Anything about JUDAISM
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MODERATOR Posted - 21 September 2011 3:04
Despite America's fears and our enemies' plans, this Dvar Torah still applies

For Rosh Hashanah 5762, every rabbi in this country had his shabbos shuva drasha made for him. September 11th happened so close to Rosh Hashanah that everyone just had to talk about it. And rightfully so.

They said that we should take it as a message from Hashem to do Teshuva; that we should wake up and realize that we, too, in America, are vulnerable to terrorism and all sorts of atrocities, and that we have been complacent for so long, confident in the ability of our the two oceans to protect us from what happens all the time in Eretz Yisroel, and now we see it is not so. We are in danger here, too.

And they were right, of course. We are indeed in danger here. And so many of us reacted appropriately. We made assemblies, gathered together to say Tehillim, to daven, to do Teshuva. We davened like most of us have never davened before, because we were so scared of what was going to happen in the future. (My son’s Rosh Yeshiva predicted right after September 11th that in three weeks Jews would not be able to walk the streets anymore, because they would be blamed for what happened.)

And now, a decade later, we look back and realize that NOTHING HAPPENED. Not a single person in this country was killed or even hurt by any terrorist in the past ten years. Not a single incident, anywhere in this country, from coast to coast. There were attempts – the guy with the shoe on the airplane, and others. They caught on the average maybe one terrorist or suspected terrorist daily since 9-11-01.

But nothing happened. All our predictions were wrong – we were safe, Boruch Hashem, and may the Chasdei Hashem continue.

But the question is: Have we maintained that level of Teshuva and focus on our Ruchnius that we had when we were scared? Have we davened for the past decade a single tefilah as intense as we davened on September 12th, 2001? Have we been as careful in our observance of Mitzvos and Torah learning as we were then? Or have we slackened off, because Hashem blessed us with safety, back to business as usual?

If we have not davened or learned during the past years of peace and safety as well as we did on September 12th, what message are we sending to Hashem?. Do twenty five hundred people have to be killed in order for us to return to Him? If so, then we have put ourselves in terrible danger. If we are only that frum when Hashem sends tragedies into our lives, but when Hashem shows us open blessing and protection we are complacent, what does Hashem have to do in order to get us to return to Him? What are we telling Hashem that He has to do in order to get us to return to Him?

There is no question, no doubt, that the only reason nothing happened here after 9-11 is Chasdei Hashem. It is so easy for terrorists to accomplish their horrific missions. Have you ever walked into Penn Station or Grand Central Station in New York City? You’ll see National Guardsmen and police galore, but we all know that there is nothing to stop a suicide bomber rachmana litzlan from just walking in. No metal detectors, no security, nothing.

What would it take for someone to drive a car loaded with explosives into the front of a Yeshiva or Shul? Rachmana Litzlan! It is so easy, we are so vulnerable, so weak, so available to any evil doer that wants to make us victims.

The evil ones threatened. They promised. They assured us that more attacks will come. And they could have come so easily.

But nothing happened. Nothing. Not a single incident in ten years. If this is not open Hashgachah and Blessing from Hashem what is? Yet does it motivate us to return to Him the way we did back then? Do we only return to G-d when thousands of people are killed?

THAT – and only that: the message that we send to Hashem, “See? If you have thousands of people killed we will get better, but if you openly protect us against all odds, we are complacent” – is what puts us in danger.

The Medrash says that it is not the suffering that causes us to daven, but rather the need to daven that causes the suffering. Chazal give a moshol: The king was traveling down the road with his entourage when he heard the screams of a woman in distress. The King sent his soldiers to check it out, and they found a band of robbers attacking the young lady. They killed the robbers and brought the women to the King. She thanked him profusely, and they all went on their way.

The King, however, decided he likes the woman and wants to marry her. So he sent her messages and roses, and invitations to come to the castle but she did not respond. She had no interest in talking to the King. There was nothing the King could do to get an audience with this women.

So what he did was, he sent a band of robbers to attack her while he was nearby, and he waited for her to scream “King! Help me! I’m being attacked! Please!” and then he sent his soldiers to save her, again. It was only then that she was willing to come talk to the King. When she needed his help. So the King had no choice but to make her need his help.

So, too, the Medrash says, Hashem wants our Tefilos. He makes life good for us, he begs us, kivyachol, to come talk to Him. He wants us to return to Him but we refuse. So Hashem has no choice but to send attackers after us.

Then we pray. Then we do Teshuva. Then we talk to the King.

It’s the need to generate Tefilah that creates the Tzoros, not vice versa.

My wonderful friends on frumteens – the King has been continuously sending us roses for all these years! And He made it quite obvious that our good fortune here came only from Him. In late 5761/2001, if you had to predict what this country would look like today, what would you have said? What were we all saying? Yet Hashem showed us that for whatever reason – maybe its because no country in the history of the world was ever so good to Jews and Judaism as the United States of America; no country in history! – or maybe for another reason, but one way of the other, Hashem has shown us His grace, His Influence, His shefah and His blessing in abundance, far beyond what we had a right to expect! Far beyond what any of us expected.

The King has been sending us roses, because He loves us and wants to make us His queen. For the past years the roses have been coming, daily. The most valuable gifts – gifts that we begged for – peace and safety – have been delivered to us daily by His Majesty. Hand delivered. In person..

The Chasam Sofer was once gozer taanis because of a certain Gezeirah that happened to his community in his days. But before the Taanis was supposed to have taken place, the Gezeirah was nullified. The Chasam Sofer said that they still have to fast on the designated day, because we dare not return to Hashem only when impending doom hangs over us.

Everyone wants to know what we can do to help our brothers in Eretz Yisroel. What we can do is show Hashem that we do not need suffering to make us return to Him. Not our suffering, and not the suffering of our brothers abroad.

Please, everyone. Starting Rosh Hashana, for 10 days, is a time that the King Himself created to return to Him. It’s easier now than it is throughout the year to do Teshuva. The King is now not only sending us roses, but is standing right next to us with His arms open for us to throw ourselves into. What happens next – to us and to the rest of Klall Yisroel – is up to us.

In the tochachah we know that the reason for all the horrible curses is "Tachas asher lo avadita Hashem Elokecha besimcha uvetov levava marov kol". All the meforshim ask why is it that just because there was no simcha in your avodas Hashem do you deserve such terrible punishment?

I'd like to add another question, regarding the meaning of the phrase "merov kol". If rov kol over here has a similar meaning to "simcha", that is, you should have served Hashem with simcha and with Rov Kol, the posuk should not have said "me"rov kol, but rather "be"rov kol, like it does by simcha.

Now we can understand. Whenever we have tzoros r"l, we respond by doing Teshuva. We have gatherings, we say Tehillim, we are gozer taanis, we become better.

But although all that is the proper response to tzoros, such a response should not be limited to when bad things happen. Better to do teshuva when good things happen, because good things happen to us, out of gratitude for good things that happen to us.

We should make a Teshuva rally whenever time goes by and no terrorist c"v drives a car bomb into a Yeshiva, or blows himself up in Penn Station or LAX or crashes a plane Hashem yishmeeirnu. The only reason those things don't happen is because of chasdei Hashem. We should get together and make teshuva rallies and become better out of love for all that Hashem gives us, and each morning when we wake up and we're still alive and we have our eyes and ears and arms and legs, we should do teshuva out of happiness. And when we say Birchas HaShachar in the morning and we thank Hashem for all those things we woke up with we should become more frum, and resolve to be better people from now on, out of happiness and gratitude.

Hashem sends us roses every day. We should run into His arms thanking Him.

But if we don't, if the only time we become better and more frum and change our ways is when bad things r"l happen, then what are we telling Hashem? What are we pushing Hashem to do? Our purpose in this world - our only purpose - is to grow and become more frum and better people. And if we only do that when r"l tragedies occur, then what do we expect Hashem to send us?????

"Tachas" (especially when followed by the word "asher") in Hebrew means "because", as in "tachas asher kinah l'elokav", but it also means "instead of", as in "ayin tachas ayin.".

Tachas asher lo avadita Hashem besimcha - Hashem is saying, "Once upon a time you were besimcha. You could have served me out of simcha. You had everything. I sent you roses. You had "rov kol." You could have served Me out of happiness because of all the good you had --- "besimcha merov kol -- with joy, because of all the good you had. The rov kol should have generated the simcha and you could have returned to me and became better because of it.

"But you didn't. You didn't becmoe better. You didn't improve out of joy merov kol.

"But don't worry - you'll become more frum - you will make asifos and gatherings and say tehillim and Teshuva rallies and fasts and people will do teshuva, and you will fulfill the purpose of your life.

"Just wait until the bad things happen. then you'll do Teshuva. You didn't want to do teshuva when the good things happened? Just wait until the Tochachah happens - then you'll suddenly do Teshuva.

"One way or another, your job in this world is to become better. You could have become better out of joy, but you didn't. Now, Tachas asher lo avadita ..besimcha merov kol, because you didn't serve Hashem out of the joy that you had because you had so much --- rov kol -- you will now become better out of tzoros. You had the simcha. The simcha brought on by rov kol. You were besimcha. But did you do teshuva because of it? Did you serve me because of it? No?

"The, tashas asher lo avadita Hashem besimcha merov kol -- you will now serve Hashem the hard way."

May we all be zocheh to return to Hashem through joy of Rov Kol. May we all recognize that the Rov Kol that we experience each day comes only from Hashem, and that the simcha that we experience because of it, is a gift from G-d.

A kesiva Vachasima Tovah to everyone! And a joyous and sweet year.
My wishes and prayers for a Kesiva Vachasimah Tovah to all of the frumteens community – the most awesome people in the world – and all of Klall Yisroel, for a Kesiva Vachasimah Tovah – the greatest year ever, and may we all be zocheh to break our anonymity on this site when we all meet to witness the Salvation and Simcha of all Yisroel, Amen.

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