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What Now?

Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

It is getting harder and harder to read the news. It is getting harder and harder to write the news. The pen won't write. The fingers won't type. How can they!

But I've been thinking. What would Rabi Akiva say. How would he react were he alive today and he would witness the carnage in Eretz Yisroel.

Rabi Akiva stood with his contemporaries at the site of the Bais Hamikdosh (Holy Temple). They saw a fox dart about where the Kodesh Hakadoshim (Holy of Holies) stood. They began to weep and Rabi Akiva smiled. They questioned how he could smile upon seeing such desolation in the Holy of Holies.

He responded to them that now that they have seen the Kiyum-fulfillment of the prophecy regarding the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh, they would soon see the fulfillment of the prophecy that "Old men and women will once again sit in the streets of Yerushalayim."

The founders of the Jewish state dreamed. They dreamed to be like all nations. Free at home. Free at last. With their own government, their own army, their own everything. Everything done on our own, No need for G-d. No room for G-d. We will be strong. We will fight, on our own. Independent. The golus (exile) is over. The redemption is here.

The world will begin to appreciate us. If we will be like them, they will love us. They will welcome us into their league of nations. And we will welcome them into our little island of democracy.

A land without people, for a people without a land. Strong, smart and determined, no one can stand in our way.

If we would have been here in 1938 there would have been no Holocaust. Because we would have fought back. We would have led the way. But they can't fight back. They can't lead the way.

With all their sabra bravado they can't fight back against lowly teenagers. They have no weapons to battle those who fight them with primitive weapons.

They talk a good game but they can't even provide the minimal governmental duties. The first obligation of government is to provide for the safety of its citizens. They can't do that. They have utterly failed.

In Israel every day is September 11th. Wherever you go there is uneasiness. No place is safe. There is no plan. Everyone is demoralized. They have lost this war of attrition. They are lost. Afraid.

Afraid to go out. Afraid to stay in.

Where ever they go they are looking over their shoulders. They are petrified when they wait for a red light downtown. Please, get me out of here before the next bomb goes off.

And the world hates us just as much. The world as a whole couldn't care less. Fifty-four years after the founding of the state, Jews are still parasites, with no right to exist. No right to self defense.

The world equates the murder of babies by wanton barbarians, with the military's disposal of known terrorists to save the lives of innocents. They warn the Jews to exercise restraint and tell Arafat nothing, as they themselves go about decimating an entire country because a terrorist emanated from there.

The nation's paper shouts out in a page one headline, "Israel Kills At Least 40, Arabs Kill 5." They're upset. It's not fair. The Arabs should have killed more, r"l, to make it even. The equation of casualty gone overboard.

They report that Israel attacks Palestinian red crescent ambulances. What chutzpah. Murderers. Of course the objective paper of record neglects to mention that those vehicles are used to ferry bombs. And terrorists. The blood libel all over again.

Sixty years after the Holocaust and Jewish blood is still cheap, if it has any value at all.

But the State and its army don't give up. They are still on that mission to prove to the world that we are the good guys. If only the world would pay attention.

If only they would stop condemning us long enough to see how hard we try to prevent collateral damage. If only they would see how far out of our way we go to prevent the harming of civilians on the other side.

Facing an enemy which sends out young men and women to kill themselves upon our children, women and men, Israel bombs empty PA stations. G-d forbid they should kill a terrorist who happens to be camping out there. In a feeble attempt to raise the morale of their own people and to teach the enemy a lesson they won't forget they bomb desolate parking lots.

That is retaliation for the murder of young people who were full of life until one of the enemy decided to end his and theirs at the same time. And they wait for the world to bow down and acknowledge their kindness. And you and I know that it will never happen.

How do we know it? Because that is the way of the world.

Why is the mountain upon which the Torah was given called Har Sinai? Because from there Sinah (hatred) descended. With the Torah, came along the hatred of the nations. And that won't change anytime soon.

In that Torah we are warned to follow in the ways of Hashem. And now we are witnessing the fulfillment of the Tochacha (Rebuke - as stated in the Torah). In the Achris Hayomim (end of days), the period in which we find ourselves, beset by the Chevlei (pains of the onset of the coming of ) Moshiach. We must wash ourselves of our sins. We've got to wake up and realize that we are living in extraordinary times which demand from us extraordinary acts.

We can not continue to go about our daily lives as if all is fine and dandy. We must seek ways to improve ourselves. We've got to lift ourselves up. Quickly. And behave like members of an Am Kodosh (Holy Nation).

Return again to the ways of our fathers. To Torah and Avodah (service of G-d).

The Gemorah in Kesubos states, "Rav Yochanon Ben Zakai cried and he said Ashreichem Yisroel, praised be the Jewish people. When they do the will of G-d no nation can rule over them. But when they disobey His will, He gives them over to a lowly nation."

Rashi explains that the term "lowly nation" refers to the Arabs. Rav Elchonon Wasserman and Rav Elya Lopian both explain that Yisroel will fall to the hands of a lowly bunch so that all will recognize that the defeat is not natural or coincidental, but it is by the hand of G-d.

Were they to be beat by a strong, mighty nation, they could say, oh well so goes it, they were stronger and they beat us. But if they are vanquished by young shahids, no one can say that it happened by itself. They will have to admit that it was wrought by G-d.

And so it is in our day, Rabi Akiva would perhaps intone.

Did you hear what happened this past Motzoei Shabbos at the levayah (funeral) of Rav Chaim Brim ZT"L? Thousands had gathered and were standing there quietly, lost in their thoughts of mourning on the passing of such a great man. Suddenly word went out that there was a terrorist there amongst them. Mayhem broke out. People ran in all directions. They trampled each other in panic.

They ran for their lives. But no one was chasing them.

There was terror without a terrorist.

He might say this is as the verse states, "Venastem V'ein rodef eschem-And you will run though there is no one chasing you."

And now that this has come to pass in front of our own eyes, we can pray and hope that the verses which precede it in Parshas Bechukosai will be fulfilled.

"I will bring peace to the land and you will lie down with no fear. I will keep all wild animals out the country, and no sword will pass through your land. And you will chase after your enemies, and they will fall before you on their swords"

And then he would read you several verses from the Novi (prophet) Tzefania.

He would say open up to perek bais, posuk tes-vov (Chapter 2, Verse 15). And he would read along with you in Hebrew, of course, "This joyful city which sits dwelling securely, says to herself I am the one, and there is none beside me. How has it become so desolate, a place for beasts to rest? All who pass by her wave their hands and make the sounds that one makes when viewing something precious destroyed."

Now turn to perk gimel (ch.3), and read on. "Woe to her, the city, who is dirty and polluted, like a silly, heartless dove. She did not obey. She did not accept mussar (scolding). She did not trust in Hashem. She did not come close to Him. Her ministers rob the people like roaring lions. Her judges grab their bribes like wolves who devour their prey at night, leaving nothing over for the morning. Her prophets are empty and crooked. Her priests have violated the holy and publicly corrupted the laws of the Torah."

And then read from posuk tes-zayin (v.16). "On that day it will be said to Yerushalayim, have no more fear Zion, let your hands not weaken. For Hashem your G-d is with you, a Strong One who will save you. He will rejoice with your happiness. He will be silent in his love for you. He will celebrate over you in song."

And posuk yud-tes and chuf (v.19-20), "I will destroy all those who afflict you at that time and I will help the one who limps; and the one who is cast away I will gather and set them up for praise and a good name in the very land of they were shamed. In that time I will bring you and gather you in and give you a good name and praise among the nations of the world, when I will return those who have been captured. You will see this with your own eyes, says Hashem."

Go ahead open up the Nach. Read the verses. And weep. And be full of joy. For they will come to pass speedily and in our days. We will merit to see it, if we make ourselves worthy.


Copyright Yated Ne'eman

 






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