web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Conflicts, Conflicts, Conflicts


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Special Note: For the past two weeks my columns have focused on the sad state of contemporary family life – controversies between siblings, parents, and children. Unfortunately, however, this deplorable state of affairs is not limited to families. Our communities and our institutions are all ridden by “infighting.”

I have received countless e-mails and letters from readers bemoaning this deplorable reality that crosses all boundaries and gender lines, running the gamut from the observant to the secular, from the young to the elderly, and from male to female. I could probably keep publishing these letters for many weeks without exhausting the topic, but I think that we are all too familiar with the scene, so instead of belaboring the issue, I invite you, my dear readers, to explore along with me, some big questions:

Why are we so self- destructive? Why are we constantly at each other’s throats? How is it that we fail to realize that the greatest harm that we are inflicting is upon our own selves? As Rabbeinu Bachya taught, “There is no foe that can inflict evil on a man like his own evil deeds.”

And so, the question remains: “How can we, enlightened individuals, products of a sophisticated education, continue to live by the laws of the jungle? The question is all the more puzzling since ours is a generation that has so much to contend with – we can apply the passage, “Ein bayis she’ein sham mes – There no family that does not have to wrestle with some tribulation.”

Additionally, we are surrounded by enemies who are bent on destroying us; so how can it be that we do not unite and reach out to one another? We are all only too aware that when our people, our synagogues, our communities, are torn by machlokes, strife – then every individual in those communities, in those synagogues is also diminished. And when families are destroyed, then every individual member of that unit is left broken and maimed – so again I ask, why are we so self-destructive?

The question challenges all of us, for this scourge affects every Jew. And what’s more, our history testifies that we were cast into our long, dark exile precisely because of this sin of sinas chinam – baseless hatred between Jew and Jew. So why do we persist in this self-destruction? Why can’t we free ourselves from the chains of jealousy, pettiness, animosity and hatred?

If any generation should be sensitive to the urgency of curing ourselves of this disease, it is surely ours. We were witness to the most horrific evil ever to be visited upon mankind, and surely we must realize that that which took Hitler, yemach shemo, years to do, can, G-d forbid, be done today in a matter of minutes…. and that is exactly what Ahmadinejad’s agenda calls for.

So what must it take to awaken us? How much more suffering must we endure until we learn to live by the laws of loving-kindness? What must it take to teach us the two simple little words “I forgive?”

Many will try to rationalize and dismiss the subject by saying, “Rebbetzin, what are you getting all excited about? That’s the reality of today’s world…. It is what it is…. ” Others will dismiss the subject by blaming societal conditions, values and mores: greed, chutzpah, selfishness, jealousy, and hatred…all intrinsic to our culture.

Still others will give it a kosher Torah twist. We are living in the period identified as “Ikvesa D’moshicha” – the generation in which the footsteps of Moshiach can be heard, and that generation, we are told, will witness an escalation of that which is most base and loathsome in human nature.

I don’t buy any of this. To be sure, we do live in a world gone mad, a world in which people have forgotten basics, in which traditional moral values have been eclipsed, in which greed has replaced devotion, indebtedness – entitlement, chutzpah – respect, family cohesiveness – self adulation. Alas, these cultural aberrations do exist, and there is no point in denying them, but all this does not change our reality, which is rooted in timeless Torah values.

From the genesis of our history, we were always in conflict with the times. We marched to the tune of a different drummer and never considered that which was in vogue or politically correct. Our values were set in eternity – they came from Sinai. So no, the cultural rationalizations of the ages did not impact on us… those among us who remained Jews did so precisely because we had the spiritual stamina to say “No!”

As for those who would throw up their hands in futility and hide behind the reality of “Ikvesa d’Moshicha” – that we are living in the period of pre-Messianic times – that rationalization is equally unacceptable. If anything, the awareness that we are living in the period of “Erev Shabbos” should goad us into action so that Moshiach might arrive in peace and blessing rather than through suffering and fire.

Should we not want to do teshuvah and usher in the Messianic period with joy and gladness? But, you might ask, what practical steps can we take to bring about such change?

That, B’Ezrat Hashem, I will discuss in next week’s column.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Conflicts, Conflicts, Conflicts”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

“Surely,” my family insisted, “there must be someone suitable for you. You can’t be so picky.”

Shouldn’t we Jews, having experienced the barbarism of many societies, speak support the NYPD?

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

When art and evil are intermingled, evil is elevated and made acceptable.

In BB, he said “You, my children are the angels of Shabbos and the licht are your beautiful eyes.”

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/conflicts-conflicts-conflicts/2009/12/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: