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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Dust Off The Windows (Part Three)

It’s so easy to point the finger of blame at others, to believe the tragedies of Jewish history are caused by individuals who are evil or mad and not because we have turned away from our covenant with G-d due to our intense desire to become like all the nations.
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

In my previous column I continued to focus on the dusty windows that obscure our Jewish vision. I noted the inexplicable hatred and persecution that has plagued us throughout the centuries.

In every generation there are those among us who try to convince us it is our distinct Jewish appearance, customs and observances that have alienated us from our non-Jewish neighbors.

But how can these people explain the fact that Muslims, Hindus, monks, nuns, and priests who wear special garb do so generally undisturbed, even commanding respect?

Take a look at the yarmulkes worn by the pope and the cardinals of the Catholic Church. And the pope has a special hat, a mitre, which is quite similar to what was worn by the high priest of our holy Temple.

So how is it that we who introduced religious head coverings to the world should be treated with such disdain and brutality?

In our obsession to blend in with the nations we keep shedding more and more of our Jewishness but, paradoxically, the more we try the more we try to be like others, the more we are resented.

In vain did Ezekiel the prophet call out in days of yore that no matter how much we scheme in your hearts to be like all the other nations, we will never be considered the same as them. And he warned us of the terrible consequences of renouncing our heritage, our covenant.

Sadly, despite the admonishments not only of Ezekiel but of all our prophets, we have yet to learn our lesson. We continue to assimilate with fury – an assimilation compounded by our Jewish illiteracy. The great majority of our people have no knowledge of the Torah, the Prophets, or the Talmud. If you were to ask them just for the titles of our sacred books, not even a description of the contents, they would stare at you blankly.

Hashem, who knows the past, present and future, created in His infinite mercy windows for us. Windows through which we would be able to see what our minds reject and our eyes cannot envision. We have forgotten the message, yet it is easily accessible if we’d only look through the windows.

These windows prominently showcase the message of all our Yom Tovim but we refuse to look. In our pursuit of money, assimilation and good times we allow dust to settle on our windows until we can no longer see through them.

I started to write this series of columns between the weeks of Purim and Pesach. Even small children are aware of the magical story of Purim. Queen Esther was prepared to sacrifice her life to save her people from Haman. They know Mordechai was determined to awaken every Jew. But what really happened in that story?

Years before Haman’s ascent, King Achashveirosh called for a great celebration in honor of his marriage to the evil Vashti. All citizens of the empire were invited, including the Jews. Mordechai warned his brethren not to attend. The food would not be Jewish food. The atmosphere would be a desecration of G-d’s Name.

The people chose to ignore Mordechai’s warning. They had their own rationalizations to justify their participation. “It is not good for us to stay away…to refuse an invitation from the king. Persia is our host country. We have a good life over here. We have good relationships with the Persians.”

So they went and took part in a banquet that quickly became a nightmare of unspeakable drunkenness and debauchery.

Nine years down the line Haman was elevated to his position as second to the king. He convinced the king to annihilate all the Jews, pointing out that the Jews had forsaken their covenant. “It’s time to attack! When they abandon their G-d they become putty in our hands.”

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16 Responses to “Dust Off The Windows (Part Three)”

  1. John Davison says:

    The tendency to rely on God/s rather than human beings has been our curse throughout the centuries.

  2. Karen Bryant says:

    Human beings wanting to be their own God is the curse we brought on ourselves since day 1. That pride is our downfall.

  3. Eduardo Mazo says:

    not human being but wrongdoing of faith,to the wall of Watcher of the Lord.

  4. Joe Ritchie says:

    People have to do the right thing in order for God to use us for positive things in this world.

  5. Love her, my mentor.

  6. I met her when I lived in NY…she’s a phenomenal woman!

  7. Brian Bucy says:

    G-d takes ownership of the Jews and envy ensues. Herein lies “the curse” that has plagued people since Cain and Able – or “day one.”

    This work is righteous and motivational to myself, a non-Jew. It’s great to hear a message of non-conformity come from the Jewish community on Passover. I agree with Ester – the Jewish identity is perhaps the most criticized and misunderstood in modern times – if not the most influential and unappreciated.

    I would fair to say that Passover is more G-d’s holiday of liberty for his chosen people – than it is the chosen people’s holiday of liberty through G-d. That is to say, this time is G-d’s – not yours or mine.

    Thanks and happy Passover.

  8. this woman is a true woman of God, everyone can learn from her

  9. This is true, but unfortunately too many leaders, including rabbis, in the Jewish community are totally focused on raising money, giving honors to people who give large sums of money, instead of honoring and focusing on people who exemplify Jewish values of kindness, honesty, mitzvot and Kiddish Hashem.

  10. Dan Silagi says:

    Typical "circle the wagons" BS. Yes, the Holocaust was caused because Dan Silagi ate a pork chop (quite a few, actually), a lobster (plenty of them, too), drove a BMW on Shabbat (and every other day of the week). and G-d forbid, married a shikse. Forget that Dan Silagi wasn't yet born, G-d is prescient and knew that Dan Silagi would desecrate Shabbot and put it on his bucket list to violate each and every of the 613 so-called "Mitzvot" except those which are illegal under civil law, like murder. Thus, I as an unobservant and proudly irreligious Jew (not an atheist nor agnostic, just irreligious), am totally responsible for the murder of 5,999,999 of my landsmen. Or that's what Esther Jungreis would have you believe.

    In fact, most of the 613 "Mitzvot" have to do with self-segregating Jews from Gentiles. It's certainly the purpose of kashrut — G-d doesn't want Christians to eat food that's "unclean" and dangerous any more than He wants Jews to do so. In my opinion, this is what causes anti-Semitism more than anything else.

  11. Anonymous says:

    How sad for you, Dan, that you're such a self-hating Jew who has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Why don't you seek out a good kiruv rabbi who can show you the beauty of Judaism? Or read "Derech Hashem" by RAMCHAL. That will blow your mind when you learn how INCREDIBLE it is to have been born a Jew.

  12. Gary Harper says:

    I went into the Lion’s Den with several Jewish friends. It is the first time I ever experienced the reality of anti-Semitism. It was the stares of hatred I noticed, for the first time. My companions pretended not to notice, but I did. I wanted to jump up and shout out, “I am not a Jew!” but I did not, as my dad spoke perfect Bavarian with a Jewish accent, and I do not know my own ancestry. My friends thought that I was Jewish. When they would ask, I would say, “No, I am a goyim,” just to see their furrowed brows at my use of the plural.

    It is a bit complicated, but it is all a matter of perspective. Every people in the world knows that the Torah says Israel is the chosen of Hashem. “But if that is true, why are they here in our country, and not in their own?” The Jews are thus resented, as the “chosen” who yet are seen as wanderers, with no roots. The peoples do not understand that Israel is chosen for both reward and punishment, depending on how the nation acts. They are symbolic.

    Also, the existence of Israel as a new state does not really come into consideration here. It is viewed (correctly or incorrectly) as an historical aberration, which has been imposed upon Palestine by the British, who wanted to get all of the Jews out of their own nation. The nations and peoples still view Israel as essentially a stateless people, who look back to their glory days of David and Solomon. “How can they be chosen, if they have been dispersed for 2,000 years, plus?” The reality of the historical presence of at least some Jews in Palestine throughout this entire time is essentially unknown to the world.

    Jewish people cooperate. What is good for one, is good for all. The peoples of the world fight within themselves. So, the newcomers to a nation, through industry, thrift, initiative, and cooperation, soon come to have a great economic, social, political, and even moral influence upon a nation. The newcomer Jews are thus perceived to have an influence on a society disproportionate to their percentage of the population. This is viewed as a cultural threat, and is also resented. It is xenophobia in action. It is seen as a deliberately self-enforced separatism that intends to assimilate an entire nation into Jewish ways, when in reality, it is just a cooperation within a specific group, which the rest of the nation does not do.

    Since the nations view the Jews as not having a nation, they cannot understand why they do not assimilate into the peoples they choose to reside among. Has it not already been proven to the Jew that perhaps he has been chosen for punishment at this time, as he has no nation, which proves that? That is the perspective. They little realize just how many Jews have already assimilated. I would not be surprised of most of the residents of Europe, Africa, North and South America, the Middle East, and Russia did not have a percentage of Jewish blood in them.

    The peoples also view the Jew as having an elevated opinion of himself, as the chosen people. The Jew knows he is chosen, and this reflects in his dealings with the goyim, whether intentional or otherwise. He is an outsider, who acts like an outsider. After centuries of persecution, the Jew is understandably somewhat cautious and insular in his dealings with the surrounding nations. The Jews insistence that his son or daughter dishonors the parents if he or she marries outside of the faith also is viewed as the Jew feeling that he, his nation, and his ways are superior. It is not correctly viewed as a national fear of the abandonment of Hashem Himself.

    I personally have found secular Jews to be the warmest, and most caring, and the most interested in the individual for the individual’s sake, of all groups that I have met. Of the orthodox, it is a mixed bag. Some sects are the nicest people you would want to meet. Others will not even look at you; and no matter what the ultimate reason for it is, it is viewed by the nations as their looking down their noses at you, because they are superior, and you are goy crap. The orthodox rabbis I have met are the worst. Some of them look at you and treat you as if you are a goy nothing. I of course understand that they do not speak for all of the rabbis of all of the sects. But they speak loud and clear to the nations and the peoples, by their actions and attitudes.

    Israel within the world is viewed as a closed community, which is not open to any outsiders. Jews do not generally actively seek to explain themselves, as it is viewed that they see no need to. Perhaps they should be more open, but I understand their caution. There is a lot of bad history here. This is unlike Christian proselytizing, which receives anyone with open arms. There is a lesson from the Torah here for the Jew.

  13. Gary Harper says:

    To finish:

    Do not look back to David and Solomon as your glory time, as it is the same as the history of the nations around you. You were warned by Samuel what would happen if you wedded the nation to an earthly king, in place of Hashem. And where are all those kings and nations today?

    The time in the wilderness was your true age of glory, where you walked in the presence of Hashem Himself, and all you needed was provided to you without your even having to ask for it. You were all made that much stronger for it.

    True Zionism is completely misunderstood. The world does not realize that it does not require conversion to Judaism, or conquest by the Jews, just right action by all before Hashem. It is strictly based upon the actions a man does pursuant to having a right heart and mind. This is the tragedy of secular Zionism; that it has been preempted as their own by a few apostate leaders, who truly believe that conquering and controlling the entire world is their destiny.

    When the peoples of the world hear of worldwide Zionism, they basically think of the philosophies of Marx and Engels, and the Bolshevik Revolution, and the ensuing horror that was the Soviet Union. Whether this has any basis in reality or not is inconsequential; it is still the perspective of the peoples of the world. The spiritual promise of worldwide Zionism, whether deserved or not being beside the point, has been given a permanent black eye by the bleak reality of the secular Communists. This must be unlearned.

    It is up to every Jew to talk to their goy friends who ask questions about Judaism, and to dispel all the misconceptions and the errant beliefs. Invite them to Synagogue, as an observer. They might even come. Most goy do not feel that they would in any way at all be welcome to set foot inside of a synagogue. You need to dispel that erroneous notion on your own. If a goy does come in, welcome him, show him where to stand. He is nervous enough as is. While the Jew does not feel that it is their business to try to make converts, how does any goy learn anything about conversion, if the Jew remains tight-lipped about his religion? Think about it.

    Most people are genuinely curious as to how such a small nation such as Israel could remain intact for 6,000 years under all of the pressures that it has faced, and could still be so influential on the world stage in the interim. It is up to all of you to dispel the suspicion of the “world-wide Zionist plot” to take over the entire world, and to show that Israel in actuality is a symbol to all nations, not an ultimate conquering ruler. You need to also let the goyim know that they are not in any way peripheral to or excluded from Hashem’s plan. Every person’s part, whether you are goy or Jew, is important to the plan. And in the end time, there will be neither Jew nor goy, only children of Hashem.

    And study the written Torah daily. Does anyone study Torah anymore? It is a sad thing, when the goyim study Torah more than do the Jews who live among them.

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