Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Nissan 5762 - March 20, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Nisan is the Month of Geulah

by Mordecai Plaut

The postwar generation has generally had it pretty good. In the West it grew up and came of age in a time of increasing prosperity and general calm. There have been crises in the West and wars in Israel, but they were usually pretty short -- a few months at most. For the most part, the past half a century has been a period of secure establishment and growth.

The ascendent social ideas were tolerance and freedom. Although in theory these are far from the Torah ideals, in practice their power has proven pleasant for the Jewish people who had been generally persecuted, along with whoever else may have been out of favor. With tolerance for our existence and the freedom to pursue what we wanted, life seemed pretty good.

On the whole, Jews were accepted and even admired at times for their skills and successes. The Torah community went from a defensive period to a period of consolidation and onwards to expansion and increase along all fronts. Things seemed to be getting better all the time.

Although many of the trends are continuing, the past several years have brought many changes in unwelcome directions.

Fear has become a companion of Jews in most of the world. There are new threats against the West, of which the Jews are definitely a part, but even more there are serious threats against Jews. The United Nations Conference Against Racism in Durban exposed a strident brand of antisemitism. Although the action there was purely verbal, it was very aggressive and threatening. French Jews are absorbing physical attacks on racial grounds. Antisemitism is becoming more legitimate in England. Israel, the home of the largest concentration of Jews in the world and perhaps even a majority of the world's Jews, has been suffering terror and is the subject of threats and pressure to an unprecedented degree.

Realistically, all this does not seem like a difficult period that will soon pass, but like the beginning of a new era in Jewish history, when the memories of Nazi Holocaust have faded (even when it is not denied) and the world returns to "business as usual" with respect to the Jews. Even within this period, there will certainly be ups and downs, and we should always pray and try to make things as good as possible.

Mainly, we must continue, in all circumstances, with our business which is Torah and mitzvos. The month of Nisan and Pesach bring us welcome thoughts of rebirth and geulah that are part of the season.

The outlook in Mitzrayim certainly was not encouraging. The mightiest nation in the world was oppressing the Jewish people, working them so hard they did not have a chance to think. The people themselves had sunk very low, so low that they almost reached the point of no return. Even after they experienced the miracles of Shabbos Hagodol, the makkas bechoros, the tremendous revelation and inspiration of the night of Pesach and started to move out of Mitzrayim, they again became trapped in what looked like a literal dead end at the edge of Yam Suf. But then we experienced krias Yam Suf and went on to mattan Torah, perhaps the highest point of human existence so far.

Our business is now recalling and reliving these events, and drawing strength and inspiration for the times ahead. May they be short so that we are zoche to the final Geulah in Nisan, the month of geulah.

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