I have read statistics about the negative effects that social media is having on our population, especially the young generation, and we need to address these issues quickly. However, with all the dangers of social media, it’s not the biggest problem we have.
Addiction – especially drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, shopping, and so much more – are ruining our society. Many wonderful programs exist to combat this serious issue – and kol ha’kavod to those involved in helping those who suffer – but, as serious as this is, it is also not the biggest problem we face.
Poverty, school violence, broken families, climbing divorce rates, increased anti-Semitism, troubled teens – these are all serious problems. Yet, once again, they are not at the top of the list.
The number one problem today, which has permeated every aspect of our lives, is the thinking that we must be “politically correct.” This sickness has broken through the walls of our shuls, has entered our yeshivos, and has taken over our lives. I will go so far as to say that many of the problems listed above have this at the root level.
Rabbanim are afraid to speak the truth because it’s not politically correct. Schools no longer discipline students because it’s not politically correct to do so anymore. Political leaders are weak and pathetic because television cameras and thousands of cell phones are recording every word and – Heaven forbid! – the politician should say what really needs to be done!
Because of political correctness, we drive away our youth, destroy our families, and crumble our society. What do people do when things fall apart? They turn to social media, get addicted doing something bad, and fall apart. You think I’m exaggerating? Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m 100 percent serious!
When I grew up, we were disciplined and punished when we stepped out of line and – yes! – the teacher/rebbe hit us if it was necessary. Oh, no!!
The rabbi of my youth was Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld zt”l, of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. He was an ardent supporter of Menachem Begin and spoke about him frequently. Rabbi Schonfeld was very vocal in his support for new Israeli settlements that were being built across Judea and Samaria. He spoke about Camp David and a dangerous man named Jimmy Carter. He was not afraid to speak his mind – oh, no!! – and we never screamed: “How dare a rabbi speak politics in shul!”
Let me say this as clearly as I can: When a rabbi avoids a topic because it’s controversial, he’s not much of a rabbi. When a teacher does not discipline properly – he or she (yes, I still say that!) is not much of a teacher. When a political leader refuses to take a stand but chooses instead to take a poll, he or she is not a leader; they are just actors playing the part of a politicians. When this happens, the youth run away from these people – and rightfully so! This is the reason why people (not just the youth) no longer respect authority – because most of them are full of hot air. Their desire may have been to not offend, but those who implemented the PC ideology did more than not offend – they did not attract, not excite, not energize, and not motivate. The apologetic, guilt-ridden value system of today’s educators and leaders has turned Western society into broken souls who feel the need to sugar-coat everything and make losers feel like winners.
Let me share a short story. A few years ago, I was asked to substitute for the local rabbi, who was scheduled to be away. It was the rabbi himself who asked me to step in and give the sermon on Shabbos before Musaf, and I happily complied. (Well, that won’t happen again!) I spoke about a controversial subject and what the Torah perspective was. Just 30 minutes after Havdalah, I received a phone call from the rabbi, who was very upset. He said that a few members of the shul called him to complain, and he asked why I chose to speak about that topic. My answer was simple: because people need to know what the Torah says and not just hear things from the media and the pizza shop. I told him that our nation needs direction and kedushah in their lives – not just halachah. I am not understating the importance of halachah – Heaven forbid! – but this can be studied with a chavrusa or by listening to some of the magnificent shiurim online. What roshei yeshivos, community rabbanim, and teachers need to do is jump head-first into the topics that are causing our heads to spin. They must give clear, focused answers. They need to light our neshamos on fire with truth, holiness, and clarity – and stay away from political correctness, which is actually an anti-Torah concept!
Dearest friends: Don’t ever be afraid of the truth, and, above all, don’t ever be ashamed of Hashem’s Torah. We are the Chosen People, which means it is up to us to spread the light and wisdom of the King of Kings throughout the world. Learn His beautiful Torah and study the teachings of His loyal servants – the rabbis of the Torah SheB’al Peh (Oral Law), as well. Enlighten your surroundings with the non-PC teachings of the Vilna Gaon, Rav Kook, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and a few brave, modern rabbanim who fear Hashem and not the PC police.
Let’s teach the world what the Torah says about controversial issues and never look back. Learn Tanach and the lessons of the Prophets (who were all very non-PC) and let’s be direct in our message. Finally, let’s change from being “Politically Correct” to “Jewishly Correct,” with pride in our Nation, love for our Land, and servitude to our King.
Am Yisrael Chai!