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We are forgetting the lessons of the churban Beit HaMikdash, how we were not finished off by Rome, but destroyed ourselves through mindless hatred and zealotry. We bled each other dry through violence and bigotry until we were weak enough for Rome to come in and step all over our broken bodies. Rome did not defeat us - we defeated ourselves.
The Return Of The Sage When Rabi Simeon ben Shetach saw that he had found favor in the eyes of King Yannai (after he appointed him Nasi of the Sanhedrin), he approached the king and said: “If I have found favor in your eyes will you grant me a wish? Something sorely vexes me that only you can rectify.”
Hashem has many agents who do His bidding and bring about in the world the ends He desires. Sometimes the agent is rather unlikely, as when an evil person’s deeds bring about something beneficial. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that such was the case when Rivkah’s family bestowed upon her a blessing that in fact alluded to Israel’s ultimate elevation over the other nations, and Hashem’s ultimate kingship over all the world.
As we mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, it would be instructive to look back at the early reactions to the atrocity on the part of some prominent leftists. It's become something of a mantra on the left that the whole world initially sympathized with the U.S., and that America's image was so irredeemably tarnished only after the evil warmonger George W. Bush trashed the Constitution and sent the American military off to slaughter innocent Muslims in the interests of Halliburton and other capitalist behemoths.
Another horrific terrorist attack is perpetrated in Israel and we knew what to expect. A statement of outrage and condemnation from the White House, regrets from the Palestinian Authority, and from the UN a call for all sides to exercise restraint and remain committed to the (non-existent) "peace process." In short, yet another exercise in futility if ever there was one.
"It's not easy being labeled religious these days," a friend confessed to me a few weeks ago. My friend may be right - so-called religious people have committed some of humanity's most horrific crimes, casting a dark shadow on religion - but what is religion? What is the definition of a "religious person"? What was he referring to? Can religion and evil really co-exist?
Those of you who have heard me speak or who read my columns and books know that whenever I opine on a subject I try to base what I say or write on our Torah and the teachings of our sages. There are so many things taking place so rapidly in front of our eyes that before we can absorb one event, another one unfolds. This rapid succession is so overwhelming that it allows us no time to think.
There is nothing funny about Siona Benjamin's Megillas Esther (2010). Unlike some contemporary illuminated megillas that emphasize the absurd and outlandish nature of the corrupt Persian court and the buffoonish character of the king, Benjamin takes the Book of Esther quite seriously. She is obviously deeply sensitive to the terrible consequences of God's hester panim (hidden face) in our own time.
Need further proof of how hopelessly liberal the mainstream media really are? Just consider the coverage of the accusations of incivility and incitement hurled at Republicans and conservatives by Democrats and liberals in the aftermath of the December shootings in Tucson.