I can distinctly remember moments in our recent past that shook us to our core and made us take stock in who we are as a community.
Moments that broke strong taboos. Moments that made us look long and hard in the mirror and wonder, do we have any idea who we are?
One such moments was Yitchak Rabin's assassination by a fellow Jew.
I remember seeing Rabin going to visit someone a year before he was killed and wondering why he only had 2 bodyguards.
It was simply unfathomable.
Now we know better...Herzl dreamed of Jewish criminals and Jewish police. He got Jewish Prime Ministers and Jewish assassins as well.
Last week a name that will live in the annals of pure evil until the end of time suddenly shook us to the core once again.
That a frum Jew could so callously and maliciously turn on friends, family and Rabbonim is breathtaking. That a Riverdale Talmud with a white shirt and a sefira beard could seek out possible friends and family to ensnare and record for the FBI is one such moment.
So now we know what we're capable of.
We dreamed of a part in the great American script.
They gave us a cameo role on The Sopranos.
On the other hand, it's a shame people don't learn history more because they'd see that there is nothing new happening here unfortunately.
We've lived through violence and civil war, we've survived apostates and criminals...
Now..in no way am I excusing the behavior of those accused of money laundering. That's an entirely other issue and the shame they brought upon us is immeasurable.
The core of that is a deep cultural issue that must be addressed.
For a large segment of our brothers..the ship still has not docked in America. That has good and bad flip sides to it.
On one hand I dont think strong vibrant communities like those we see today could have been established without a healthy, reclusive ,old world attitude But on the other hand it is entirely detached from reality and can be harmful.
In Europe, Jews truly suffered. There was true anti semitism.
The type of anti semitism that wouldn't be debated in the comments of VosIzNeias.
If this had happened in Poland 80 years ago, we'd all be cowering in our basements right now.
We are lucky to live in an open and free society where everyone has a a chance to succeed.
Sure there are plenty of people that hate Jews just as there are plenty of Jews that hate Blacks and plenty of WASPS that hate Italians.
The fact that we cling onto the Halacha of Esav Soney L'Yaakov is not helpful, to say the least.
I checked everywhere in Shulchan Orech and could not find that Halacha anywhere. Because it's not something we're supposed to act upon.
We cling onto it like a battered woman clings to her abusive husband, almost relieved when we see signs of it, as if it's the only way of life we know.
All it does is foster an Us vs Them mentality that nothing good can come out of.
R'Moshe Leib Sassover used to conduct free meals for the homeless and destitute where half of those fed were Goyim. Could you imagine someone doing that today?
We must teach our children that all human beings are Tzelem Elokim. We all have our missions in life and every person has the capacity to be a good person or a bad person regardless of religion or ethnicity.
Yes, we are the chosen nation..but we were chosen to DO something.
We were chosen for a very specific mission. We weren't made princes in order to lounge around on our laurels.
Here's another thing that really irks me.
Every time something like this happens..you inevitably hear "oy..it's time for Moshiach.." or "now..Moshiach will never come.."
And I somehow imagine Hashem looking down or screaming out from deep within your own soul..HELLO! What about me??
Seriously, enough with Moshiach. I think Moshiach is one big cop out. Some magic genie that'll sweep us away from all our deficiencies and problems.
We have no idea anymore why we even want Moshiach.
The Belzer Rebbe once said people are so silly, if they would only know how special our Avoda in Golus is, if they would only know how one act of Mesiaras Nefesh in this darkness is so much more precious to Hashem than ALL the Korbonos combined..they would NEVER pray for Moshiach!
So why do we pray for Moshiach then?
For the suffering of the Shechina who's dragged in the mud of the Galus every single day. We need to free Hashem...and only we can do that.
So instead of rolling our eyes and wailing Moshiach..we should be focusing on the task at hand in the form of mini Geulas.
Istead of focusing on what's not in our individual control as much...focus on the moment of now...and redeem that moment.
Instead of focusing on a dream 5 week vacation in some exotic place, take a trip to the local lake this afternoon..and enjoy.
A lot more to come......