Thursday, October 22, 2009

Self Destruction

Am Yisrael has historically caused ourselves much destruction and problems. All of our problems are self-inflicted, since if we clung to Hashem properly, He would never have sent us any problems or "bad" decrees. The name a few - the 40 years in the desert, the destruction of both Batei Mikdash, the subsequent Galuyot that we are still suffering from and all that comes with it, and dare I say it- the Holocaust too.

We might not always know exactly what we did wrong, especially since we have lost our Prophets and Sanhedrin; but we do know that we are not perfect and sadly have strayed far from our connection to Hashem. Connection to Hashem = everything wonderful; separation from Hashem = really scary c"v.

When spiritual deficiencies cause physical punishment is understandable. Yet, when the spiritual deficiencies cause physical self-destruction, it is even more amazing. I refer to the situation Israel is facing - specifically with hamas. The self-destruction is apparent to anyone with open eyes. If one has read Rabbi Meir Kahane, he predicted today's situation long ago.

The Israeli Army (IDF) believes in the value of human life - understandable, commendable. They claim it to be a Jewish trait from the Torah - that is not the whole story however. The Torah does not condone putting Jews in danger to protect our enemies' lives. What the IDF does is above and beyond what 'ANY army in the history of warfare has ever done', yet that has not given them an inch of leverage with the UN or anyone else. Instead, the recently released Goldstone report found fault with the IDF during Operation Cast Lead in precisely what the IDF was careful to avoid - unnecessary human casualties.

Today we know that if a child is given a bad title (dumb, stealer, late, untidy) they will take that role soon enough. There is no reason for them to try to impress the other party, if they are not recognized for it. Unfortunately this lesson in self-destruction, Israel has yet to learn. Had they razed the West Bank after issuing warnings and dropping 2 million leaflets, the world would have issued the same scathing reports - big deal. They got it anyway, even though they worked so hard to prevent the casualties. Had they denied entry of aid into their enemies hands, they would have been condemned nonetheless, but they would have starved out their enemy.

The scary thing is that they knew this from the start, yet continued to behave as they did. The world would never give them any leeway - simply because they are Jewish and the world hates us all. Some might even respect a country who properly defends itself. But that was not what was done.

Israel might be thinking they are doing the "right" thing, or the "moral" thing or the "Torah" thing. But those questions are decided by the Torah and its professionals - the Rabbis. A unlearned one cannot be pious (Pirke Avot) - simply, because he does not know what to do or how to do it, what piety can he attain?

Today, it is clear - Hashem wants more from us. We watch and wait as this same situation unfolds with Iran. Will Israel do what's right, what's REALLY right, or what the world wants them to do? (The world basically wants Israel to paint a big bullseye to help Iran aim a nuclear missile to the correct position, c"v.) As we have seen historically, the options on the table may be many, but if we forget for a second WHO is really moving the chess pieces, we become the losers, c"v. If one thinks they are running the show themselves, their punishment is that Hashem let's him do just that. Which usually results in the kind of self-destruction we mentioned above.

May we all merit to see Hashem's light shine upon us and show us the correct path in EVERY facet of our lives, so that we shall not falter c"v for even a moment. We can then merit the coming of Mashiach, quickly, amazingly and peacefully!

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