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By Rabbi Y Reuven Rubin

Sometimes I wonder, other times I know: the lunatics have taken over the asylum. This world we live in has not only gone mad, but the folk who have driven it there seem to be in charge.

Just stop a moment and think about it. In the name of political correctness we are not permitted to speak against those who practice evil and destroy others’ lives. If a criminal is caught robbing your home, he need not fear going to jail, because those in charge of the judiciary feel it’s not right to blame them for their anti-social behaviour. After all, they were brought up poor and wanting, and their fathers were never home. Similarly, all deviant behavior is permitted today, because otherwise one is deemed disrespectful toward “alternative” lifestyles. What was once considered despicable has become a norm. It’s no wonder that the young have no borders in their lives.

It often feels as if those who still hunger for some kind of moral stability are being allowed to exist only for the amusement of the rest. We are treated like specimens in a zoo, trapped in cages built by others, thrown scraps by our keepers, and told that we are a relic from the discredited past. When new issues arise they will ask us what we think and then gape at us as if we were some quaint visitor from another planet. This can become demoralizing; we get worn down and often worn out. Being excluded is no simple matter, and you begin to wonder if you’re takeh not the problem.

Yidden have always marched to a different drummer than the rest of the world. This is part of why we are who we are, as Avraham Avinu famously declared, “I am an alien and a resident among you.” Tragically, the breach between Torah truth and the illusory realm of the secular world grows greater every day, and with this comes the realization that we are ever more marginalized.

This may not seem so terrible. After all, who wants to be wanted by those who want only foolishness? Well, if it were only party invitations that we lacked it wouldn’t be so bad. The trouble is that the world doesn’t leave it at that. They want more - they want our soul as well. The world can’t stand the fact that there is a people who still reach out to Hashem, who do march to that different Drummer, the Drummer that beats a Heavenly tune.

David Hamelech saw this in his own times, but being who he was, he saw much more. He realized that when the Torah is besmirched and its children are derided, it is Hashem Who is also being attacked. Those who hate us and mock our ways do so only because they can’t abide the knowledge that there are those who strive to remain bonded with Hashem.

David speaks of this and begs Hashem that His people should find salvation not simply for their own sake, but so that Hashem’s name should no longer be ridiculed. This is a powerful insight. We want others to look at us in a positive light so that there will no longer be a chillul Hashem, an absence of G-d, in this world. Let us look at his words and see how a holy Yid views things.

Lama Elokim zanachta lanetzach…, “Why, O G-d, have You abandoned us for eternity; will Your wrath smoulder against the sheep of Your pasture?” David starts by asking Hashem why we seem to be abandoned, left to the mercy of others. We are but Hashem’s sheep, His flock that wants only to feed on His Torah.

Zechor adascha kanisa kedem…, “Remember Your congregation which You acquired of old, You have redeemed the tribe of Your inheritance, this mountain of Zion where You dwelled.” Dear G-d, You took us to be Your children even before the physical world was created. You did all this for the purpose of keeping Your Torah. You took this tribe and made us a people when You redeemed us of Egypt. It was this nation that served on that holy mountain where Your sanctuary stood.

Sha’agu tzorerecha bekerev mo’adecha…, “Your adversaries roared amidst Your meeting place, they have set up their signs as signs.” The wicked seek to lead this world astray. They have replaced everything that was holy and put their hollow idols in its place.

Yivada kemeivi lemala…, “They considered their blows as an attack against the One on High; their axes were swallowed in a thicket of trees. And now its entrance all together, with hatchets and hammers they strike them down.” Those who fight against the will of Hashem never cease or become weary. They throw their hatchets, their instruments of sharp hate, against Hashem’s sanctuary. Again and again they cut us, until we feel stricken to the core.

Amru belibam ninam yachad…, “They said in their heart, their rulers all together, they have burned all the meeting places of the Alm-ghty in the land.” There seems to be only one thing all the world’s rulers can unite on, and that is that the children of Israel should not prosper. They may not see eye to eye on anything else, but when it comes to the Jews, they are all ready to burn Hashem’s meeting places down.

Ad masai Elokim yecharef tzar…, “How long, Hashem, will the adversary revile, will the enemy blaspheme Your Name forever?” David asks the question that burns in every Yid’s heart: How long, Ribbono shel Olam, how long will they get away with all this? The world is sinking into the quicksand of rot and filth - how long till this ends, dear G-d?

Lama sashiv yadcha viyminecha…, “Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? Draw it from Your bosom, consume them.” We ask why it seems that Hashem withdraws His supervision of this world, allowing the chaos to conquer. We plead that Hashem take His hand to them and put things to right.

Sometimes life gets so difficult and we feel so distanced, as the Kotzker Rebbe said, when the Yidden came to Mara, the waters tasted bitter ki marim heim, because they, the Yidden, were bitter. We too feel a bitterness in our mouths, due to the impression we have that Hashem has distanced Himself from us because of the huge chillul Hashem that seems to have swept through everything.

Zechor zos oyev cheref Hashem…, “Remember this - the enemy reviled Hashem, and the vile nation blasphemed Your Name.” David tells one and all that this emptiness, this filth, happens because Hashem’s enemies want to besmirch everything that is pure and holy.

Kuma Elokim riva rivecha…, “Arise G-d, defend Your cause; let the poor and needy praise Your name.” With sweet tears of love we murmur just one thought: Arise Hashem, let the world see the truth. Let our voices, the voices of the poor and needy, be heard once more. All we want is for Your Glory to be seen. For this we are Jews, and for this we will always be so.

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