19 February 2016

THE FACE OF THE GENERATION

THE FACE OF THE GENERATION

This week’s Torah portion says, “I shall set My meeting [in the Sanctuary] with the Children of Israel, and it shall be sanctified with My glory. I shall sanctify the tent of Meeting and the Altar …. I shall rest My Presence among the Children of Israel and I shall be their G-d. They shall know that I am the L-rd, their G-d, Who took them out of the land of Egypt to rest My Presence among them” (Exodus 29:43-46).

While I doubt that any member of the Government of the State of Israel will read the following words, I feel that I must write them, because the Government has control over issues which affect every Jew – indeed every person – in the world, and because the Ruler of the Universe has made certain demands of His Nation which cannot be ignored.

G-d, Who created and sustains the universe, our Father, our King, our Protector, “Hagadol, Hagibor, Hanora … the great, mighty and awesome G-d, the supreme G-d Who bestows beneficial kindnesses and creates everything,” has chosen to rest His Presence upon the Tent of Meeting. The location of this Place is now the Temple Mount, the site of the former and future Holy Temple.

The Ruler of the Universe has promulgated laws by which His world is to be governed. These laws are known collectively as the Written and Oral Torah and the commentaries over the centuries by those holy servants who are loyal to the Torah and who have made its laws comprehensible to His People.

The Government of Israel has chosen to enact ordinances which contradict the laws of the Torah, recently with respect to the Most Holy of all Places, the Temple Mount itself and Western Wall, which is presently our closest permitted approach to the Temple Mount.

There is a lot of trouble these days in Israel. I read that the Prime Minister referred in a recent interview to “the current spate of stabbings.” With all due respect, it is not a “current spate of stabbings.” It is a global uprising of the Children of Ishmael against us.

The world population of the Children of Ishmael (Arabs) is 367 million. Total Moslem population, including the Arab population, is 1.5 billion. The population of the Children of Esau is 2.4 billion. According to the commentators (see for example the Malbim on Ezekiel 32:17), the Children of Israel will be attacked by a combined force of the Children of Ishmael and the Children of Esau before the Messiah comes. I have heard that the head of the United Nations is also joining their attack, and he represents the oriental peoples. So, indeed, the entire world is lining up to devour us, G-d forbid, and we are talking now about billions of people.

We cannot deal with the reality of what is happening if we refer to it as “a spate of stabbings.”

It is time to stop deceiving ourselves. We, the smallest nation, cannot hope to defeat the entire world. We simply cannot allow ourselves to believe that such a thing is possible. But we must survive. In fact, we know that we will survive. Not all of us, perhaps, but the Jewish People as a nation will certainly survive. As the prophet says, “though I shall make an end of all the nations … of you I shall not make an end. I shall punish you with justice, but I shall not destroy you utterly” (Jeremiah 46:28).

So how are we going to survive? Let’s be realistic. As the prophet says, “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). Are we going to rely on ourselves? Do we have the physical strength within or outside Israel to survive? Do we have the wisdom? Can we rely on the nations of the world, who are all currently uniting against us?

There is only one way that we are going to survive, and that is by holding to every letter, every word, every sentence of the Torah. But the Government of Israel has decided to challenge the laws by which the Ruler of the Universe protects His People. If G-d’s Presence is not with us, then exactly how do we expect to survive?

This week, the prophet says:

  “You, Son of Man. Tell the House of Israel of the Temple and let them be ashamed of their sins … all its regulations make known to them!” (Ezekiel 43:10-11)

The Torah is not a public opinion poll.

“When the Son of David will come … the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog…” (Sanhedrin 97a). Rabbi Yisroel Salanter zt”l explains this to mean, “the behavior of the leaders of the generation will resemble that of dogs. When a dog is walked by its master, it trots ahead and thus appears to be leading. In reality, however, it is the master who chooses the direction in which to go. When the dog comes to a fork in the road, it stops and waits for its master to direct it. In the pre-Messianic era, the leaders will only appear to be leading the nation. In reality they will be following the whims of the masses” (Artscroll quoting Rabbi Elchonen Wasserman).

Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, at the funeral of his revered father-in-law, Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Belsky, with great courage asked forgiveness because he felt that he had failed to stand up for Rabbi Belsky when he was criticized. Rabbi Belsky was criticized because he stood like a fortress for Torah. He was not afraid of public opinion; he was afraid only of the Master of the Universe!

We all make mistakes. It is almost too late, but it is not quite too late. We still have time to return to G-d, correct our errors and ask forgiveness from our Father in Heaven.

Please forgive us, our Father! Save us - Ana Hashem Hoshia Na!

© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger

(emphasis mine)

No comments: