We are all familiar with the teaching of Chazal, the Sages, that the Second Beis HaMikdash fell, not due to any specific sin, but rather because Jews were guilty of sin’as chinam, baseless hatred.
I had always assumed, as I would imagine most do, that the destruction of the Temple was a punishment for the wanton hatred. If Jews hate each other, then they are not deserving of a Beis HaMikdash.
Now I understand that this is not the meaning. It has become clear that if Jews disdain each other, if they fight each other, if they oppose each other, then they lose their ability to overcome their enemies. They lose focus on their common adversary.
No doubt, the great fissure recently gripping Israel over political/religious matters had much to do with the horrific success of our despicable enemy.
What we are seeing now is a display of unprecedented unity throughout the Jewish world. From the Left to the Right, from chasidim to Dati Leumi. From Reform to Orthodox. World Jewry from Israel to Europe to America is united more than ever. The amount of chesed from American Jews shipping incredible amounts of food and supplies to the Israeli soldiers is mind-boggling. Hatzalah flying endless amounts of goods to Israel is beyond imagination.
There is a well-known passage in the Gemara (Yerushalmi, Pei’ah 1:1) that states: “The generation of King David was composed of righteous Jews, but due to their internal bickering they fell in battle. The generation of Ach’av (Ahab) was composed of idol worshipers, yet they were unified; thus, they were victorious in war.”
Amazing! Unity was key to winning. Fractionalization, on the other hand, led to disaster. Israel is currently unified as never before. With Hashem’s help, they will win this war as never before.
What we are also witnessing is the complete collapse of any moral or ethical standing of the Left. The “social justice warriors” on campus suddenly align with the greatest human rights abusers in the world. Their sympathies are with baby-killers and women-abusers. They side with the Palestinians who routinely execute LGBTQ members, a sacred cause of the Left.
Black Lives Matter, which instigated an upheaval in this country due to the murder of one Black man, have come out in support of the mass murderers in Gaza. When Mort Klein of the ZOA early-on called out the BLM for its anti-Israel and anti-Semitic actions, he was vilified in the Presidents Conference [Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations] and was threatened with expulsion from the organization. It would be wonderful if the Reform and other left-wing organizations, plus the Orthodox members of the Conference who remained silent during the debate, would issue a giant mea culpa and beg Mort for forgiveness.
Remember our (thankfully) former Jewish councilman, now residing in Great Neck, who helped paint a giant Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, as he posed proudly with his yellow straw hat? How about fessing up and admitting you were dead wrong? It will never happen.
It also must be noted that in all this horror, the Palestinian Authority has gotten a pass, as though they were never guilty of such atrocities. Do you recall the countless men, women, and children who were gunned down this year by Abbas’ paid slayers? This is the enemy that Israel is surrounded with.
President Biden has thus far been great. We need to be eternally grateful for that. At a future time, we will need to assess what role his coddling of Iran had to do with this war. But right now, we thank him profusely for standing solidly behind Israel.
However, there is one important statement that Mr. Biden made that must be refuted. He said we should not forget that the “overwhelming majority” of Gazans do not agree with Hamas. I’m sorry, but the great majority of Gazans voted for Hamas in their one-time election years ago. More importantly, in video clips of the barbarians parading their hostages in the streets of Gaza, hundreds of Gazans came crawling out from under their rocks to cheer the terrorists on. That included countless youngsters with hands aloft. I do not buy that PC line that most Gazans disapprove of Hamas. We must fully fathom the nature of the beast to destroy it.
On a very informative Zoom meeting sponsored by YIKGH featuring Zvi Gluck of Amudim, we became very aware of the work that this organization is doing to ferry people and goods to and from Israel. We also discussed the frightening situation for Jews on college campuses across the country as student mobs and faculty loudly proclaim their loyalty and support of Hamas. Questions were asked from the audience: What can we Jews do about it?
Since the ADL does almost nothing to combat leftist hate, we must act ourselves. One of the significant things we can do is call our political representatives in New York and urge them to act. Please contact the following. Be polite but firm.
Senator Charles Schumer: New York 212-486-4430. Washington 202-224-6542
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Washington 202-224-4451
Congressman Jerrold Nadler: New York 212-367-7350. Washington 202-225-5635
Newly-elected NYS Assemblyman Sam Berger: 718-969-1508
May Hashem listen to our prayers and let us see the fulfillment of the words of the Torah in this week’s Parshas Noach (6:13): “And G-d said to Noah: …The earth is filled with chamas (robbery) and behold I am about to destroy them from the earth.” Amen!
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.