07 May 2017

What Are You Afraid Of?

12 Iyyar 5777
Day 27 of the Omer

Remember that childhood goad that never failed to get a rise out of you? 
"What's the matter? Are you chicken?" 
Are you afraid to do the forbidden? Are you afraid of getting into trouble? Are you afraid of consequences? You should be! 



It is the yetzer hara who tells us this today. Those who uphold the integrity of the Torah by maintaining that the practice of homosexuality is forbidden are immediately labeled homophobic. It's not fear of Heaven but fear of homosexuals that fuels this objection. And out of fear of being viewed as fearful of sin, people, even many who call themselves "religious", rush to excuse it and to be as open and tolerant as any avowed atheist. Some tactics of spiritual warfare are just too good to ever go out of style.

Now, there are those who say that those of us who oppose missionary activity are fearful of intereacting with Christians and the missionaries themselves take it up and say, "If you truly do have the truth then what do you have to be afraid of?" Well, I'll tell you. There is only one thing ever to be afraid of and that is offending our Master and King - our Creator - and the fear of desecrating His Name. It's what we call Yirat Shamayim - fear of Heaven.

And let me guarantee you this one thing. If you are not afraid now - "You will be. You will be."

Some of these renegade Jews who are rushing to collaborate with those who are committing crimes against the Most High are even insulting the faithful Yirei Shamayim by claiming we are afraid to interact with Christians because we still suffer from a galut mentality, i.e., we had to fear the Christians when we lived in their countries where we were at their mercy, but now that we are a free people in our own land, that fear is misplaced. 

But, the very opposite is true. When we are living in our Holy Land, we are held to a much higher standard. When we are living under Jewish rule, we are responsible to carry out Torah Law, unlike when we live in foreign lands.

Take this for example. When HKB"H sent us into exile to Bavel, He told us via the Prophet Yirmiyahu: 
"And seek the peace of the city where I have exiled you and pray for it to the Lord, for in its peace you shall have peace." (Yirmiyahu 29.7)
Yet, the Lord your God instructed via the Gadol HaDor of the returnees from Bavel the complete opposite when we are returning to and living in our own Land: 
"...and you shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity to eternity,...." (Ezra 9.13) 
Meaning those who want to live among us in their impurity and uncleanness. People everywhere are debating these issues, saying, "I think..." And then seeking validation, they inquire, "What do you think?" In case you haven't heard, please allow me to be the first to enlighten you. These matters are not open to personal opinions, feelings or popular consent. It is the Law laid down by God Almighty and if that thought does not make you tremble even a little bit, then you are in for quite a shock, because the day will come when you will be trembling. I can promise you that.
"...you shall smite them. You shall utterly destroy them; neither shall you make a covenant with them, nor be gracious to them....." (Devarim 7.2) 
It's talking about all those foreigners who worship other gods or pretend to worship the ONE God, but in ways He did not prescribe, and who, through social relationships, will turn the Jews' hearts away from Hashem.

"For he will turn away your son from following Me, and they will worship the gods of others, and the wrath of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you. But so shall you do to them: You shall demolish their altars and smash their monuments, and cut down their asherim trees, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord, your God: the Lord your God has chosen you to be His treasured people, out of all the peoples upon the face of the earth. (Devarim 7:4-6)

We are far, far from fulfilling these mitzvot as we have been commanded, substituting instead our own flawed reasoning and logic for the pure instruction of God. It's a corollary that if you engage with those who practice a false religion, you will be drawn into it. Another way of saying it is that "You can't lie down with dogs and not get up with fleas." But, the ego says, "It won't happen to me. I will be the exception to the rule." Yet, even Shlomo HaMelech erred in this area. Oy lanu! Wake up, Am Yisrael. Wake up!!