On Sunday evening, November 19, Let’s Get Real With Coach Menachem hosted a Zoom shiur with Rabbi Dr. Yitzchak Breitowitz, Rav of Kehillas Ohr Somayach.
Rabbi Breitowitz began by stating that we are in a time of danger for klal Yisrael, and klal Yisrael will succeed because Hashem loves us. There have been korbanos, and it’s all a precursor to Mashiach. Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu that he could see Him from the back. The Chasam Sofer explained that afterwards we will understand all the troubles, but not while the trouble is going on. The events we are witnessing have a strong resemblance to the cataclysmic events predicted before Mashiach. G’dolim are saying that we are in the birth pangs of Mashiach, and from the pain will come the blessings of the time of Mashiach. The Maharal taught that the nature of a seed is that, before it germinates, it totally disintegrates into the ground. On October 7, despite our skills and highly developed Israeli intelligence, the attacks happened. We see that without Hashem we are not able to live. It teaches us humility and submission to Hashem.
Rav Chaim Vital taught that an aspect of galus before Mashiach is that the last part of galus will be dealing with Yishmael. Also, Persia will join Arabia. Why is Yishmael difficult for us in galus? They have spiritual merits such as the merit of milah, t’filah, and tz’nius. It is dark spiritual energy. Yishmael can only be defeated by a superior manifestation of spirituality. He pointed out that we have Russia fighting Ukraine and Iran against Saudi Arabia. This points to Gog U’Magog.
He noted how even in the United States there is so much anti-Semitism under the surface veneer of civilization. Hashem is telling us that we can’t depend on anyone or anybody. “Nothing can protect me but Hashem!” He added that, these are very scary times, and our emunah becomes especially meaningful in times like this. It’s a real test of emunah if we trust in Hashem when times are difficult. The z’chus of our bitachon is a great s’gulah for the g’ulah. This is an opportunity for us to grow in emunah.
In the United States, we see institutions collapsing like defunding the police, gender identity, etc. We have to realize that we are not in charge, and then Hashem steps in to reveal Himself. In many ways, anti-Semitism brings Jews back to Judaism. This has always been true.
He shared a story about the Brisker Rav, who lost his rebbetzin and children in the Holocaust. When he was in the Warsaw Ghetto, he was calm. One of his students asked him how he was able to stay calm now when normally he was a more nervous person. The rav explained that when you are in a situation and there is nothing you can do, then you know it is all up to Hashem. Rabbi Breitowitz added that the Brisker Rav understood that Hashem is running the world and there is a gam zo l’tovah in everything. In Psalm 23, King David speaks about a stick and a staff. The staff supports you and the stick hits you. He shared that not all the destructive prophecies before Mashiach are inevitable. The Rambam teaches that the prophecy for negative can be changed by t’shuvah and Hashem’s midah of rachamim. So, we have the responsibility to do what we can. Every Jew has to have tremendous gratitude to the IDF soldiers who are risking their lives for am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael.
“Our Torah and our t’filah are our main weapons.” You have to know the cause and effect. The blatt you learned could save a solider. Your t’filos are not in vain. The Steipler taught that every t’filah goes to Shamayim and brings y’shuos for klal Yisrael.
“We have to know that our t’filos have tremendous significance. Our davening matters!”
He taught that a Yid lives with uncertainty. We live in an unpredictable world. Don’t despair. Know you can make a difference. You have a responsibility to do it.
He concluded that your avodah is to focus on being an eved Hashem and to focus on bein adam l’chaveiro and ahavas Yisrael. When we do this, the tzarah will take care of itself.
By Susie Garber