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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
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I’m Afraid


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

As I said, I smell the noxious fumes of pre-Hitler Europe. Once again the nations are bent on swallowing us, and, as always, there is no one to come to our aid, no one to even raise a voice on our behalf. Once again, we are reminded of the eternal words of our Torah: “They are a people that dwells alone and not reckoned among the nations.” We are like “one lamb surrounded by seventy wolves,” all to remind us that our salvation can come from only One source – our Heavenly Father.

Time and again G-d has impressed this Truth upon us. Not only did He engrave these words in our holy writ; not only did He send His prophets to remind us, but He constantly speaks to us loud and clear. And yet we fail to heed His messages, and that is what I fear. Our generation has seen darkness and light. We have seen the most painful, the most tragic, and also the most spectacular, the most miraculous.

I am not only referring to the Holocaust, but to the brutal designs of our neighbors who are united by only one purpose – to slaughter our people.  They surround our tiny state and encamp on its borders, but miraculously we have survived in this sea of murderers. But still we still fail to see the Hand of G-d; we refuse to hear His voice calling us.

Consider only the recent attack on Ashdod. On Shabbos afternoon as our people gathered to daven Minchah, Ashdod was hit by rockets. Such an onslaught could have resulted in catastrophe, but while there were some injuries, Ashdod held fast. Although a synagogue and a school suffered a direct hit, miraculously, the building was empty. This synagogue usually has a large minyan in one of the classrooms, but on that Shabbos, services did not take place. The gabbai was not feeling well and could not make the necessary preparations. Just think about it.

All those who came to see the site were awestruck. It was an open miracle. Had the gabbai not been ill, had services taken place, the tragedy would have been too painful to contemplate. And there was more. The place was covered with shattered glass and debris; everything in the room was damaged – but the Holy Ark and the Torah within remained untouched.

But there was still more. Just two hours later, another rocket hit a parking lot, setting cars afire, but the adjacent building escaped damage. Miraculously, the rocket exploded near a large gas tank. Had there been a direct hit, the result could have been catastrophic.

Coincidence or the Hand of G-d? Yet we fail to see it – we fail to understand.

Darkness and light in the very same breath, and once again, I ask, Coincidence or the Hand of G-d?

It is the blindness of our people that I fear.

When will we wake up? When will we don our priestly garments and fulfill our G-d-given destiny and be “a light unto all mankind?”

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