24 August 2014

Let's Be Honest and Straighforward

28 Menachem Av 5774

The truth only sounds harsh to ears that have been corrupted by the steady flow of this world's lies upon them. In this generation, it is very difficult to hear the truth and to recognize the truth when you hear it. 

Aliyah is a mitzvah. We don't change the truth of the Torah just because something is hard and a lot of people would like to be let off the hook for it.

Yes, it's a hard mitzvah and impossible for some people to perform, due to their own shortcomings and not due to any lack in Hashem or the Torah itself, G-d forbid!. But, that does not give us permission to trivialize it and excuse people from their responsibilities and obligations.

All of our prophets condemned the "smooth talkers" - those who worried more about placating feelings rather than faithfully representing the truth.

The Nazis cared nothing for the sensitive feelings of Jews and neither does ISIS. Telling you the truth may save your life, but nothing is to be gained by obfuscating it.

I say "feelings", but what we're really talking about is the fragile ego, which is really anything but fragile.

This generation is so full of ego, it can't accept rebuke on any level at all. It can't humbly acknowledge the truth has been spoken if it goes against the grain because that would bring shame upon the guilty and God knows (Oh yes, He certainly knows!) that this generation can not be allowed to feel shame of any kind. It would be detrimental to their 'fragile' ego and lower their sense of self-worth. 

Well, this is an idol of contemporary culture and if we don't smash it ourselves, Hashem will do it for us. Nothing so stands in the way of true teshuvah than the ego and an inflated sense of self-worth. We may parrot "ashamnu," but we don't really mean it. When we say "ayn od milevado" that means US, too. We are as nothing before Him!!

Now, a word to those who use their children for an excuse not to make aliyah. Ponder this...

"As for your infants, of whom you said that they will be as spoils, I will bring them [there], and they will come to know the Land which You despised." (Bamidbar 14:31)

When Hashem commands us to enter Eretz Yisrael, we are not allowed to make a cheshbon about whether it will be better for the children or not. Ours is but to obey and leave the cheshbon to Hashem whose children they are even more than yours.

Avraham Avinu was tested by his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Yitzchak at the request of HKB"H. Because he succeeded in this trial, all of his progeny have the ablity to succeed at it as well.

As Jews, we are not allowed to put anything ahead of Hashem in our love or devotion - even our children and spouses. (That's why the halachah says that one may divorce a spouse if they will not accompany us to Eretz Yisrael.)

A Jewish couple is allowed to adopt a gentile baby and convert it and raise it as a Jew. Why? Because it is understood that this will benefit the child's neshamah. But, does that guarantee that the child will grow up to be a good and observant Jew? The parents made the best decision for the child and what he does with the future he's been handed is between that neshamah and its Creator. It's the same with children who have been brought on aliyah to Eretz Yisrael. It is understood that this is the best place for every Jewish neshamah, but does that guarantee that every Jewish neshamah will thrive here? The parents made the best decision, but it's up to that neshamah to cling to HKB"H and make a success of his life (in the way that the Torah defines success.)

For a child who "goes off the derech" in Eretz Yisrael, it must be understood that this is due to a flaw in their neshamah that was uncovered and exposed by the kedushah that resides here. The idea that this would not have happened in chu"l doesn't mean the flaw wasn't there, it just points up the fact that the tumah of chu"l would allow this flawed neshamah to live a whole lifetime of religious pretense.

As for salving the conscience of the yordim, again this is just ego. Why is it such a problem to admit that it was a personal failure and get up and try again. Instead, people want to make all kinds of justifications of why this was really a good decision. People make mistakes. No one who ever lived did not make a mistake - some bigger and some smaller, but mistakes need to be rectified, not excused. We need to learn from them and move on to the next level. 

I'm a nurse. If this makes you feel like the bandage has just been ripped off in one quick, fluid motion, so be it. This bandage is dirty and needs to be changed and the sore spot underneath needs fresh air to heal. Sometimes, things have to hurt before they can be made better.