The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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, Russian, and Georgian. 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, and Georgian) and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger 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 Leah Neuberger 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.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
Jews thank Hashem at every step. We thank Him for our most basic physical existence. We thank Hashem for every step, for every breath, for every aspect of our elevation from the dust.
In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.
Our rabbis told us it’s going to be very difficult before Mashiach comes. Should we fool ourselves?
The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.
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.
“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/thoughts-on-scandals/2009/01/07/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: