxic fumes assail our nostrils, we fall asleep and become oblivious.
I have just touched upon a few events that must give us pause, but trust me, my friends, there is much, much more. When will we realize that there is no one to help us – that in the entire world there is no one to even raise a voice on our behalf. We, the Jewish people are like one little lamb among 70 ferocious wolves who stand ready to pounce upon us and totally devour us.
There is only One source of help for us, only One support, and that is our Heavenly Father, the Almighty G-d. From time immemorial, He has saved us from their clutches. We need not fear.. We need only turn to Him – and if we do so, not only will He answer us, but He will take our hands and lead us through the dense darkness that looms menacingly before us.
“If only My people would heed Me – If Israel would walk in My way, I would subdue their foes and against their tormentors turn My Hand...” [Psalm 81]
What a simple teaching, and yet, how difficult to understand.