Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Elul 5768 - September 25, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Impose Your Fear

by L. Yungerman

Shut your eyes tight and think: What is closest is first. Myself, my parents, children, siblings, the neighbors in my building, those who attend the same shul, acquaintances of a greater radius — street and neighborhood, fellow Jerusalemites (or whichever city I live in). Period.

Our country does not stop at the boundaries of our city eruv. There are still many more people in many cities in Eretz Yisroel, for example: Holon, Bat Yam, Carmiel, Dimona, all the thousands that fill the streets of the many cities and towns. In short, all of Eretz Yisroel.

Think of all the hundreds of millions living in the U.S. Even our extended world does not stop at Monsey and Boro Park. There are millions in the C.I.S. and billions in China, with dozens of millions in Arab countries surrounding us. Let us not forget Europe, with England, France, Germany, Switzerland and so on. At this point, the numbers become too huge for us to assimilate. In order for us to grasp them in our mind, we must begin with people we know, like relatives, and multiply this many, many times over until the vastness begins to sink in.

All of these people, without exception, will be standing in judgment a few days from today, for they are all Hashem's servants!

In all of these near and far places, people are born and they die. They become ill and recuperate. They grow rich and become impoverished. And each and every person is taken into account. Very meticulous records are kept, and the forecast for the prospective year will be recorded this coming week, "For it is a statute unto Yisroel, an ordinance for the G-d of Yaakov."

What is dominion? A situation in which, "Without your permission, no one shall lift a hand or foot," as Pharaoh said to Yosef. Kingship is involvement in every possible area, power over every aspect of life. Anything that carries on without the knowledge of the government constitutes treason, even if it involves a single citizen or an isolated event. Anything that happens without government sanction represents something autonomous within the kingdom, which is a contradiction to absolute royal power and therefore, illegal. The King of the world rules over everything.

It would therefore be inane to depict Rosh Hashonoh in a limited scope that involves us alone, be it a suggested match for a child or some business deal in the offing, even a health problem. Rosh Hashonoh encompasses a world scale, a master plan for the entire planet, the whole universe, in fact, implicating billions of people and events. One must stretch one's imagination to be able to begin to grasp this magnitude.

This does not in any way lessen the personal judgment to which every individual is subject. There is no conflict of interests but a unified scan that encompasses everything in its vast panoramic sweep. "All are surveyed in a single scanning." Like sheep, collectively, but also individually, each one measured on his own merits as well as representing a citizen in his country, a member of the world. What he is and what is his capacity and influence.

Shall his yoke of responsibilities be lightened or ameliorated through easier conditions, economic or otherwise, or shall tests and hurdles be erected in his path?

Such thoughts should serve us to prepare ourselves for the central prayers of the day. "And thus shall You impose Your fear, Hashem our G-d, upon all of Your works, and Your dread upon all that You created." We must step out of the confined circle of our immediate environment and begin to broaden our context of reference.

"Over all of Your works." Ourselves and our children, first of all, that we learn to `know Your name' and to study Your Torah for its own sake. But we must also pray for all those unknowing secular Jews whom we meet on the bus, at the clinic, or anywhere, or the many children who are not privileged to have a Torah education and who don't know Whom to fear — we pray that You impose Your fear upon them so that they, too, will grasp the meaning of "Shema Yisroel," that they, too, begin to believe, and to keep the Torah.

"And Your dread upon all that You created." Upon the Arabs, too, the ones who scheme evil against us, who torment us, who inject uncertainty and fear in our daily lives and impose their terror upon us. Let them begin to fear You. May the Iranians, the Syrians, and all of Your creatures, fear You. Not only should they be afraid to harm us, but they should have G-d-fear instilled in them. Would that all mankind bow before You, all the millions in American and Russians, the billions in China and everywhere. Would that the whole world be filled with knowledge of Hashem and that all peoples bow down in total submission before You. We must exercise our imaginations to such a grandstand choreography of divine worship.

"And all shall become a single bloc to perform You will with whole heart." Stretch your powers of dramatization and creativity to conjure up such a reality. Everyone, the entire conglomeration of tongues and races and outlooks — everyone in our splintered country, G-d-fearing and otherwise, all those in the lands at military odds with us, all peoples fighting against one another in various countries throughout the world at large, all the member nations of the United Nations — may they all convene for one purpose only:

"To do Your will wholeheartedly." Not for the sake of war and peace, not for technological and economic reasons, not for the world market, not for money or power or honor. One subject alone should be that which unifies all into a world body. Away with competitive organizations, away with coalitions and oppositions. One Single Bloc, one united unit. For only one purpose: To do Your will with whole heart.

Is this scenario possible? Certainly.

"Just as we know, Hashem our G-d, that dominion is before You." We know the truth already now, that this is how it is and how it can and must be. There is nothing besides Him. His dominion reigns ubiquitously; it is Supreme. Strength is in His hand and might in His right. What then?

Not everyone realizes it. But is this cause for it to seem preposterous, G-d forbid? In one fell moment of divine revelation, all of mankind can awaken can begin to see?

"I will pour My spirit upon all flesh." Suddenly, all will internalize the truth. Suffice a single shaft of light to put everything into a proper perspective, to overshadow all petty considerations and make them vanish into nothingness. And only the one true reality will remain and reign: To do Your will with whole heart.

The heavens already relate the glory of Hashem, and the entire creation silently shouts that "One G-d created me." But most people have their eyes blindfolded, and this is how the world looks when viewed through a film that screens the truth. But "Suddenly, the Master will appear at His palace." Abruptly, the enlightenment will burst forth and the entire world will suddenly believe the truth — if they survive and merit that event.

This is what we must pray for - that it happen speedily and in our day. "And so, impose Your fear..."

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