Part 2 - Where the Real Fight Is
Throughout the entire year, a person should always look at himself as equally balanced between merit and sin and the world as equally balanced between merit and sin. If he performs one sin, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of guilt and brings destruction upon himself. On the other hand, if he performs one mitzvah, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of merit and brings deliverance and salvation to himself and others. This is implied by the verse in Proverbs (10:25) “A righteous man is the foundation of the world.” i.e., he who acted righteously, tipped the balance of the entire world to merit and saved it.
Rabbi Moshe Maimonides
Look at today and see for yourself. Israel has the most organized, mechanized army in the Middle East. The technological readiness of the IDF is unparalleled by any army at any point in history.
Despite this, in 2006, Israel did not defeat a gang of 3,000 terrorists who lacked air power, satellite surveillance and most technologies of the modern army, and who fought by blindly and recklessly firing rockets into Northern Israel.
How could Israel have lost to a far inferior enemy in 2006 the same way they defeated a far superior enemy in 1948?
It makes you think.
Wars and hard times in general, befall the Jewish people when we forget Hashem. The basic laws of Jewish faith state that everything in this world comes from Hashem and it is all for our collective good. Every act, every deed, everything that happens to us is a message from our King to us. If we are getting lax in our service of Heaven, Hashem, because He loves us and wants us to earn merit in this world, will do something to wake us up. If we have become lazy due to an abundance of safe and secure times, Hashem will change the course of time and make things difficult for us so we can remember Him and do tsuva.
This has happened many times in history.
We have won battles and become secure. As that security continued, we grew rich and prosperous. As we grew rich and prosperous. We became haughty. We stop doing mitzvoth. Our success was not due to countless acts of compassion from Our maker, it was due to our intelligence and guile. We stopped thinking about Hashem. Our lives became focused on what we owned, or by how much more we had than our neighbors. We began to look to other places to fill the void we created in our lives by neglecting the Source of our spirit. We turned to idol worship in its many clear and subtle forms.
While we become complacent in our illusion of security and abundance, a decree is issued from heaven. G-d sees the sinful behavior of our ways. He has been merciful, compassionate, and patient with His children, but we have blown it for the 50th time. The judgment is executed. An enemy comes and smites us. A new leader comes to power and suppresses us. We are expelled from one place to another. We go from being on the very top, to being on the very bottom. As we become broken and humbled by the hardships we now must endure, we remember our Father. We turn to Hashem. We do tsuva. We bring Hashem back into our hearts and minds. We live on His command, we thrive on His love. It doesn’t take long for our Compassionate Father to forgive us.
A new decree is made from Heaven. A new leader comes out of nowhere. He is never the person you would imagine. He could be a ruddy, small little red-head, like David ben Yishai, or the youngest of his family, like Gidon. How about an atheist journalist named Throdore Hertzl? It’s always the person you least expect. It’s someone who say’s to the Jewish people, you didn’t win this war by your own hand. You didn’t even win it by my hand. Hashem accepted your tsuva. He redeemed you. As your security and well-being improve, be warned – do not forget Who made all of these daily miracles possible. At times we do not forget. During the reigns of Kings David and Solomon, there was a strong and solid Jewish empire for 80 years. Other times, we are not so lucky.
If you don’t believe me, read the Book of Judges, or the Book of Kings – the pattern is there in black and white.
These aren’t ancient lessons, applicable to only ancient times. This is how we fight today. The Jewish people are one unit. Each individual Jewish soul is merely a cell in the body of the Jewish Nation. A small piece of a greater whole. The action of one Jew directly affects the lives of his brothers and sisters. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of Blessed memory said, “A Jew who puts on Tefillin in New York will directly impact the life of a Jewish soldier in Israel.”
This is a fundamental truth of the Jewish people.
The entire world can continue to exist in the merit of one righteous man. We can all be redeemed by a single deed.
As Israel prepares for the next war, it is busily getting its military ready. Reservists have been called up on training missions at a greater pace. Weapons and artillery are being repaired, and enhanced with great efficiency. There have even been national drills preparing the whole country for a full scale regional war.
That’s how the State of Israel prepares for war. As it should. Israel has the best military around and they know what they are doing.
Our enemies are busily doing the same. Hizbullah in Lebanon has restocked its missiles from the 2006 war. Syria boasts the largest arsenal of ballistic missiles in the entire region. Iran is months away from its first nuclear bomb.
Yet, Israel is also a Jewish State. Israel, no matter how much it tries to be like the nations of the world, dwells alone. Israel is a Jewish Nation on the Land of Israel. Israel is the embodiment one of the main primary objectives of THE BIBLE ITSELF!
Israel operates on spiritual rules the same way the nations operate on physical rules. When I mention Israel, I am not merely talking about those Israelis living in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Rishon LeTzion. I am referring to every Jew in every corner of the world.
As a Jewish Nation, we live by the supernatural rules of the Torah.
Alongside our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, we must also prepare for war the way a Jew does. The Jewish people are a spiritual people who win and lose wars by Hashem’s grace. Hashem judges Israel as a whole – wherever a Jew may be. A Jew in New York can perform a Tsuva for our national defense just like any Jew living in the Holy Land. We can all appeal to the King of the Universe by performing acts of Tsuva. Our King, who has performed great miracles for us throughout history, can redeem us from our current enemies in an instant.
The spiritual battles we fight directly mirror the physical battles we fight. The outcome of our wars we fight from within will determine whether or not we will emerge victorious. Read Jewish history and you will see that this is not a myth, or a tale, or a legend. This is fact.
This battle we fight is the battle for a specific mitzvah. One commandment from Hashem that will affect everything else we do in our lives. Emerging victorious in this battle gives the People of Israel a strength that no weapon, army, or political power can yield.
There is a specific mitzvah I am talking about. It is the mitzvah of our generation. According to the Rabbis, It is the greatest challenge a Jew faces in his lifetime. According to the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, failure to meet this challenge is the greatest sin in the Torah. It is the absolute worst sin any of us can perform.
Those who have kept this mitzvah have enjoyed great spiritual and physical wealth. They have become powerful people over time. When Israel keeps this mitzvah, it is supremely strong. Many say that it will be in the merit of those who keep this mitzvah that Moshiach will come and the world will finally experience an unprecedented level of peace and prosperity.
During the times of Noah, it was the failure to keep this mitzvah that led to the end of the world and the flood. During the times of the great Jewish empires, it was the failure to keep this mitzvah that led to the end of the Jewish empire. G-d’s presence left Jerusalem and to this day – it has never returned.
It is one of the most crucial mitzvoth in the Torah and behind it lies some of the most powerful spiritual energies. The re-focus of this mitzvah and return us to the greatness we once were.
I am talking about the mitzvah of Shmirat HaBrit: the guarding of the laws of sexual morality.
I am not a Rabbi, nor am I a leading social commentator. In fact, I have been a Hozer B’Tsuva for not even half of my life.
But through this mitzvah, have I got a story to tell.
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