VOLUME 95 NUMBER 5
May 7, 2021
IYAR 25, 5781
Candlelighting Time 7:42 PM
Of course, the question is rhetorical. We are near the end. However, the near the end of what? Innocent people died tragically in a landslide at Meron, at one of the holiest sites in our nation. Are we to just blame those in charge of the event and let them assume responsibility for this calamity and then just go on with our regular humdrum lives? Perhaps we should examine what, if any, blame we should shoulder for this terrible misfortune. The next query is why am I to blame for something which occurred on the other side of the world? That question is valid, and we will attempt to address an appropriate response.
Rav Meir Simcha in his seminal work on Chumash presents a critical analysis of our nation describing the ordeals we encountered in our exiles and how we resolved them. As we bounced around from nation to nation, after the dusts settled, we eventually put down roots and re-established ourselves. Initially we struggled to adjust to the alien culture, learning how to survive in a foreign atmosphere, readjusting our moral compass so as not to forsake the teachings and mores of our illustrious ancestors. Eventually, we stabilized and began to successfully deal with our surroundings in our finances, overcoming the language barrier and promoting the ongoing allegiance to our religious ideals.
However, eventually, after we reinstituted our infrastructure with various educational and religious institutions, then we began to believe that our forebears did not have the projected vision to realize what to do in this novel environment. Therefore, we searched for innovative forms of re-configuring our communities, perhaps even ignoring or discarding certain time-tested avenues of approach. We felt that we could surpass the success of the earlier generations. With that sense of creativity came our eventual doom. Would we only have paid better attention and heeded the teachings and legacy that was bequeathed to us. Instead, we were smarter than those who preceded us, and we charted a new course unbeknownst to them and spelling out the route of our next exile.
Perhaps the question of the hour is what we were indeed doing wrong? We may look askance at this, but we need to ask ourselves the following. We have gone through a very difficult set of circumstances due to the Covid-19 virus. Surely, we realize that this global affliction was ordained by Hashem. Did we glean any life-changing lessons from this situation?
Have we changed even slightly that we may proclaim that yes, we have confronted the enemy and he is ours. Do we respect our shuls more so than we used to? Have we improved our davening? Our relationships with others, have they become enhanced? If the answer is negative to any of these questions and certainly if the answer is no to all of them, then we need some time of introspection, to realize what we should have done differently and therefore we would have been significantly altered people.
It would behoove us to see through the fog and truly accept, not just with lip service, but with a deep sense of candor, that our lives cannot resume their original course. Rather we need to reassess and reroute our lives to a higher plateau of servitude to Hashem.
Of course, we need to follow medical advice and counseling and receive our vaccinations. But are we going to also believe that the vaccinations can be effective without
Divine assistance? How much longer can we delete Hashem from our reality and expect that we will merit Divine mercy and protection? And last but not least, are we going to blame the Israeli government for the loss of our brothers in Israel or are we going to face the true reality of its cause?
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
Even a slave is prohibited from emulating his master who may transgress Torah law. Certainly, if one has lapsed and sinned, he cannot condone future errors assuming that anyway he has veered off the beaten path and therefore he may continue to ignore the Torah. CHIFETZ CHAIM