Within the last few months, two great rabbis said exactly the same words to me: “Moshiach had better come soon, or else there will be no one around for him to come for.” Did they mean there will be no people around physically or spiritually? I am not going to speculate, but, whatever the meaning, these are frightening words!
This week we read about a Flood that destroyed the world. Eight people survived!
We should ponder this story deeply. The statistics are ominous, just as the words of the rabbis are ominous. I do not know what the world population was before the Flood, but we do know how many survived. The events described in this Parsha teach us that survival is based on moral stature. In other words, Hashem grants life based on our adherence to His laws.
The consequences of our actions are sometimes delayed so it appears that evil people prosper and good people suffer. “Because the sentence for wrongdoing is not executed quickly, that is why men are encouraged to do evil, because a sinner does what is wrong a hundred times and [G-d] is patient with him, yet nevertheless I am aware that it will be well with those who fear G-d … and that it will not be well with the wicked and he will not long endure – like a shadow – because he does not fear G-d.” (Koheles 8:11-13).
In the end, our fortunes are completely dependent upon our behavior. Did we not just go through Chodesh Elul and Aseres Ymai Teshuva, during which we begged Hashem for a good year based on our efforts to improve ourselves? Moral stature determines our fate.
Mankind before the Mabul wrote its own death warrant. Chazal point to robbery as the principal cause. “[The] Generation of the Flood transgressed everything [that they were commanded], but the decree of their punishment was not sealed upon them until they stretched forth their hands in robbery.” (Sanhedrin 108a)
There is an organization called the United Nations, which purports to represent all nations of the world. I remember hearing that Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner zt”l referred to this organization as the place where the seventy wolves (the nations of the world), conspire on strategy as to how they can eat up the one lamb!
Recently the United Nations issued a report stating that there is no evidence linking the Children of Israel with the Temple Mount. There is a name for this, my friends. This is called “robbery.” The nations of the world are trying to figure out how to steal the Land from the Children of Israel. Thus we see the evil which caused the Flood once again becoming prevalent in the world. There is nothing new under the sun. “Ma’ase avos siman l’banim,” the actions of the fathers are signs for the children.
At the beginning of my book, 2020 Vision, I quote a Malbim (on Sefer Yechezkel 32:17), which predicts that, when the Children of Israel return to their Land at the end of history, the Children of Yishmael (the Arab Nations) and the Children of Esav (the Western Nations) will unite in a worldwide coalition to drive us out of Jerusalem. Is this not happening in our days?
Why are we surprised? Have we forgotten that these are our enemies from the days of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov? Since then, they have been plotting to steal our entire inheritance, to blot us out from the face of the earth. And nothing has changed.
Have we forgotten? The truth is … yes! We have forgotten!
The words of Bilaam ring throughout the centuries: “It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations.” (Bamidbar 23:9) We tell ourselves that things are different now, that Western culture is our friend and brother. We fool ourselves into thinking that our enemies are our friends, our jailers are our liberators, our torturers are our benefactors. Warped by the desire for Western-style “success,” we do not understand that we are drowning in the waters of destruction.
My friends, robbery today on a universal scale is sanctioned by institutions that supposedly have the force of law, but are in reality dens of thieves. King David speaks of such a world: “When the wicked bloom like grass and all the doers of iniquity blossom, it is to destroy them until eternity.” (Tehillim 92)
Did not Rashi predict almost one thousand years ago that this would come to pass at the end of history? He asked why, if the Torah is a book of laws, it begins with Creation. And he answers with these famous words, “If the nations of the world will say to Israel, ‘You are bandits, for you conquered the land of the seven nations [who inhabited the Land of Canaan,’ then Israel] will reply to them, ‘The whole earth belongs to the Ribono shel Olam. He created it and He gave [Eretz Yisroel] to the one found proper in His eyes.’”
Who was “found proper in His eyes?” We, the Children of Israel! (Rashi on Beraishis 1:1) As we just read, “This is the Land which I swore to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov, saying, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’” (Dvarim 34:4)
Those who plan robbery on a universal scale should understand the consequences of their actions. In the days of Noach, the waters inundated the entire world, from which only eight people emerged alive.
How shall we survive? The answer is clear, my friends. As in the days of Noach, those who listen to the Master of the Universe will survive. “For behold Your enemies, Oh Hashem, for behold, Your enemies will perish. Dispersed will be the doers of iniquity, [but] a righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar in the Lebanon, he will grow tall. Planted in the House of Hashem, in the courtyards of our G-d they will flourish … to declare that Hashem is just, my Rock in Whom there is no wrong.” (Tehillim 92)