“Nine Days” Wake Up Call

This could not have been scripted any more appropriately.  Twelve days before Tisha B’av world leaders sign a “bad deal” with Iran which leaves room for Israel’s sworn enemy to achieve its goal of attaining the nuclear bomb.

We have no idea what lies ahead, but, this should no doubt be a wake-up call for us.

Should we now be more active in shul discussions of Israel’s imminent danger?   Should we write articles attacking the President of the United States for his continuous anti –semetic agenda?  Maybe we should rally for a joint government in Israel that will unify the country at a time of crisis.

While those things are important (except having the shul discussions), I assure you that the Master of the World intends for a different type of reaction from Am Yisrael to His wake up call.

What chutzpah!  Who does Miller think he is to talk like this!?

If the Torah, forecasting all of Jewish history, sometimes specifically and all the time generally, teaches us one thing, it teaches us that tragedy and bad things occur (especially in Eretz Yisrael) as a result of spiritual not political, not military or strategic shortcoming.

When is the Nation of Israel going to wake up and realize the rules of our game are completely different?  (See Or Hachayim’s commentary on the War with Midyan in Parshat Matot for a detailed explanation of practical manifestations of this concept.)

Were our temples destroyed and then our nation exiled from our land because we “didn’t play our cards right?”

Our Rabbis Z”L, in Yoma 9b, teach us otherwise.  As is well known, the Gemara states that the First Temple was destroyed because of the three basic sins of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed.  The Second Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred.  The Gemara asks, there wasn’t senseless hatred during the first temple!?  Answers the Gemara, based on a verse in Yechezkel (21:17), while there was sinat chinam in Bayit Rishon, it was only among the princes and nobleman of Israel.  During the period of churban Bayit Sheni, the sinat chinam had spread among the entire Jewish People.  Since the common folk among Klal Yisrael during the First Temple did not stumble in senseless hatred, the Second Temple was rebuilt soon thereafter.   Unfortunately, because of the widespread hatred during the Second Commonwealth, we still await the rebuilding of the Third Temple.

How should we maximize our time during the Nine Days?

Properly mourning over the destruction of the Temples and all of the other tragedies that have befallen us throughout Jewish history is a very difficult undertaking even for a few moments on Tisha B’av itself.  Therefore, I would place most our energies into thinking about how we have brought galut, exile from who we are meant to be, into our lives.  How has our sub-par conduct as Jews created a situation that Israel stands in danger externally and sits Templeless internally?

First and foremost, we must rid ourselves of any sinat chinam of a fellow Jew, whether it is hidden in our hearts or expressed outwardly in lashon hara or otherwise.  Both forms of the infection are toxic. We must rally ourselves into realizing that this is what counts most and make serious strides toward purifying our souls in this area.

Secondly, it is most difficult to make any changes when shmootz and negativity are filtering into us.  We will only be the product of that which enters inside.

Take for example the unique summer camp dynamic.  In many sleep-away camps quality activities and meaningful personal and religious growth fill the time of the campers and staff.  The negativities of news, filthy entertainment, obtrusive technology and even contact with the outside world are kept to a minimum.  (How Charedi!!!)  In outward and sometimes subtle ways people become more spiritual and imbued with Jewish values as opposed to being eaten up by the external world.  If only summer camp could be…

Why is the summer camp dynamic viewed like a dream, when for a Jew, it should be the reality twelve months a year and not two months.  Imagine if we knew the Torah and lived the Torah as well as we do during the summer parshiyot?

If that would be the case, the galut that we find ourselves in now would surely be less severe.

The bogus Iran deal is a fitting and timely wake-up call for us.  Let’s not squander it by misusing valuable time and energy that could be geared toward more elevated reflection, introspection and much needed teshuva.

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