08 August 2010

Items of Interest

Interesting that today's main headline in the American news is the execution of six Western missionaries by the Taliban. I say interesting because this week's parsha, Parshat Re'eh, instructs us as follows:

(Devarim 13:7-12 )...If your brother, the son of your mother, tempts you in secret or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your embrace, or your friend, who is as your own soul saying, "Let us go and worship other gods, which neither you, nor your forefathers have known." Of the gods of the peoples around you, [whether] near to you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; You shall not desire him, and you shall not hearken to him; neither shall you pity him, have mercy upon him, nor shield him. But you shall surely kill him, your hand shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones so that he dies, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And all Israel shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer do any evil such as this in your midst.

This is a very difficult topic, but we can not allow ourselves to think that we will be more merciful than our Creator. We are obligated under the covenant to obey His instructions explicitly. If we want to prepare for Mashiach, we need to look seriously at our own willingness to live with the consequences of a restored Torah regime and a rebuilt Beit HaMikdash.
Of course, the western press highlights the humanitarian self-sacrifice of these workers and assures us that they were non-proselytizing. But, all one has to do is go to a website or a blog where such people discuss their experiences abroad in the "mission field" and you will immediately read the reports of their successes in wooing people over to their false god. And their motives are not so selfless after all as this is how they believe that they earn their Olam Haba.
To be enslaved to a false religion and to lead others astray is a tragedy all around.
Then, for the second Shabbat in a row, a high-profile American Jew has made a very public desecration of the Shabbat.

"Elena Kagan was sworn in Saturday as the 112th justice and fourth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court."
Last Shabbat Marc Mezvinsky wore a tallit and stood under a quasi-chuppah and intermarried with a shiksa. If I were a Jew living in America I would duck and cover about this time. Just how much more is Hashem going to continue to take?

Compare that to this amazing story about the "Mezuzah Rebbe," Rav Moshe ben Tov, who was niftar last week. It is taken from the 17 Av 5770 issue of Mishpacha magazine as told by Reb Yomtov Friedman of Flatbush...
"The first time he came to America, he came not as a poel yeshuos but to be machazek Yidden, to inspire them to cherish the mitzvah of mezuzah. We picked him up at the airport, and he spoke words of Torah throughout our trip to Brooklyn. We were amazed: an older man, on his first trip to America, yet the skyline and passing scenery meant nothing to him. His eyes were lowered until we reached our home. My wife had prepared refreshments for him, but he did not eat. 'If from Shamayim they arranged that I should have to leave Eretz Yisrael,' he explained, 'then there must be some area in which I need tikun, so I am fasting today, the day I left Eretz Yisrael.' "
Marrying into the top of goyische American society or attaining the top of the political ladder in the American government is just so much ashes and bitterness when compared to the loftiness of this Yerushalmi Tzadik's soul, may his memory forever be a blessing.
Shavua tov!