Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
We need a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of God’s name, so big it will be a giant burst of light in this dark world.
And we are going to get it.
Why is it that our father Jacob had to buy what was coming to him – his right to the inheritance of Abraham and Isaac – from his brother Esau? Why did he have to “trick” his father Isaac into giving him the blessing? (I discuss this subject at length in Chapter Two of my book Worldstorm.)
This is so profound. We Jews have a concept called ma’ase avos siman l’banim – the actions of the fathers are a sign for the children. The actions of our fathers in the Torah are an indication of what will happen to us, their children, in future generations. What is happening to us now, in the year 5769, was foretold by what happened to our forefathers in the Torah.
As mentioned, our father Jacob had to acquire his most precious possession, the holy tradition of serving God and receiving the Torah on behalf of all mankind by apparent treachery. Why?
This is a sign for us, his children, that our Exile will be characterized by the mockery of the nations of the world. They are going to label us thieves, criminals, phonies, hypocrites, cheaters, liars, amoral, immoral, promiscuous – in short, every characterization that in truth belongs to them. But it is all predicted in the Torah. Jacob is going to be characterized as a thief and a cheater.
When Esau heard from Isaac that Jacob had received the blessings, “he cried an exceedingly great and bitter cry.” He said, “He outwitted me these two times.… He took away my birthright, and see now, he took away my blessing” (Genesis 27:34ff).
Oh no, Esau, he did not “outwit” you.
He did not take away “your” birthright.
He did not take away “your” blessing.
They were never yours – you neither desired nor valued them.
But now that you have publicly disdained the secret of life, you are jealous because Jacob possesses it. So you characterize Jacob as a thief. You march through history proclaiming his treachery. You claim to be pious and accuse us of lying and stealing.
You point the finger at us.
You see a scandal in the Midwest? You point with pompous self-righteousness in your highly respected newspapers at the perfidy of the Jew.
You see a scandal on Wall Street? You point with pompous self-righteousness at the hypocrisy of the Children of Jacob.
Even the missile-flinging terrorists in Iran point the finger at us.
When the Romans invaded and destroyed our holy Temple some two thousand years ago, they pointed at the image of the kruvim (Cherubim) and said in their moment of apparent triumph, “See they are idolaters just like us! The Jews are no better than we are!”
Oh no, children of Esau and children of Ishmael. Do not point the finger at us! For the Torah tells us that the name of Jacob is changed: “No longer will it be said that your name is Jacob, but Israel. For you have striven with the Divine and with man and you have overcome.”
Yes, we are flesh and blood. Yes, we are human. Yes, we have faults. We have failings, and they are perfectly clear on every page of the Torah for all to see. We don’t hide our failings – from ourselves, from others or from God. In fact, we make a special point of bringing them all out into the sunlight in order to heal ourselves.
God has seen our passionate zeal to open our hearts to His Torah so that our souls may serve Him and pursue His commandments, and has changed our name from Jacob to Israel. If we exert ourselves with all our strength, if our “Jacob” nature fights with constant devotion, then we become Israel, the Prince of God, the man who is the father of the holy nation of Israel.
Yes, that is our responsibility today: to become Israel, to wrestle with and defeat the angel who represents the characteristics of the nations surrounding us, to battle our own failings, our own selfishness, our own narrowness, our own infatuation with the material cravings that threaten to drag us into the ground.
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, "2020 Vision" (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Russian with a Georgian edition in preparation. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul" (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, Georgian edition in preparation) and "Worldstorm." Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com. 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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Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
As shocking and insulting and horrifying as it is, Nazi war criminals are still living freely among us.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
Ramaz is a venerable Modern Orthodox educational institution whose mission statement contains the explicit commitment to “Ahavat Yisrael, and love and support for the State of Israel.”
In the course of the ages there wasn’t a Jewish community more convinced of its capacity for survival than the Jewish community of Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries.
At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.
They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.
Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.
At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.
So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/thoughts-on-scandals/2009/01/07/
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