08 August 2016

This Tisha B’Av – "Time to Rethink How We Express Our Judaism in the World we Are in"


So begins Rabbi Moshe Grylak Shlit”a in his 
POINT OF VIEW (Mishpacha, August 3, pg 18)

“The descendants of Reuven and Gad had an abundance of livestock very numerous, and they saw the land… and behold, the place was a place for livestock… and they spoke to Moshe and to Elazar the Kohein and to the princes of the community, saying, ‘… the land that Hashem struck down before the congregation of Israel is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.’ ” (Bamidbar 32:1-4)

"The pesukim clearly convey that the subject of livestock was foremost in their minds, and it was their chief motivator. They go on to make an explicit request of Moshe to have their portions of the Land on the east side of the Jordan.

“Do not bring us across the Jordan.”

"If we read the rest of the passage attentively, we find that Moshe immediately perceived just how tragic this was, that money could sway the human mind to this extent (the chassidic masters offer other mystical approaches to their surprising request, but a straightforward reading of the text is clearly negative). They were on the very threshold of realizing their vision of entering the Promised Land, with all of its special physical and spiritual attributes. And now two tribes come before Moshe Rabbeinu and say they’re ready to give up that vision for the sake of wealth. They made business their chief goal. They would follow after their flocks, the main source of wealth in those days. Moshe is upset and gives them mussar, attempting to make them see how they are distancing themselves from Hashem. Again and again, he uses the expression “lifnei Hashem,” until they get the point and see that their wealth has caused them to forget their Creator and put business first in their lives, not just business before pleasure, but business before ideals.

"[S]omething more shocking comes next, and it teaches us the destructive power of greed for money:

“They approached him and said, ‘We will build sheepfolds for our livestock here and cities for our children’ ”(ibid. 16).

Moshe answers them: “Build for yourselves cities for your children and sheepfolds for your flocks.”

Rashi explains:

“They were more concerned about their wealth than about their sons and daughters, for they mentioned their livestock before their children. But Moshe said to them, ‘Not so. Put first things first and secondary things afterward. First build yourselves cities, and after that build sheepfolds for your flocks.’ ”

In Parshas Maasei:

In Maasei we have the fulfillment of the original COMMAND to enter the Land and Settle there. The two words in Hebrew denote “you shall possess” and “you shall settle”. According to the Ramban, the world “you shall settle” is a positive commandment to inhabit the Land. The great importance the Sages attached to living in the Land and the prohibition against leaving it are derived from this verse. Kesubos 110b.

Further it says, “Accordimg to the tribes of your Fathers…” is that the Land was divided into 12 provinces, one for each tribe (despite Gad and Reuven – Manassah and Ephraim inherited).


In the same issue in another article,

A feature article on Rabbi Chaim Boruch Gluck and his son Zvi. It begins with “Seventy-five deaths in our community since Rosh Hashanah,” Zvi says [. . .] “We keep count — some suicides, some of them overdosed… Each one had a death sentence that might have been avoided had someone intervened.”

“Hi, this is Zvi Gluck, Rabbi Gluck’s son . . . My father is unreachable . . . there is a body that needs to be released. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, but I do know that you’re the one I’m supposed to call. I need you to do what you do, so I can do what we do.”

“In those years [. . .] you could keep a secret. It was still possible to work things out quietly. […] Now, it’s on the Internet within 20 seconds.”

What they are discussing in this article is the scourge afflicting the Charedi communities in the New York Metropolitan Area.

Zvi goes on to say,

I struggled so much, but at least now I know what to tell kinds in that situation – and I tell parents to do what my parents did. I struggled and slipped, but home was always home. My parents always made me feel comfortable and loved.” […] “But as I went from spending time on the streets to helping kids on the streets, I came head to head with a new plague . . . It was like the 11th makkah.” “It was a shock even for me […] I started to understand the horrible correlation what molestation and abuse does to a person an dhow it creates the gaping hole that will later create addiction.”

“There is an underlying connection between so many different problems that plague us – low self-esteem and bad shalom basis and drop and alcohol abuse. All of these things drive people to bad places, so its hard to see people as evil. Mostly, they’re just sick. Really sick.”

“Two, we need to teach people how to get divorced properly. They need to learn that even if the marriage can’t be saved, the parents need to put their children first and do everything they can to minimize the collateral damage.”


Let’s go back to that Rashi:

“They were more concerned about their wealth than about their sons and daughters, for they mentioned their livestock before their children.”


And also to Rabbi Moshe Grylak:

“Are we blinded by the glitter of wealth?” The tribes of Reuven and Gad were blessed with abundant livestock, but did that cause them to misplace priorities? And don’t we all occasionally get blinded by the glitter of wealth and success, hoping the really important things in life will somehow coast along on their own? Our current Parshah suggests that we have a talk about money. About careers, and distorted priorities, and the dangers inherent in both.” In Parshas Mattos (read this week outside Eretz Yisrael) we encounter — at least on the pshat level of understanding — the craving for wealth that came over a part of Bnei Yisrael, just as they were about to enter the Promised Land. If we’re honest with ourselves, the words of Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven sound comfortably familiar. They’re speaking our language — the language of money."

And now to Why Jews Must Leave the Golus, 
leave the other side of the Divide (Jordan):

In an excellent article written just about one year ago (before Tisha B’Av),  Are we entering a new Golus Mode in America, questioning the events occurring in America at that time:

"A Golus in a class of its own: Never in the history of our 2000 year golus have we had it so good. Never in any other golus were Jews so affluent and so included and integrated as in American society and its political and social fabric. (remember also early 20th C. Germany)

"A full-barreled assault on religious liberties and an attempt to destroy the old order of wholesome family values that made America so Great.

"The imperative to keep a low profile. (Kli Dakar in Parshas Devorim on Tzafonah, it also means hidden (not to flaunt gashmius). As when Yaakov tells his sons, 'Lamah tisrau? Why do you make yourselves conspicuous?'"


One person’s comment to this penetrating article that brings together Rashi, the Kli Yakar, Moshe Rabbeinu, Rabbi Grylak and the Matzav in America:

"Perhaps this is a wake up call in that many Jews, even those who learn Torah, have been blinded by the material wealth that America offers. It's time to open up the books. It's time to examine the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, the words of Chazal and the great rabbis of old, and ask the question,

"Does God want us to live in the land of Obama, or in the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?




3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, as usual. This one reminds me when we would discuss the coming of Moshiach in our home and, how my father would tell us that many Jews do 'not' want Moshiach and it was unthinkable and unbelievable to me to hear that. He continued saying when we have it so good, mostly those wealthy and successful yiddelach don't want to hear of it - 'it will upset their applecart'. Those were his words. How very true as we see it clearly today in this pre-Moshiach era.

Seems not too much was learned, r'l, from wwII, just 70 years ago. Many countries were good to us for a period of time and then when Jews started to flourish. the anti-semitism really came out; but we seem not to learn. The golus is golus!

The problem now also is that so much of golus has penetrated E.Y., more than ever. If we enmasse would make aliyah then the ball will be in our court. Moshiach will soon come anyway and may it be b'rachamim and may most of us (hopefully) already be in Eretz Yisrael.

GoldieZP said...

thank you for putting this post together. I especially like your closing statement. Nope, I certainly do not want to live in the land of Obama! GoldieZP

Mr. Cohen said...

========================================
Two Quick Quotes from Leading Arabs and Muslims:
========================================

In December 2015, the New York Times described Imam Yasir Qadhi as “one of the most influential clerics in American Islam”. Imam Yasir Qadhi said:

“If filthy Jews and Christians do not convert to Islam, [then] their life and property are halal [free for the taking] for the Muslims.”

In June 2016, Sultan Abu Alainin [a member of the Palestinian Authority Central Committee, and a top advisor to Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas] said:

“Whenever you see an Israeli, slit their throat.”

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