16 February 2017

UNDER THE ETERNAL CHUPPAH

UNDER THE ETERNAL CHUPAH
By Roy S. Neuberger

We have arrived at Har Sinai, the dividing line in history. Until now we were engaged, but this is the chupah. After this comes the incredible saga of Am Yisroel’s eternal marriage with the Ribono shel Olam. It is the quintessential love story. 
“Majestic, Beautiful, Radiance of the universe, my soul pines for Your love. Please, O G-d, heal her now …Hasten, show love, for the time has come….” (Yedid Nefesh)

I heard Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein quoting the Rambam: the essence of redemption is that Hashem should reveal Himself and that the Shechina should come out of Golus. For this we should be davening. Our relationship with the Ribono shel Olam must be repaired completely … and soon … “for the time has come.”

My friends, at this fateful moment, I want to talk about what is happening in the world, because it all relates to the events at Har Sinai. When Golus ends, it’s not going to be simple. We are deeply attached to the surrounding culture, just as our ancestors were attached to the culture of Mitzraim, to such an extent that four-fifths of them perished in Makkos Choshechand never left Mitzraim at all. (Rashi to Shemos 13:18 and 10:22) 

When we arrive at Har Sinai and merit a direct encounter with the Ribono shel Olam, it should be clear that the King of all kings must be given our total allegiance. When Hashem is referred to as “a jealous G-d.” (Shemos 29:5), what does that mean? 

Jealous” is an expression of His love for us. We can only relate to the One Who is “Echad” by total commitment to Him and His service. How else can we relate to Him unless we relate “b’chol levav’cha … with our entire heart?” One can’t relate “partly” to Hashem. That spells “death” because we would be divorcing ourselves from Life Itself. 

The world is making it easier for us right now, because a clear view of current events shows that there is no hope for any course other than complete devotion and trust in Hashem. Everything else is going up in smoke. We have to open our eyes. If you look at world events, you will see what our ancestors saw in Mitzraim, which was effectively destroyed at the time of our yetzia. The geographic space existed, but the cultural and political structure were gone. It had become an empty shell. 

We have to be courageous and perceive that the same thing is happening in our world. I remember that, several years ago, a distinguished commentator in the Jewish world wrote an article describing the terrible trends occurring in the surrounding culture, which he ended by saying something like, “But don’t think I am suggesting that the entire culture will collapse ….” 

Excuse me. That is exactly what is happening! 

Mitzraim collapsed and so will the cultures of Edom and Yishmoel.

Several months ago, we witnessed a huge upset in the United States Presidential election. The media, the Democrat Party, the pollsters and the professional establishment were abashed and embarrassed. They could not come to terms with how wrong they had been. They acted as if they realized what a fantasy they had been living up to that time. 

That perception lasted a few days. 

I have lived in the United States for quite a few decades, but I have never seen a situation like this before. The losing side of the presidential election feels that, somehow, it was all a mistake. Really, their candidate won, but for some reason things got mixed up. So they are still “really” in charge and there is an atmosphere of tension, disrespect, vitriol, anger and even chaos. They are not going to accept this “mistake.” They are going to rectify it. The other side responds with its own vitriol, and it is beginning to feel a little like civil war here in the United States of America. My friends, we are, without exaggeration, getting somewhat close to anarchy.  
“On the Shabbos before Pesach, each Israelite purchased a lamb and tethered it to his bedpost …. The Egyptians were furious at this act of sacrilege against their deity…. The Israelites also told them that G-d was preparing to kill all the firstborn of Egypt, but was sparing those of Israel…. Upon receiving this news … all the firstborn gathered in protest at the palace and demanded of Pharaoh, ‘… We have already seen all the other predictions come true. If you don’t let the Israelites go now, we’re all dead men!’ The firstborn staged mass protests …. Enraged at their treatment, the firstborn armed themselves and began a civil war…. Many Egyptians were killed in the ensuing battles. This is the meaning of the verse (Tehillim 136:10), ‘He struck down Egypt through their firstborn.’” (Meam Loez on Parshas Bo)

We are witnessing with our own eyes the completion of “ma’ase avos siman l’bonim.” Biblical events are recurring in our own days and we will, with the blessings of the Ribono shel Olam, soon be marching once again to Har Sinai, where Hashem will once more – and this time forever – proclaim His Majesty before the entire world. We have but little time to sever our ties with the world of tumah and sheker that surrounds us, for soon we will all stand before Hashem at the end of history and the Exile of the Shechina will be a thing of the past.
“For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I will make will endure before Me – the word of Hashem – so will your offspring and your name endure. And it shall be that, from New Moon to New Moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to prostrate themselves before Me, said Hashem.” (Yeshiah 66:22-23; Haftaras Shabbos Rosh Chodesh)

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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.
© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger

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