A People That Shall Dwell Alone
We are currently suffering from disturbances in Eretz
Yisroel and our enemies in chutz la'aretz are
also convening against us. Let us consider how the Guardian
of Israel has dealt with His people during all our years in
golus and what Chazal have to say about the period we
are living in.
The Chofetz Chaim zy"o cited the posuk in
Amos (9:9), "Behold, I will command, and I will sift
the house of Israel among all the nations as corn is sifted
in a sieve, yet the least grain shall not fall upon the
earth." He explained that this refers to the period when the
birth pangs of Moshiach will be experienced. The
Jewish people will be like a sieve which disperses its
contents, and whatever remains inside is shaken and in
constant motion. Thus we are now all shaking and tense, our
only refuge is Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
Chazal's descriptions of this period are well known: it will
be more difficult than thousands of years of wandering from
place to place, of murder and all the other terrible
calamities we have had to endure during this bitter
The irrational hatred towards the Jewish people and the
increase of antisemitism around the world -- where we see
seventy wolves gathering to destroy one sheep -- are only
coming to awaken us and remind us that we are not a nation
like other nations but one that shall dwell alone. They are
Hashem Yisborach's way of ensuring the continued
spiritual existence of His people.
This has always been characteristic of Hashem's relationship
with our nation during our years in exile. Whenever we lived
in one place for one or more centuries and stuck to the
customs of our ancestors, we experienced no misfortunes. But
as soon as we started being attracted to our hosts and their
culture, our situation would suddenly change dramatically
for the worse, forcing us eventually to leave that country
altogether and to find a new place to settle. The Guardian
of Israel in His great kindness protected the Jewish people
from assimilation amongst the nations and reminded us of the
fact that we are Jews and servants of Hashem.
If we consider the history of the Jewish nation through the
thousands of years in exile, we notice how Hashem has always
dealt kindly with us: whenever we suffered misfortune in one
place, there was always another nation willing to offer us
Already in the time of Chazal we are told that when our
brethren from the south were expelled from their homes the
people of the north accepted them, and when a decree of
expulsion was announced against the Jews in the north the
southerners let them in again.
Similarly, when the Jews were expelled from Spain and
Portugal, Holland accepted the exiles. During the First
World War, Russia persecuted the Jews and the Germans were
sent to save them. Less than twenty years later, when the
Germans became our enemies and Angels of Death, the Russians
were our divinely-sent saviors.
Thus Hakodosh Boruch Hu protects us, and we should
not worry, hoping for Hashem's salvation at any time from
those that wish to destroy our bodies, and He protects our
souls by preventing our assimilation amongst the nations
In this post-Holocaust generation, a large part of the
remnants of the Jewish people have settled in Eretz
Yisroel. In itself this is a very good thing, because
Eretz Yisroel has many segulos, even while we
are still in golus.
It might be thought that in this country, which has a large
Jewish population, there can be no danger of assimilation.
Unfortunately, because of our sins, this is not the case. In
Eretz Yisroel, of all places, the threat posed by
assimilation is especially dangerous, because here we are
faced with an "internal" assimilation.
How great was the foresight of the gedolim of the
previous generation, may their merit protect us, when they
warned us about this new golus known as the State of
Israel, which was founded only in order to uproot the Torah
from the Jewish people, so that they may not,
choliloh, be distinguished from the other nations in
any way. Nowadays, they themselves talk openly about their
At the root of their outlook is the philosophy of
"nationalism." They argued that we had no country and no
language and once we acquired these, we could finally become
a nation again, like the Americans, the English and so on.
According to their theory of "my power and the might of my
hand," the State of Israel was going to become a power to
reckon with, its army second to none.
With this purpose in mind, the founding generation of the
State forced hundreds and thousands of immigrants from
Morocco, Yemen and other oriental countries to give up their
religious lifestyle. They made them "Israeli" by changing
their appearance -- cutting off their beards and
payos which had been preserved throughout the long
years of golus amongst the Arabs -- and their
language, from loshon hakodesh to Ivrit.
Today there are more than a million children being educated
in their school system who are not taught Shema
Yisroel and the unity of Hashem. Their whole
education is an incitement against pure Judaism and they
would like their pupils to grow up chas vesholom as
members of "a nation like any other nation."
If this were not enough, hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish
immigrants have increased the dangers of assimilation and
intermarriage Rachmono litzlan.
The non-Jewish nations kept our bodies in golus but
had no part in our souls, but the Jewish rosho wants
to put the Jewish neshomoh into golus too, and
that is the worst of all!
Lately, they have openly declared war on our holy Torah and
they especially aim to harm the foundation of the nation,
the holy Yeshivos, the secret of our continued existence. We
do not have to be afraid of their declarations, but we
should worry and must investigate in which areas of Torah
study we have become weak, so that Hakodosh Boruch Hu
has deemed it necessary to make our enemies rise up against
Our rabbonim already told us the principle brought in the
seforim hakedoshim that if we see our enemies
fighting against and showing contempt for a certain mitzva,
we must take it as a sign that we have been negligent in
that mitzva before their attacks.
We already see in the Egyptian exile that none of Pharaoh's
decrees against the nation was successful. Even the decree
against every Jewish male that was born, did not serve its
purpose. On the contrary, Moshe actually grew up in the
house of the rosho. About these plans the
posuk says, "He that sits in heaven laughs, Hashem
has them in derision."
Afterwards, however, when Moshe delayed in performing
bris miloh on his son, an angel wanted to kill him.
If the angel had killed him, the Jewish people would not
have been redeemed, since it says in the Medrash that
the purpose of the Egyptian exile was for the Jews to be
redeemed specifically by Moshe. Thus we can see that
Pharaoh's decrees did not threaten the course of the
redemption from Mitzrayim, but Moshe's behavior
We should, therefore, not worry about our enemies'
declarations and decrees. Instead, we should intensify our
Torah studies, and this will automatically remove the threat
of those that rise against us.
Golus in Our Generation
We must realize that the terrible threat of assimilation of
foreign ways is not just for non-religious Jews. This is due
to the fact that their language is taken (for the most part)
from loshon hakodesh, and because we are brethren
with a common ancestry. Moreover, the mitzva to love our
neighbor as much as ourselves applies to some of them. All
these could create a potentially close relationship between
us and we therefore have to be especially careful not to
learn from them or to copy their pernicious way of life.
Some of us have in our homes their tool of tumoh (Ed:
radio), which the Zionists use as a vehicle to disseminate
anti-religious poison around the clock. Jewish children are
fed with hatred for Torah and derision against religious
people. They are told that we are strange "Diaspora Jews,"
and other messages full of anti-Jewish incitement.
Bnei Torah who have this tumoh tool are
exposed to their way of life and their views and may,
chas vesholom, end up associating and becoming
friendly with them. Apart from the fact that this can
eventually result in a total deterioration of Torah values
and observance, the very exposure fills the soul with
tumoh and filth. When such a person afterwards learns
words of Torah, how can these be expected to penetrate the
filth which has attached itself to his nefesh?
If you see an observant Jew, a ben Torah who also
learns, with a certain coldness about his avodas
Hashem, this is because his nefesh is already
full of tumoh from this tool, making it impossible
for the fire of Torah to penetrate it. We must realize that
it is not feasible to listen to their views and outlook
without our souls being corrupted.
The Rambam writes that the brocho velamalshinim which
became part of our prayers refers to anti-religious people
and apikorsim who are present in every generation. We
have to be aware what we are praying for. How can we pray,
"And let there be no hope for the malshinim," and
then go home to listen to their views and become friendly
We must remember the Rambam's son's (Rav Avrohom) admonition
to despise vacuous people in our hearts. We have to
understand the real value of our enemies, that they are sick
people, and to despise them for their emptiness.
Apart from being obligated to separate ourselves from them
and to hold them in disdain, we also have a duty to hate the
anti-religious. The Brisker Rov zy"o learnt this from
the posuk in Tehillim (139), "Do I not hate, o
Hashem, those that hate You? And do I not strive with those
that rise up against You? I hate them with utmost hatred;
they have become my enemies."
He explained that Dovid Hamelech tells us three things here:
1. The actual obligation to hate those who hate Hashem and
to fight against them; 2. The degree of hate, namely the
greatest hate possible; 3. The fact that they have become
our enemies. We have to stress that Hashem's enemies are our
own private enemies.
We must also realize that it is not only the philosophy of
the anti-religious that is considered apikorsus and
kefirah. Even if someone is an observant Jew but
agrees with their views, his outlook becomes kefirah
When the yeshivot tichoniot [high schools combining
limudei chol with limudei kodesh] started,
some frum people sent their sons there. This
phenomenon was damaging to the olom haTorah. A
meeting was held which was attended by the roshei
hayeshivos to decide how to react. One of the gedolei
hador zt"l said that their main concern should be to
detach the word "yeshiva" from the name of these
institutions. It was not justified to call them that, just
because of a few hours of limudei kodesh that were
taught there during the day. If their name was changed, the
confusion might be lessened and the differences between us
After the meeting I went to see the Brisker Rov zy"o.
He asked me what had been discussed at the meeting, and I
told him about the suggestion of the godol. The Rov
said to me, "What are they talking about? Whether they are
going to call it a `yeshiva' or not is beside the point, we
are dealing with a yeshiva with kefirah and
apikorsus! How can bochurim be sent to such a
Nowadays, people bring kefirah and apikorsus
right into their homes by means of their tumoh tool.
The Chazon Ish zy"o said that children cannot grow up
to kedusha, R"l in a home which has this tool,
because the walls have absorbed tumoh.
The only way to prevent ourselves from being affected by
them is to walk only in the path of Torah, and to realize
that it is not that their way is different from ours, but
that it is diametrically opposed to the Torah and our
outlook, and that their whole philosophy is nothing but anti-
religious kefirah, apikorsus.
Following the ways of the Torah means not straying from the
Torah hashkofo which has been handed down to us from
generation to generation by our rabbonim, the transmitters
of the Torah, which Hakodosh Boruch Hu, in His mercy,
has bestowed upon us in every generation.
It says in Koheles (11:7), "And the light is sweet,
and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun."
In the Targum it says, "The light of Torah is sweet, and
good to light up blind eyes." Thus Torah enables our eyes to
see, without Torah we are blind!
End of Part I