emunah, tefillah, a little mussar, and a shmeck of geula

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goin' Ostrich

My brother’s keeper?

 Back in Elul, in EmunahSpeak: Red Alert! we noted the recent missile attacks on Ashdod.  And although through the course of the year the intermittent firing of missiles triggered additional Red Alerts, it wasn’t till this past Shabbos and the days following, that the Red Alert siren was heard in Ashdod with a frequency approaching that of last Elul. 

And as it was back in Elul, it falls to Rabbi Lazer Brody to give us the play by play at street level:
GRAD rockets continue to be fired from Gaza toward Ashdod. We had 5 Red-alerts this morning, at 6:30 AM, 8:15 AM, 8:35 AM, 10:07 and just now at 10:55 AM.

That was yesterday’s bulletin. 

On Sunday, he reported that in addition to a number of hits that day, the Red Alert was heard many times in the wee hours of Shabbos morning.  So much so, that people were nodding out in shul from lack of sleep.

And today, for the fourth day in a row it was more of the same with attacks coming at 2:25 P.M., 2:45 P.M., 3:15 P.M., and 5:00 P.M.

As for the rest of the country, the part that’s outside of siren range, it’s not clear if they’re hearing anything at all, be it with their ears or their hearts.

In EmunahSpeak: Now We Know we said in reference to the Leiby Kletsky tragedy:

Like rolling thunder he (the Satan) moved from one place to the next.  Way out at first on the other side of the world through New Zealand and Japan, leaving earthquakes in his wake, then a lot closer in the form of tornadoes tearing through the Deep South and then through Joplin, Missouri.  From there he went into the flood business as he devastated the Mississippi Valley, and then, back in tornado mode, he dropped in for a quick pit stop next door in Springfield, Massachusetts to quench his thirst by almost sucking up the Connecticut River.

These weren’t isolated incidents.

As is well known, the Gemara in Yevamos teaches that every disaster that comes upon the world comes only because of Klal Yisroel.  It’s always about us.  It always was and it always will be.

Rav Miller, z”l used to say that if you see a small news item on the bottom of page 89 in the New York Times reporting a cyclone in Bangladesh that killed 200,000 people, the whole purpose for this devastation was that a Jew named Miller in Flatbush should hear about it and do Teshuva.  And if he doesn’t do Teshuva, then it’s a waste of a lot of goyim for nothing.

Like rolling thunder, the Satan moved from one place to the next.  Each stop along the way Hashem knocked on our door, but we didn’t answer.  And so it went until he reached Boro Park.

And when he finally got there, Hashem didn’t knock.  He let the Satan kick the door down instead.

You can’t say we weren’t warned.

And in like manner both those living in Ashdod and all the rest of us for that matter, who are doing our best to avert our eyes, have also been warned.

As a proxy for earthquakes and floods we have missiles, but instead of seeing them through the eyes of the Gemara so as to utilize them as a means of bringing us to Teshuva, all we see, to the extent that we trouble ourselves to look, is missiles and the wickedness of the Arabs that rain them down on our heads. 

Rather than see a wake up call, we see a routine, or more accurately we succumb to a routine much akin to garbage collection or bread delivery.

A couple of years ago, Mishpacha Magazine ran a piece about Netivot when the first kassim rockets fell within a kilometer of the town. The people quoted in that story made it very clear that they viewed the possibility of rockets, chas v'shalom, falling on Netivot as a tragedy of major proportions.  That it was happening tog and nacht in Sederot which is only a few kilometers up the road was not even mentioned, and therein lays the real tragedy.  One does not have to look further than Parshas Vayeira to see what kind of a midda this is. 

What future is there in a country where the concern of anyone as to what’s happening runs only to the extent that it’s happening to him? 

Instead of deciphering and internalizing what the Gemara tells us should be on our screen, we do a one-eighty by not daring to take a peak outside our daled amos. And as a consequence thereof, we are the ultimate losers because when we go ostrich vis á vis yenem we are at the same time closing our eyes to that which was sent our way to awaken us to our dire need to do Teshuva.