This world is home to a constant battle between good and evil. The pasuk tells us that Yaakov Avinu and Eisav quarreled in their mother’s womb, and this battle has been going on ever since. Rav Yeruchem Levovitz, the Mirrer mashgiach, said that in the end of days the power of evil will have tremendous capability.
One example of this battle is anti-Semitism. Rav Yeruchem says that anti-Semitism is one of the manifestations of the hatred that evil has for good. Anti-Semitism is not a new phenomenon by any means. It is as old as the Jewish nation. The recent surge in anti-Semitism in America and around the globe is not novel in nature; but it is breaking the norm that we have recently become accustomed to. We would be naïve if we didn’t pay attention to these latest versions of anti-Semitic attacks and seek to prevent them from becoming any more prevalent.
Another crucial point to note is which political party is embracing these attacks and, in a sense, bringing them about and justifying them: and that is of course the Democratic Party. Democratic congresswomen have made several extremely offensive remarks and have yet to be rebuked in a significant manner. Not properly condemning such statements or justifying them leads others to carry out the subsequent action: physical attacks.
We are primarily in the galus of Eisav. (I say primarily because it is also the galus of Yishmael.) How are we to combat the forces of evil of Eisav in this world? Needless to say, we must do our hishtadlus of security, whatever it entails, and actively work with law enforcement officials to ensure these attacks are prevented, and hate filled comments cease to spew from politicians. But as we know, that is not all we must do to battle evil.
Rashi in Bereishis 30:25 tells us that when Yosef was born, Yaakov felt confident enough to leave Lavan’s house and confront Eisav. Rashi explains that this is because the house of Yaakov is compared to a fire and Eisav to straw. However, a fire needs flames, otherwise it cannot travel. Yosef represents flames. Therefore, when he was born, Yaakov felt confident that he could now encounter Eisav.
The Gemara in Kiddushin 30b says that Hashem created a yetzer hara, and He created the Torah as its antidote. The fire of Torah can burn the straw house that is the illusions of this world. The Ramchal writes in Derech Eitz Chaim that Torah is unlike any other discipline. Other studies are simply the pursuit of knowledge. Learning Torah, on the other hand, actually spiritually uplifts a person. He continues and explains that this is because Torah is not simply compared to fire; the Torah is an actual fire. He explains that this is because Torah is light, just as fire is light, and when a person learns Torah it enters his heart and lights it up and lifts it to spiritual heights and leaves a tremendous impression on one’s heart.
In order for Torah to ignite a flame there is one prerequisite: the one learning must have yiras Shamayim. At Har Sinai, Klal Yisrael became fearful of Hashem and that ignited their flames of Torah. The Ramban in the beginning of Parshas Terumah says that the flames of this fire were continuously fueled via the Mishkan, and then later via the Beis Hamikdash. The Gemara in Bava Basra 21a says that when one would come to the Beis Hamikdash he would be inspired with tremendous yiras Shamayim. One was able to feel Hashem with his senses.
How can we preserve this fire today when there is hardly a remembrance of the Beis Hamikdash? The Gemara says that since the churban, Hashem has no place in this world, except for the four amos of halachah. After the churban, Hashem put more potential into the Torah. It is that force that we must tap into to combat evil. It was this that enabled Klal Yisrael to endure this long galus. And by increasing learning Torah combined with our fear of Heaven we will continue to persevere through the remainder of the galus, and see it through until the final redemption, may it come speedily in our times, amen.