Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
Very soon we will sit around the Seder table and tell the story of the Exodus. We have arrived at Z’man Cheiruseinu, the Season of our Freedom. The Children of Israel are about to leave Mitzraim.
What a story.
But it’s not a story. It’s reality.
I would like to suggest parallels between the Ten Plagues and contemporary events.
Blood: Worldwide hatred and violence. You don’t have to look far to see the pervasive hatred and anger in today’s world. People are ready to pounce on each other over nothing. You see it most clearly, of course, in the worldwide hatred toward Israel. The entire world is going crazy because we have returned to our homeland. This is pure hatred; there is no reason for it. Advertisement
Frogs: Worldwide pollution. Can you imagine the stench after the frogs died? Our world is filled with refuse and foul air. Plastic waste is floating even in the most distant and isolated oceans. Even on the moon.
Lice: Endless petty annoyances adding up to torture. Do you sometimes feel as if your life is so crammed with distractions that you can’t breathe? Not important things, but things you just have to get out of the way. They’re nothing – but you feel as if they’re driving you crazy.
Wild Beasts: Insane people. There are many people in the world who are totally cracked. Some are unknown and some are heads of state. They are out of control, and they are dangerous.
Plague on Animals: Animals in the ancient world represented wealth. This is the plague of economic collapse. Do you think the economy is improving? Perhaps, but one hears many stories of formerly comfortable people who are today without food on the table.
Boils: Serious illness and strange diseases. Every day we hear stories of people who are sick or injured, sometimes young mothers or fathers or small children struck down by exotic diseases or bizarre accidents.
Hail: Natural disasters: typhoons, floods, ice storms, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, landslides. Need I mention earthquakes in Haiti and Chile? What about the recent devastating windstorm in the Northeast? The foundations of the earth are shaking.
Locusts: Drought, hunger worldwide. By the mercy of God most of us have enough to eat, but countless human beings are hungry or starving. How secure is our food supply? We no longer pick our vegetables from the kitchen garden or collect eggs from the chickens. We depend upon vast and complex technology beyond our control and subject to disruption if one link is threatened.
Darkness: Psychological stress and anxiety. So many people slave in mental darkness and psychological depression, lost in a world of despair. The very pressures of the times we live in, when darkness seems to envelope the world and hope seems lost, increase the psychological stress.
Slaying of Firstborn: War and terrorism. We have lived through 9/11, although some did not. Many feel in our hearts that the second shoe is about to drop. Statements emanating from dark corners reinforce that feeling. Not long ago, a plane filled with passengers was saved by a miracle. Israel is threatened every day. What about the lunatic in Iran? What kind of world can we expect for our children?
Our Sages have a maxim: ma’ase avos siman l’banim – the events of our fathers’ lives are a sign for their children. This is a great kindness, because Hashem is giving us the ability to understand the events of our times and to see how our predecessors dealt with similar tests.
From this we can learn how to conduct our own lives.
Imagine you are an Egyptian in ancient Egypt. Your world is crumbling. With each successive plague, another aspect of your world falls apart. Everything on which you depend is collapsing.
But imagine, on the other hand, you are a Child of Israel in ancient Egypt. You are in the presence of Moses and Aaron. You are about to embark on the greatest epic in the history of the world. God is about to meet you at Sinai and present you with His Torah. You are about to experience the greatest moment in history. You are filled with exhilaration.
One place and one time: two totally different reactions.
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew and Spanish, with French and Russian editions in preparation. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Rus-sian) and "Worldstorm.” Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.
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If you’re lucky enough to avoid losing your children, you’re still not home free.
France 2 and Enderlin must have their press accreditation revoked and be thrown out of Israel.
Slaughter is a routine, widespread practice among many Moslem families.
parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
The importance of the caucus on organ harvesting in China, sponsored recently by the Liberal Lobby in the Knesset, cannot be exaggerated.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:
“In those days, when King Achashveirosh sat on his royal throne which was in Shushan the capital, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his officials and servants, the army of Persia and Medea; the nobles and officials of the provinces being present, when he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendorous majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days.
“Israel has bad public relations.”
This is the perennial cry. “Israel must improve its image to convince the world of the justness of its cause.”
Let’s face it: this is not going to be an ordinary year.
We are praying very seriously this year because we are praying for our lives. Yes, I know: every year we pray for our lives. But how many feel it? This year, whether we want to or not, I think we are beginning to feel it.
Parents know each child is different. Similarly, each month is different; each has a different “personality” and a different function.
What is the nature of the month of Elul?
We all know we have to take the Three Weeks seriously. But at the same time we all just want the time between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av to pass already.
During Pesach we experience liberation from slavery, followed by the dramatic encounter with Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. Then we trek through the desert to the great moment at Har Sinai.
Why is Purim eternal?
I would suggest that Purim is the prototype of the End of Exile, and as such will remain forever linked to the Era of Mashiach that will occur after the Final Redemption. Therefore, Purim will be part of that entire period at the culmination of history.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/contemporary-plagues-learning-from-our-past/2010/03/29/
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