During the recent bombing of Israel and only a few weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeastern United States, I was davening at a very respected shul in an area that had been devastated by the storm. A boy just over bar mitzvah was texting on his cell phone between Shema and Shemoneh Esrei. At the risk of breaching halacha – but I felt it was a matter of pikuach nefesh – I walked over and asked him whether he thinks Hashem is real. He put the phone in his pocket, but I don’t know if he absorbed my words.
We had better be trembling right about now. We stand at the threshold of a new world. Civilizations that are now strong may well become as dust and powder, and a tiny, beleaguered, ridiculed and surrounded nation may become the pillar of God in the very near future.
If we want to survive the coming cataclysmic events, we would do well to remember the epic words of Rabbi Levenstein cited above: “In the final war before the coming of Mashiach, all the Jews who fear Hashem will survive.” The implication is that only the Jews who fear Hashem will survive. As noted, Rabbi Levenstein amplified this with the words, “Hashem will say to them: ‘All those who are removed from the secular, worldly culture, you are Mine….’ ”
The silly grin I got from that kid when I spoke to him about his cell phone may well be replaced by terror on all our parts as we realize the only thing that will save us in the coming days is yiras shamayim – fear of heaven.
You can theorize about a lot of things, but there is nothing abstract about a wall of water coming at your house or a missile exploding in front of your eyes. And who says this is the end?
Yiras shamayim must be worked on and worked on and worked on…and then worked on some more.
Let’s remember the Chashmonayim.
“You [Hashem] delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton into the hand of the diligent students of Your Torah” (Al Hanissim, Chanukah).
And so it is today. Our fate is decided not by the results of public opinion polls, television broadcasts or newspaper columns. Our fate is decided – lehavdil – by the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak and the God of Yaakov. He rewards righteous behavior and supports those who trust in Him.
“Do not rely on nobles, nor on a human being, for he holds no salvation” (Tehillim 146).
The Torah is the One Place to look for confirmation of the correctness of our actions. “I raise my eyes to the mountains. From where will my help come? My help is from Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to falter; your Guardian will not slumber. Behold: The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Tehillim 121).
May we soon see the Geulah Sheleimah with the coming of Mashiach ben David and the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, and may the kohanim soon light the Holy Menorah in its place on Har HaBayis, never to be extinguished until the end of time.