CITY OF THE ANTS
By Roy S. Neuberger
"When [Moshe] finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households and all the people who were with Korach and the entire wealth. They and all that was theirs descended alive to the pit; the earth covered them over and they were lost from among the congregation.” (Bamidbar 16:31-33)
In the Generation of the Midbar, our ancestors were on a sufficiently high madreiga so the results of their actions were immediately apparent. In addition, the tikkun for deviation was right at hand in the Mishkan. When Miriam and Aharon spoke loshon hara against their brother, Miriam was immediately afflicted with tzaraas.
Today navua is absent and the Shechina is hidden. In our deep Golus, we have great difficulty understanding the messages emanating from Shomayim. Even when we had neviim to guide us, we often refused to listen. In our own day, our gadolim are becoming fewer and fewer, and – in the best of times – we don’t always listen to them. So, in effect, we “force” Hashem to send louder and louder messages, earth-shaking messages that become increasingly difficult to ignore.
In fact, we are always expected to do what is right. “I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your G-d, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem.” (Dvarim 11:26) In the Midbar, Korach and his followers were swallowed up by the earth. In our generation, we should not be fooled. Although the consequences of our actions may be delayed, they will certainly be forthcoming.
I like to walk to shul. It is good exercise and gives me a chance to think. You can hear the birds singing, and, on a hot day, you appreciate the beautiful shade afforded by the trees. A few days ago, I noticed movement on the pavement and saw what seemed like millions of ants. It was probably more like tens of thousands, but I imagine there were thousands more underground. Yesterday there had been nothing and today there was a whole city of ants, running madly around, incredibly busy accomplishing something (although I don’t know what). Certainly, however, each was playing a vital part in Hashem’s world. Assuredly, the universe would not be complete without each one of them.
“[Hashem] counts the number of the stars, and to all of them He assigns names.” (Tehillim 147:4) I would not be surprised if Hashem has a name for each ant. They have a big city. Yesterday it did not exist and tomorrow it may be gone, but today it is thriving. If they could speak, they would tell you how important their city is, how much they are accomplishing and their plans for the future.
Recently, the United Kingdom voted to secede from the European Union. Worldwide markets tumbled upon predictions of economic and social chaos. Commentators reported that some voters later said, “If I had known the consequences I would not have voted for secession.” But I doubt that. I believe the press was simply trying to justify its failure to predict the outcome correctly by saying that the secessionists didn’t really believe in what they did.
I believe that it is clear why Britain voted this way, and it brings us back to the only Source from which we can understand the ways of the world. I will once again remind you of the Malbim which I quote at the beginning of my book, 2020 Vision. To paraphrase: after Am Yisroel returns to Eretz Yisroel at the end of history, Bnai Yishmoel and Bnai Esav will unite against us to drive us into the sea, G-d forbid. What will save us? When these two super-powers start fighting each other and finally destroy each other in the historically climactic war known as Milchemes Gog Umagog. (Malbim on Yechezkel 32:17)
We are seeing Britain react to the tsunami of Bnai Yishmoel flooding Europe. This is a visceral reaction to a perceived threat against a long-established way of life. Similarly, it would seem that the same scenario is behind the intense conflict taking place between the two candidates for the United States presidency. The heat created by this election originates from a sense that this is a last-ditch effort to retain the culture of Bnai Esav against seismic forces of challenge emanating from Bnai Yishmoel.
Here we have two ancient civilizations, which have controlled much of the world for two thousand years, in a cataclysmic conflict which will decide the future of mankind. We know the outcome: “And you, Ben Adam, prophesy against Gog and say … I will strike your bow from your left hand, and I will cast down your arrows from your right hand. You shall fall upon Israel’s mountains, you and all your cohorts and the nations that are with you …for I have spoken, the words of my L-rd Hashem Elokim.” (Yechezkel 39:1 ff)
The Children of Israel and the Torah itself are surrounded by enemies, both those outside and those, like Korach, who come from within. Although the Existence of the Ribono shel Olam is deeply concealed, one should not be fooled. Hashem is “slow to anger,” but it would seem that we must be close to the Day on which He will act openly against the enemies of His Holy Torah and the intense worldwide hatred directed toward His Children.
Civilizations come and go, but the Torah is forever. Those who cleave to the Ruler of the Universe can look forward to the coming day when the mouth of the earth opens and all evil is swallowed forever.
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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger