June 14, 2024
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June 14, 2024
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The Sadigura Rebba’s son once asked him, “On the one hand, it’s so clear that we are living during the generation of geula (redemption), but why don’t we see it more explicitly?”

His father responded, “In Sefer Yechezkel, we see that at the time of the churban (destruction) that the Shechina left Yerushalayim in stages. The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah speaks about ten stages. So, too, when the Shechina returns down to us, it returns slowly.”

The Rebbe’s son asked, “And what stage are we at?” The Rebbe responded, “It has come down to the level of our heads.” “In that case, why don’t we see it?” asked his son. The Rebbe responded, “Because we are bent over. If we stood up straight, we’d see the geula clearly.”

At its core, the lesson of the Sadigura Rebbe, as relayed by Rav Zvi Rimon, highlights life’s ultimate reality. Beneath the mask of nature lies a universe of precision and purpose under the total control of The Creator. One who lives attuned to the deeper reality can sense higher messages being transmitted amidst the rhythm of daily life.

In the aftermath of October 7, there have been endless theories regarding the events of that tragic day. Equally mystifying has been the seemingly upside down reaction and world-wide explosion of antisemitism in the months since that fateful day. What is the message behind the madness?

Teaneck’s own Rabbi Ephraim Simon shared a fascinating teaching from the sefer, “Sarei Alafim,” by Rav Ephraim Twersky. He asks why Hashem instructs Klal Yisrael (in Vayikra 18:3) not to follow “Kima’aseh Eretz Mitzrayim” that they had departed from or “Ma’aseh Eretz Canaan” that they were headed to. It would have made more sense to simply list the prohibitions that they shouldn’t follow. What deeper message is being taught when the Torah instead uses the phrases, “like the ways of the land of Egypt where you departed from” and “like the ways of the land of Canaan that you are headed to?”

Rabbi Simon and Rav Twersky explain that in life we are often focused on the task that awaits us when we arrive at our next destination (physical or spiritual), without giving much consideration to the journey in between. The example Rabbi Simon uses is getting stuck in traffic on the way to the airport. Stress instantly sets in upon the realization that an on-time arrival is in direct conflict with the traffic we find ourselves sitting in.

The lesson that the Torah is teaching with its seemingly peculiar choice of words is that the journey itself, the situation that we find ourselves in right now, is equally, if not even more Important, than the destination itself. We may think that the airport is our destination, but perhaps the whole reason Hashem arranged our need to fly was ultimately for the purpose of sitting in traffic and seeing how we handle adversity. Perhaps what initially seemed to be the insignificant aspect of the journey was in reality the journey’s ultimate purpose!

Rabbi Simon shared the remarkable story of an Israeli artist hired to paint various colorful themes in many of the country’s bomb shelters. Ironically, following the attacks of October 7, that artist was contacted by emergency first responders in Israel as he was uniquely able to identify the location of people hiding in each shelter based on the description of the painted mural inside. That Israeli artist may have thought that his whole tachlis (purpose) in life was to be an artist when the reality may be that he possessed artistic talents as a tool to achieve his real life’s purpose of saving people on October 7!

In the annals of history, we see the rise of the Ancient Egyptians, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the ancient Greeks, the Crusaders, the Nazis and so many other enemies (may their names be erased) of the Jews before they faded into oblivion. History will similarly judge this minority of terrorists, evil-doers and vile antisemites, the ignorant and hateful campus demonstrators and all of the many across the globe whose overt or covert Jew hatred has now been unmasked. History will also speak about the silent majority, otherwise good people, who failed to act and speak up amidst the global avalanche of vicious distortion. Conversely, history will recall the morally righteous who bravely stood up, spoke out and defended Israel and the Jewish community amidst the brutal global onslaught.

Perhaps the silver lining rests within our Jewish community itself. Increased political activism on behalf of Israel and the Jewish community, a renewed emphasis on aliyah, passionate counter-protests and so many other virtuous activities in defense of Israel and the Jewish community will take their rightful place in history.

Ultimately, however, history’s judgment will come knocking on our doors as well. Have we heard the journey’s call? Have we recognized our ultimate purpose amidst these dark seven and a half months separating our “Mitzrayim” and the redemption of our “Canaan”? Have we responded by approaching or by stepping back from our Creator? Have we increased our chesed, our tzedakah, our Torah learning and our minyan attendance? Have we embraced what has ultimately preserved us throughout history? Are we appreciating our differences as Torah Jews? Or are we recoiling from those differences and foolishly vanishing into the melting pot of society?

A jealous world is screaming from the rooftops reminding us that we are different. Are we listening? History will judge.


Daniel Gibber is a longtime resident of Teaneck and is a VP of Sales at Deb El Food Products. In addition to learning as much Torah as he can, he is also privileged to speak periodically on the topic of emunah and be involved in Jewish outreach through Olami Manhattan. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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