Part 1 - For Zion's Sake . . .

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not be still, until her righteousness emanates like a bright light, and her salvation blazes like a torch.”

Book of Isaiah, the great Jewish Prophet, Chap. 62, Line 1

This lecture is for my son, and for our children. From the time I graduated college, to the time I got married, I was single for 10 years. I thought I had it all. I was happy. I had a good job, my own place, a decent salary, and my share of women. I wasn’t miserable, or even sad. I was very content with life. When I found my wife, and began to take on the specific mitzvoth a married man must take, Thank G-d, I discovered what real happiness was.

I found a new closeness to Hashem. I found out what it meant to be infused with the energy Hashem gives every Jew not only to exist, but to really burst out of our supposed physical and mental limitations, and, to serve Him with joy. I could have spent my entire life content with what I had. I could have passed my time on this earth never knowing the true meaning of happiness. Never experiencing the inspiration and energy that comes with connecting to our Creator on a deeper level. This lecture is for all of us. It is for all of our children. It is so my son, and the next generation of The Jewish Nation don’t have to go through a period in their lives where they are blinded by simple contentment with the basic things in life, only to find out too late how much they missed.

How does our generation deal with the problems we face? Is there something unique we posses that can make our own mark on Jewish history? I found the answer from an Israeli Rabbi. When I lived in Israel I learned two things about Israelis. I learned that some of the most amazing qualities in human beings are qualities that they possess. When I was in the IDF, I was 30. I could barely finish the grueling runs during training. One of the guys had a rough time with it as well – we all did, it was a tough training program. One day, this guy, who had to give it 150% just to survive himself, started joining me on runs. He made it a point to encourage me late in the runs when all I wanted to do was pass out in peace. At the end of the second to last run, we were both about to collapse. As we were desperately trying to catch our breaths, he said to me “Dave, you are going to finish training and become a soldier – even if it kills me!” This is what an Israeli is. Over the years, I discovered they are also some other things. For better and for worse, they are the most direct people you could meet. Every taxi cab ride I took, every purchase I made, no matter how decent I tried to be, the unspoken reply was simple – you’re from New York – that will be 20 more shekels! Baruch Hashem, the Rabbi I met, like any Israeli, doesn’t pull his punches with what he has to say either. If a certain sin has dire consequences, he doesn’t sugar coat it. Political correctness is not in his vocabulary. He will tell you how much positive you can do in a single mitzvah, and in the same breath, warn you on how you can lose your place in heaven by embarrassing a fellow Jew. He is just as brutally honest as the guys in the taxi, yet just as valiant and compassionate as my fellow soldier.

He taught me an invaluable lesson. He teaches our generation the most important lesson! Every aspect of ourselves, whether seen as good or bad, can be used constructively. Different circumstances call for different abilities to be commanded from everyone. I am a product of my generation. My generation is infamous for its shamelessness. Two generations ago, it was unheard of to dress immodestly. You treated each other with manners. You never spoke lewdly and if you did, the words you used were nothing like what is spoken today. You were a virgin until you got married, and you stayed with that person all your life. That was what was considered NORMAL 50 years ago. Today, the opposite holds true. We are a generation without shame. There are no standards. There are no boundaries. There is no point at which we say: this is too far. This is too inappropriate. I can waste my time talking about how hopeless we are, WE’RE NOT, or learn from my Israeli friends. I am going to take the brazenness and shamelessness of our generation, the shamelessness of myself, and be as up front as I can about confronting, addressing, and trying to find solutions to the serious problems we all face. The biggest problems our generation faces cannot be solved by other generations. For men of older generations to even address these issues properly means to betray the basic standards of decorum and manners that only my generation lack. I am not a Rabbi, nor am I a scholar. Who am I to talk about the things I will be talking about? I am a member of a generation who can mention these topics without wincing. For the benefit of ourselves, our families, and Hashem Willing, for of the millions of children we all want to come out of our generation, we will discuss the biggest issues we face and fix them for the benefit of those we love. Out of this chutzpa, Hashem Willing, we will all live fuller and richer lives.

Before we begin, I have a few program notes. I rely heavily on Rabbi Tzvi Fishman’s writing for this lecture. A lot of what I have to say comes from his book, Torah, Kabbalah, and sex. It is a truly amazing book. It is important that Rabbi Fishman gets credit for inspiring this lecture as well as providing the foundations for it.

There is a lot of information in this lecture. You may want to write down some of the websites or some of the books mentioned. Don’t worry. All of the links to the sites I mentioned, are tagged throughout.

Okay, let’s begin.

The Jewish Nation has always been a people who have endured despite overwhelming odds. It baffles mankind how we have survived the ages. From the eyes of western man, it is a complete mystery how we escaped Egypt intact, won the war of the Macabees, survived the Holocaust, and then defeated the combined forces of 7 national armies to establish a free homeland in the same decade.

But we Jews know better.

The Biblical story of Gidon is a perfect example. The Midinates were oppressing Israel. They were stealing our food and their rule over us brought on national poverty. Nothing could be done. They outnumbered us in the hundreds of thousands. As the Book of Judges explains, “the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is upon the sea-shore for multitude.” We could only muster an army of 22,000 emaciated men. Had we fought a war on the terms of our enemies, we would have surely been destroyed. Even Gidon said himself, “with what shall I save Israel? My thousand are the most impoverished, and I am the youngest of my father’s house.”

Despite overwhelming odds, and certain death if we were to take on this overpowering enemy, the Jews fought. Not only did they fight, but they fought using the only strategy that has ever worked among the Jewish people.

They put Hashem in command.

When Hashem fights with us, we always win. The odds, the weapons, the strategy, the numbers mean nothing.

Hashem commanded Gidon to fight the sons of Midian, brother to Ishmael, and the bnai Amalek, grandson of Edom, and their allies not with the 22,000 soldiers Gidon proposed, but with only 300 men. Hashem did this to prove a point. He specifically told Gidon to go with this miniscule army so that when we won, Israel would not say the victory was because, in the words of the account, “my own strength has saved me”.

It is an eternal message: we win and lose our wars by Hashem’s Will.

Take a look at history. The Maccabees weren’t trained soldiers. In fact, they were the Levites, there job wasn’t physical in nature. They learned Torah and performed the Temple Service 24 hours a day. These weren’t the muscular type of warriors you see in Greco-Roman movies like Spartacus, these were the skinny guys you see in Yeshiva. The hulking, muscular warriors, they were the ones the Maccabees were up against. For them to fight and win, that was the true miracle.

We can cite so many examples:

David’s victory over Goliath three thousand years ago.

The miracles in Israel during the Gulf War of 1991. The Iran-Iraq war in the 80s was deadly. For each Scud missile fired, on average, 7 people were killed. Yet in the Gulf War of 1991, 39 Scud missiles Iraq fired at Israel failed to kill one person.

The victory in 1967. Time and history tend to downplay how supernatural the Six Day War was. We need to remember some key points. A week before War broke out, the Nation of Israel thought it was going to endure another Holocaust. Even the most optimistic generals commissioned Rabbis to plot enough land to bury 10,000 men. Nobody thought we had a chance. For Israel to not lose was miraculous. To win with so few casualties and amass so much territorial gains in such a short period of time is unprecedented in human history.

I am not the only one who believes this. At West Point, the leading U.S. military school, military tactics are taught for wars fought since the beginning of time. Ancient battles are discussed, medieval bloodbaths are dissected, and the introduction of modern warfare and high level artillery and its impact on today’s battles are explained at length. Of all the wars the generals at West point teach their students, the Six Day War is not among them. You figure such a war would be studied at length. You’d think that a victory so thorough would be studied in such great detail so that it could be incorporated into Americas military strategy. A student at West Point once asked one of his instructors why the Six Day War isn’t part of the curriculum.

He said that there is no rational explanation for Israel’s victory. This war had no element of reality to it. The teacher explained that it’s his job to teach tactics in wars that can be realistically applied. It was all a miracle. He could only teach battles where both sides fight according to the rules of nature. This battle, like most Jewish victories, broke every rule.

The U.S. military has a supercomputer that continually fights every war that man has ever fought. It replays this to learn about warfare from historical battles throughout time. It will take all factors into account such as the troop sizes of each side, the terrain, which side has what type of artillery and armor, and so on. There are thousands of factors that go into each war simulation and the computer fights these wars thousands of times over and over again for scenario analysis. For every battle, sometimes the stronger side wins, other times, the weaker side finds a brilliant strategy and becomes victorious. Every battle, the computer finds ways with which either side can win. That is why the computer was built in the first place. The one exception to this is the Six Day War. This computer, that has fought thousands of different wars, millions of times over, has yet to compute a scenario where the Israelis won the Six Day War. It cannot even take a guess on such a possibility. It is not, in the computers analysis, scientifically possible.

Then again, neither is the history of the Jewish People.

Throughout the millennia, we Jews have learned a very obvious lesson: we are not a physical people. We are G-d’s Chosen Children who win and lose our battles from our Father in Heaven. We win by pleasing Him with our mitzvoth, we lose by abandoning Him with our own self-centered desires.

M-16s, F-16s, and large Jewish armies are a distraction, A challenge by Hashem to see through it all and to recognize Who truly grants us Salvation and Victory. We win and lose our battles by Hashem.

Israel’s greatest warrior, King David, did not attribute his victories to his courage, strength, or military skill. He wrote the Book of Psalms, and inside this Book, King David attributes the victories of the Jewish Nation on the battlefield to its Creator in Heaven.

Oh that my people would listen to me, and that Israel would walk in my ways! I should soon subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their adversaries. -Psalm 81:14-15

King David presided over the first Jewish Empire. The first era where Israel was the superpower of the world. He knew where the strength of the Jewish Nation came from – we should also.

David Fink is the Editor-in-Chief of the daily investment newsletter, Real Wealth Recon. In 2008, his Real Wealth portfolio MADE MONEY, outperforming the three major indices by 38%, and the average Hedge Fund by 25%. For $99 a year, you get David’s daily market commentary, instant emails for every trade he makes, total access to David’s portfolio, and a weekly review of the major articles published around the world. Why hand over your hard earned money to someone in a suit saying “trust me.” Keep your money and trust yourself. Join the elite investors who are making money this year, and tell Wall Street: YOU’RE FIRED!