Let’s Be Real – Parshas Shelach 5784

We are all reeling from the recent tragedies that befell our communities. The tragedies that transpired are beyond words and too painful to discuss. The truth is that although these tragedies are very extreme, we need to realize that there is so much tzaros going on.

Whether it’s the frequent car/scooter accidents that happen perhaps daily r”l, or the constant news that we keep hearing about sickness.. Just recently my friend told me that his healthy father has been diagnosed r”l. We keep hearing about Yidden passing on, young and old. And how can we forget the recent passing of one of the ziknei hador Harav Hatzaddik Rav Moshe Wolfson zt”l.

What about all the young adults who are waiting for their Shidduchim? What about the divorce rate that keeps rising? What about the children who have a hard time getting into schools? What about parents that are challenged with difficult children?

What about our holy brothers and sisters who are being challenged greatly, and are losing their battles as they fall into the hands of the Yetzer Hara? What about the ensnaring web of the internet that many people are drowning in?

What about the horrific decree that the so called Israeli government decreed on the bachurim to serve in the army and to cut the funding to Yeshivos? What about the ongoing war in Eretz Yisroel, and the war with Hezbollah that seems about to become full blown r”l?

What about anti-semitism that is rampant, as we keep hearing crazy stories r”l. Many people are trying to fight it, but it just backfires as history keeps repeating itself.

We can go on and on about the problems [and perhaps we should], but the point here is not chas v’shalom to become negative or to become despondent with our situation. Rather, we are here to relay a message, which we will bring out with a Mashal.

There was one a boat that got caught in a storm. After a mighty struggle, it succumbed to the fierce storm as the ship plunged to the bottom. Many passengers didn’t make it, but a group of them got a hold of planks of wood, floated away from the shipwreck, and managed to get to a nearby island.

Realizing that they were stranded, and no one was coming for them, they started working on their survival. First they built themselves sturdy cabins to live in. Then they started searching for food and other vital things for their survival. Eventually they got more sophisticated and they built larger homes.

After a while later they built a school and a grocery store (that mainly sold fish and other wild fruits and vegetables) and offices, and they were very proud of their efficiency.

Unfortunately, as time progressed, difficult challenges were brewing as well. Wild animals started attacking them, and they didn’t have weapons to fight them off. Some of the people started looting, and they didn’t have police. Boys were being influenced by some rotten apples and were revolting, and so on.

Some unknown sickness started spreading amongst the people and they didn’t know how to cure it. They were also not equipped with the proper medical equipment to treat the sick.

One fine day a storm hit near the island and water overflowed onto the island causing tremendous flooding. People escaped to the higher parts of the island to avoid the heavy flooding.

Realizing that things were getting out of hand, the people formed a committee to try to tackle the many problems that were facing their “community”. One day, they called an emergency meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to address how to combat their major challenges. Some people got up and said that we have to make weapons to fight off the animals. Another suggested that they build a wall around the island. When they spoke about the crime that was rising, one person suggested to build a jail, while another said that they need to make rules and regulations for their community, as there is a great lack of discipline. Then they discussed the sicknesses that were spreading, and one person suggested that they build a hospital and they should work on developing medicine. Then they started discussing the flooding that perhaps they should be working on building a dam to prevent the ocean from flowing in.

As the discussion started getting more heated, one person that was sitting there quietly got up and asked for undivided attention. He began, “I don’t understand what this whole meeting is all about. I have one solution that solves it all. Everyone looked at him with awe. Instead of working on all this, let’s build a boat together and get out of here. We need to go back home.” Needless to say, he got a standing ovation.

My friends, this is almost a replica of our situation. Seventy years ago we were hit by a tremendous storm, better known as the Holocaust. Many people did not make it, as they drowned in that fierce storm Hy”d. However, a small group grabbed onto a raft and they floated to an island, better known as America. With fierce determination they opened up yeshivos, shuls, and they rebuilt Klal Yisroel as they struggled to survive Galus America.

However, over the years, problems of Galus America began to crop up. Some problems came as a result of our great freedom and from the influences that society has to offer. I don’t have to elaborate as we all know about many of them. Especially the intermarriage, which is a tragedy beyond all tragedies.

Over the past few years, the problems started escalating drastically, both spiritually and physically. Now with the latest technology, things have turned for the worse and we grapple with solutions. How can we solve our many problems that we are facing, and that includes Eretz Yisroel, as well. They are our fellow brothers after all.

There are four different kinds of responses to our current situation.

1. Some people just clam up and they don’t want to hear anything about it. “There is nothing we can do about it,” they say. “It is what it is, and that’s it.”

2. Some people are running around frantically trying to solve all these problems. They have meetings and they try all different ways to solve the problems.

3. Some people are just oblivious to the world’s problems as they are enveloped in their busy life. Either they are busy at work or with Chessed or even they are learning all day.

4. Some people want to maintain a positive attitude in life so they just tune out from all the negativity in the world. They just want to be happy and feel the love of Hashem in their life.

The question is, are any of these approaches correct? Obviously, the first approach is wrong, as they refuse to face reality. If someone has a problem and he refuses to work on it that is called ייאוש, which is totally wrong at its root.

The other three approaches are not totally wrong as they are involved in serving Hashem. Whether it’s learning, Chessed, working or being positive and happy with Hashem’s world.

However, they are all missing one piece to the puzzle. Since there is lots of pain in Klal Yisroel and the Shechina is in pain as so many have fallen and Hashem’s home lays in ruin, we cannot be totally complacent and oblivious as if everything is okay. We need to have the attitude of the man in the Mashal that we need build a ship to get back home. True, that until the ship is built we need to try to help alleviate the situation, but our attitude is “טאטעלע נעם אונז שוין אהיים”.

The truth is that we are living at a time that the ship is already built and its honking its horn. The ship is just waiting for the passengers to come. We need to head back to the ship already.

How do we head to the ship? We cannot go until the Captain [Hashem] invites us back to the ship. We need to beg Hashem to take us back, because we are waiting to return to our home, Eretz Yisroel.

The מרגלים and the Jewish nation showed a lack of chashivus for Eretz Yisroel, and as a result, they lost the privilege to enter Eretz Yisroel. This would imply that if we show a chashivus for Eretz Yisroel then Hashem will surely bring us back swiftly to Eretz Yisroel on the wings of an eagle.

Let us show our chashivus. For starters, let us support the people who are living in Eretz Yisroel with great mesiras nefesh. When we support them with our money, we are showing them that we endorse their mesiras nefesh that they have by living there. This gives us a tremendous zechus.

Perhaps we can say peshat in the famous words of the Navi ציון במשפט תפדה – Those who are Moser Nefesh for Eretz Yisroel and those who yearned for Tzion will be rightfully redeemed. ושבי-ה בצדקה and those who are captives in the grips of galus will be redeemed in the zechus that they support Eretz Yisroel.

At this time we should beg Hashem during davening, bentching and mimkomcha [and anytime] to bring us back home so that His name should be exalted once again in the world, as we cry out ותמלך עלינו כי מחכים אנחנו לך מתי תמלך בציון בקרוב בימינו לעולם ועד תשכון.

גוט שבת, פנחס הלוי דאפפעלט

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Very good article but why does the author say ‘We cannot go until the Captain [Hashem] invites us back to the ship’. Maybe He has invited us already? Millions have gone back. Why do we have to wait for the eagle? Of course we can go, it’s just that many are entrenched in their comforts and settled way of life, let’s be honest with ourselves…

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