A Thought for the Week
Vayikra - Zachor
There was a boiling hot bath. Everyone wanted to go in but they were afraid. One brazen fellow plunged in. Once he leaped in everyone jumped in after him.
When the Jews left Egypt they were hot,
very hot. The surrounding nations heard about all the miracles that occurred
to the Jews. The world was in awe of the Jewish people. They were also
jealous of our chosenness and wanted to attack. They were all afraid to jump
in. One brazen nation Amalek came and plunged in against the Jews and cooled
us down. We have since suffered for generations in the hands of ruthless
governments and anti-Semitic populaces. None of them were afraid of us.
"reishis goyim Amalek" - Amalek was the first, they started. Once
they started we became easy prey for the entire world.
One of the great luminaries of the last
generation was Rav Yechezkel Levenstien. He was the spiritual leader of Mir
Yeshiva in Poland, Shanghai and eventually he came to the Mir Yeshiva in
Brooklyn. After a very short time in this country he announced that he could
no longer stay in the US and that he will be making Aliya. In his departing
talk he spoke about a man who entered a perfumery. As he entered he was
overwhelmed with the fragrance. After a few minutes the fragrance became
subtle and after an hour he could detect no smell. Rav Yechezkel said that
at the beginning he wasn't used to American society. The things he saw hit
him like a ton of bricks. They kept him up at night. After a few weeks the
very same society became tolerable until he found himself saying, nu-nu. It
was time to leave.
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Rabbi Haber is the OU's National Director of Jewish Education and the spiritual leader of the OU's Pardes Program
Comments and questions are very welcome
"A tree of life for those who embrace it"