It was only a few months ago that things seemed so much better. It was just recently that we had the most friendly president toward our people and homeland in the White House. It was not too long ago that the Republicans controlled the Senate. It was not that long ago that Iran was weakened and in a place where they could not be the threat. But now they have quickly become one, increasing their nuclear capabilities and sponsoring terrorism once again. It was not too long ago that the government in Israel did not include Arabs in the majority who openly vow to push horrific policies, and was not run by the evil leftist people who want to obliterate religion.
But alas, we find ourselves in this new world. So much has changed, so rapidly. Hashem has turned the tables very swiftly, and the outlook seems bleak. I remember hearing in the name of the Chafetz Chaim that the world is on a spiral. While in the past things would not change that precipitously, now (in the early 1900’s) events, situations, and direction all change at a more rapid pace. This is because higher on the spiral it would take longer to reach the opposite side, whereas today, as we get lower on the spiral it is a very short distance to the other side.
Even with regards to wealth, the Chafetz Chaim remarked that a wealthy family would stay such for generations, where in his days already everything could be lost overnight. How much more do we find this in our times.
Today wealth is created and lost in the same day. And today we lived through the transition of power in the United States from one of the greatest presidencies and governments our people ever enjoyed, to one of the absolute worsts. We went from a president who recognized Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel and moved the embassy there, to one where the president is an embarrassment at best, and a disaster with regards to policies. We went from a government who assured Israel she would not be attacked and annihilated, to one that immediately rebuilds all the damage Israel did while defending herself from the thousands of rockets fired at her cities. What message is the new government broadcasting to our enemies?
We went from a government in Israel who stood for so many of the right things, to one that embraces leftists and Arabs.
We are approaching the period of the year that has been previously doomed for disaster. But this does not have to continue. The Maharsha in Bechoros 8b says that there are two 21-day periods during the year that have tremendous potential for kaparah: the 21 days between Rosh Hashanah and Hoshanah Rabbah, and the 21 days between Shivah Asar B’Tammuz and Tisha B’Av.
During the time between Rosh Hashanah and Hoshanah Rabbah, the kaparah is attainable through great introspection, avodah, Yom Tov, and simcha. During the time between Shivah Asar B’Tammuz and Tisha B’Av, the kaparah can come from focusing on the tzaros and the galus. Though both times have the potential for the same kaparah, one is through a zman of brightness, and one is through a zman of darkness.
As we pointed out, a few months ago the world was a different place. And overnight everything has changed. It is hard not to see the yad Hashem behind all this. We must pray that the worrisome times we find ourselves in now end quickly, and we return to an even greater period, one that is governed by malchus beis Dovid with a Beis Hamikdash and the return of the open revelation of the Shechina, amen.