Sunday, April 27, 2008
Please Come Home
On Tuesday morning, I will be leaving for a very emotional two week trip to Poland and Israel. As I reflect upon the terrible fires that engulfed our nation 60 years ago, it brings tears to my eyes to consider that we are in the midst of a very dangerous spiritual genocide. Consider that in the United States, there is a 50% intermarriage rate, with rampant assimilation and Torah-ignorance, with ritual observance at an all time low. Approximately 600 000 American Jews identity with some form of Christianity. Imagine, the descendants of good, strong Russian Jews from the Pale of Settlement who resisted the Czar's armies with all their might, getting baptized. Jewish children accepting Jesus! Sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob going to church, praying to the Virgin, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. What a tragedy! In Israel, many, following their service in the army, search out spirituality in India and move to ashrams. The travesty of Jews in Israel, the world capital of spirituality, forced to drink impure water from foreign wells of avodah zara in the far-flung East!
My Jewish brothers, lost sons and daughters of Israel, I plead with you to return home. Judaism is one of the world's most ancient faiths, which has outlasted nations, empires and ideologies. Whether you have found your true calling as a monk in Tibet, accepted the sweetness of Allah's deen, worship Jesus christ as your Lord and Saviour or are just lost amidst the aggressive secularism of today's soceity, please do not abandon your heritage. For you to be alive today as a Jew is the greatest of miracles. Do not accomplish yourself what so many tyrants, dictators and despots have tried to do to the Jewish people. Israel stands for Yesh Shishim Ribot Otiot La'Torah- there are 600 000 letters in the Torah. There is one letter for every Jew. Just as a Torah scroll in invalidated if even one letter is missing, our nation is defficient as long as one Jew is away from home. I love you with all my heart and I plead with you to reconsider your Jewish identity, to reconnect with your past and to strengthen your Judaism.
There is a story of, following the terrible Nazi Shoah, that R. Yosef Kahaneman zt'l, the Ponevezhe Rav began looking for Jewish children who had survived the war. It was known that some of the children had ended up in churches and were being raised as Christians. The church denied vigorously such a phenomenon. R. Kahaneman took it upon himself to travel Europe and search in monasteries and convents. When he got there, he would recite out loud: "Shemah Yisrael, HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem echad"- Hear O Israel, HaShem is our G-d, HaShem is One. Immediately, the Jewish children would raise their hands and cry out 'mama, mama'. They had come home. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the Shemah. They are engraved upon your hearts and souls. We have been burnt by scorching fire, drowned in cruel waters, starved, beaten and oppressed but we have never forgotten the Shemah. No matter how far you've strayed, you can always come back. Do not turn your back on your people.
May HaShem merit that all the lost Jewish children return home.