web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Wake-Up Call


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

A basic tenet of our faith is that there are no random occurrences. The Hebrew word “mikreh” – something that happens coincidentally, also spells the words “karah me’HaShem” – happened by the will of G-d. To be sure, we never know definitive reasons for occurrences - they are beyond the scope of our human minds. But one thing is certain - nothing, but nothing, happens capriciously. It therefore behooves us to at least make an attempt to listen and try to discern the meaning of the messages that HaShem is sending us.

The blackout that hit New York came and passed, and people dismissed it as yet another indication of human error and mishap. No doubt it was all that, but the very fact that our high-tech society experienced a breakdown befitting a third world country should give us all pause. It should make us conscious of our vulnerability, and compel us to acknowledge “Eyn od milvado” – “There is no power except for G-d.”

From time immemorial, our sages taught us “ma’aseh avos, siman labanim” – “Whatever happened to our forefathers is a sign to their children.” This means that Jewish history is one big re-play. “K’yemei tzescha m’Eretz Mitzraim arenu niflaos” – “As in the days when you left the land of Egypt, I will show you wonders” (Micah 7:15).

Even as the plagues brought the mighty Egyptian Empire to its knees, so has 9/11 shattered our confidence. Our omnipotence, our sense of security has been forever shaken. Our lives have become unstable - fear and terror lurk everywhere. Our environment, the land, the sea, the very air have become permeated with danger, calling to mind those plagues of long ago. Certainly, there has been enough blood; certainly we have seen pestilence - bizarre diseases that have stymied our medical experts – from West Nile to SARS, and we were even witness to the plagues of wild beasts. Who can forget the tragedy that took place on a summer morning last year, when a wild bear wandered into a bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains and boldly snatched a newborn infant from her carriage. When we read about it in the newspapers, we all recoiled in horror. Things like that are not supposed to happen. The police declared that something so bizarre had never occurred in the history of New York.

And now, we were beset by the plague of darkness. The power failure that shrouded so many states in darkness was unparalleled in its intensity, in its scope, and in its duration. Three days passed before light was restored to all the states and communities that had been affected. Paradoxically, the plague of darkness which enveloped Egypt also lasted three days. Coincidence? Happenstance (mikreh) or under Hashem’s direction (koreh m’HaShem)?

Wake up calls come to us not only through national and global disasters – they come in all shapes and forms. Recently, a very popular TV show that reflects the promiscuousness and immorality of our society aired an episode in which the dialogue sent forth a message to the Jewish community. The very fact that such a Jewish focus was played out on this program is in and of itself odd since the show is geared to mainstream America. But HaShem finds His vehicles through which to send us His messages.

In a past column, I already referred to this episode: Charlotte, an elegant Episcopalian WASP, confronts her Jewish boyfriend Harry over dinner and asks why they can’t get married ? to which Harry responds that he can’t marry out of his faith.

“So why did you order pork chops?” Charlotte challenges.

“I’m Conservative,” Harry answers matter-of factly.

This exchange drew many protests from the Conservative movement, but the message was unmistakable. Jews who label themselves Conservative and thereby justify their violation of the commandments were given a wake-up call, as were the leaders of the Conservative movement who had to come to grips with the fact that, willy nilly, they had given this license to breach the commandments.

And now, from the same series, yet another episode emanated. Charlotte converts – and she does it all by the book. She embraces her new-found faith and enthusiastically prepares a beautiful Shabbos dinner, but when Harry comes home, he goes straight to the TV and switches on the Mets game.

Charlotte becomes irate. “I gave up J”C for you, and you can’t even give up the Mets?” she challenges.

Charlotte’s question hangs in the air. Multitudes of Jews who never hear the voice of Torah, never open a Chumash or a Siddur, who never experience the sanctity of Shabbos, but who religiously watch this program, were given a wake-up call. The question that remains of course is - were they listening? Did they get it? Did they hear the call of Shabbos? Did they hear the call of their forebears who, throughout the millennia, sacrificed for the sanctity of Shabbos, or will they continue to watch the Mets game?

How do you awaken a spiritually comatose people from their stupor? How do you make them understand that Saturday is Shabbos?

Perhaps the very fact that it was a sports event for which Harry gave up Shabbos sends yet another message. Ours is a culture that is sports-addicted, so perhaps it is through sports that the “Harrys” of our generation can be made to perceive the tragic consequences of their assimilation.

Even the best of teams will fade away and die if it has only fans but no players. Similarly, those who are only Jewish fans and not players must confront their Jewish mortality. We are Jews by virtue of our Torah, by virtue of our Covenant, by virtue of our faith in HaShem. If the “Harrys” want their teams to win, they will have to become good players who keep in shape through the study of Torah, observance of mitzvot and genuine prayer.

If the “Harrys” wish to live as Jews and impart a heritage to future generations, they can no longer remain mere spectators, but must take to the field.

That is the message of Chodesh Elul that we must all take to heart. We are living in incredible times, times that will usher in, please G-d, the days of Messiah. Let us all rise to the occasion and become great players for our people, for our G-d.

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 “Wake-Up Call”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ferguson, Missouri: rioting against racism, encouraging murder
The Foul Stench of the Ferguson Fallout
Latest Judaism Stories
Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

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

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

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?

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/wake-up-call/2003/10/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: