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Chapter Fifty-Eight

We have been forced to wear a cloak woven of anti-Semitism for so long that we find it an almost comfortable fit. Despite its coarse and rough texture, it feels almost comforting, even seems to be the answer to our many questions. But it is imperative that we know from whence our enemies are coming and how we as individuals can rise above them.

You may ask, “What can one small person do in the face of such misguided hate?” Whole nations have turned their collective backs on the Jewish people, not once or twice, but consistently. Despite all of the good that we have shared with humanity, they still hold us in contempt.

Time and again we have allowed our wishful hearts to become lulled into believing that finally it will all end; for once, they see the truth, and they will allow us our little space and our dignity. But we are proven wrong each time, and we were mistaken to hope otherwise. Esav hates Yaakov, and it doesn’t matter if Esav’s hatred is for religious reasons, cultural ones, or just sheer jealousy. Civilized nations are civilized only when speaking of non-Jewish victims. They can carve up whole continents with false borders whenever they please. They come with entire armies to help save despotic regimes that are sitting on vast oil deposits. But they won’t allow the Jews to retain their rightful inheritance of a small sliver of desert. No, that belongs to some nonexistent people whose name stems from some colonial mishap.

Torah Yidden know all this, yet once again we find ourselves hoping that this time it will be different. We need to face the fact that although it won’t be different, it is our responsibility to rise above all this and seek our place with Hashem. Throughout our history we have seen great nations rise and fall, and we have had to learn how to exist in all kinds of strained circumstances. Fires have burned our flesh, but our souls were always sure of the truth. The greatest trial is to know that this is our reality and that ours is a place that goes beyond the mortal world we live in. There are no answers — just the Torah, and that is the whole answer in itself.

Whenever Yidden are burdened with pain, they have one certainty that is always a source of hope and consolation: Hashem is with us everywhere, be it in the smoldering crematoria of Poland or the charred remains of a Jerusalem bomb site. King David personally faced many enemies, and he left us his prophetic words for future comfort. Let us see the fifty-eighth kapitel in this light.

Can it be that your society will speak righteousness, that you will judge men fairly? Listen, you leaders of this big wide world. You bleat about the many injustices that are driven by economic greed and simple pride. Yet for this one small nation called Israel you have no compassion. Throughout the history of mankind, you have allowed us to become the scapegoat time and again. Your attitude has never changed; you never thought of the cruel, unnatural misery these people have suffered. Where is so-called social justice when it comes to this tiny nation? Is it beyond your comprehension that they deserve some peace of mind? I remember well how, during the Six Day War, the United Nations was silent as long as it seemed that the Jews would lose. As soon as victory was in sight, they suddenly got busy condemning and screaming. We are the victims, but not when we are Jews!

Even your heart conjures up wicked practices in the land. To the same degree, you direct your hands with thievery. People fail to realize that the majority of religions in this world can never accept that Jews are blameless and deserve a place that is safe. This is a problem that won’t go away no matter how many prelates make soothing speeches of brotherly love. For them to feel differently is a sacrilege in their eyes, and the sooner we accept this, the better. Speeches are nice and dialogue simply wonderful, but to the true believer of those majority faiths, it’s all a façade. Papering over these facts won’t change two thousand years of indoctrination, and those sweet-sounding speeches are outweighed by the disdain that lies within.

The wicked estranged themselves [from God] from birth; habitual liars were crooked while still in the womb. It is always a wonder to me, with my limited intelligence, when I hear people ask how the great and cultured country called Germany could have been the breeding place for so much pain for our people. Even more puzzling is when they find it hard to believe the collaboration of our ancient friends, the Poles. Anyone with a smattering of historic knowledge knows that these people were fed a steady diet of anti-Semitism from birth. The churches taught it, the parents lived it, and the Yidden suffered it.

Their fierceness can be likened to snake venom. They shut their ears like a deaf python. The poison of a snake acts on the nervous system and causes the victim to become paralyzed. The anti-Semite spews forth his hate, and it paralyzes any real ability to act with compassion. They close their ears to our suffering — no nation really hears the bombs that explode in the Holy Land save those living on its sacred soil.

God, pulverize their teeth right in their mouths! Hashem, shatter the jaws of the lions. First David told us of the dismal situation of world politics. Now he tells us from where our salvation will spring forth: only from Hashem. It is all in His hands. The lions can be made toothless when Hashem wills it. What His plan is, we are not able to discern, but as devoted children, we trust in His love.

May they become disgusted with themselves. May they flow away like water. May [God] shoot His arrows so as to decapitate them. There is no safe harbor for those who seek to destroy Hashem’s people. They may think all is well, but spiritually they are about to drown under the weight of their own turbulent hate. A society built upon the callous disregard for others will be like quicksilver: shiny yet with no real form.

The righteous one will be glad when he sees revenge, when he washes his feet in the blood of the wicked. David tells us to hold on to our faith and never lose sight of what is true. In the end, all will be understood — both the wonders and the pain — and it will all be seen for what it truly was. We will stand on the very lifeblood of their sophisticated hubris; we will be around long after their downfall, and we will rejoice for Hashem. Then mankind will proclaim, “There is a reward for the righteous one. There really is a God Who judges the world.” My Rebbe, a Holocaust survivor, used to say, Der velt iz nisht hefker, “The world is not a free- for-all!” We, too, have to internalize this truth. Yidden, the world is not up for grabs. Hashem has a plan, and this will one day be obvious to all.

In the meantime, we have Tehillim, we have our sweet Torah — and we have each other.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Torah.org.


 






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