This week’s parshah is a powerful exhortation to live a life of k’dushah. Haftaras K’doshim links the rejection of k’dushah to Galus. If we Yidden fall into error – G-d forbid – then we are ejected from our Holy Land and thrown into the mouth of the lion.

“I shall scatter you among the nations and disperse you among the lands and remove all your contamination from you.” (Yechezkel 22:15) If we fail to act with holiness, then Hashem scatters us among the unholy nations, who are contaminated from head to toe. In their sickness, they hate k’dushah, and that is why they hate us. Even if some of our brethren forget their innate k’dushah, they still bear the Holy Name of Hashem, and this is what the nations are trying to stamp out.

What accusation against am Yisrael is being heard in the world today?

They accuse us of trying to exterminate those who want to kill us. I am not going to justify our actions, because they need no justification. When someone tries to kill you, the Torah enjoins you to defend yourself, and that is what we are doing.

When Hashem revealed Himself to our Father Avraham, He said words that echo through the centuries: “He who curses you I will curse” (B’reishis 12:3).

The words of Hashem are more than words. They are actions. They are deeds.

The nations are cursing us today. They should be trembling with fear.

Without exception, from the beginning of time, every nation that cursed Israel has been destroyed. “The enemy declared, ‘I will pursue. I will overtake. I will plunder. I will satisfy my lust with them. I will unsheathe my sword.’ …. [But] You [Hashem] stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them… terror gripped the dwellers of Philistia... the chieftains of Edom were confounded; trembling gripped the powers of Moab; all the dwellers of Canaan dissolved…. Fear and terror [befell] them…” (Sh’mos 15:9ff).

Several years ago, my wife and I were in a public parking lot in Berlin, Germany. There, beneath the parked cars, beneath the asphalt and parking meters, lay the former bunker of Adolf Hitler, may his name be ground to dust. This is where the rasha, who imagined a 1,000-year Reich, killed himself after causing a war in which 85 million people died. His entire motivation was the destruction of am Yisrael, G-d forbid.

Hatred of am Yisrael is the direct cause of world destruction.

Love of am Yisrael is the direct cause of every brachah.

When someone curses a Yid, he is destroyed. When a nation curses Yidden, that nation is destroyed. Those who hate us will be ground into nothingness by a Power that cannot be resisted. The Torah told the world thousands of years ago what would happen.

No one should be surprised when Hashem’s words are fulfilled.

I want to tell you about a great Jew who embodied k’dushah. He left this world a few days ago to go to his great reward. Rabbi Yechiel Perr, zeicher tzadik livrachah, was the Founder and Rosh Yeshivah of the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway. There was no one else like Rabbi Perr.

He was my friend.

In the year 2000, I was already in what people refer to as “middle age.” I had done many things, but I had yet to find what I believed Hashem had put me in this world to accomplish. At that point, I decided to try to write the book that was “inside” me. This book told the story of how I had found Hashem after growing up as an alienated Jew.

The book took a year to write. Then I spent another frustrating year going from publisher to publisher. Who wants to publish this book by an unknown author? Everywhere, I met rejection. Then one day, very discouraged, I found myself in Rabbi Perr’s holy presence. I poured out my heart, and he gave me simple advice: “Go to Jonathan David Publishers.”

“Who is Jonathan David Publishers?”

“It doesn’t matter. Just look them up. They will publish your book.”

Rabbi Perr knew things that other people did not know. In his calm, quiet way, he just knew things, and I followed his advice. The end of the story is that From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul was published by Jonathan David, a wonderful publishing house, and became the number one Jewish-English bestseller in the spring of 2001.

From that moment, my wife and I embarked on a career of writing and speaking all over the Jewish world. The first book was followed by five more, and my wife and I have spoken in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of locations in 15 countries. We have connected with Yidden all over the world.

It all began with Rabbi Yechiel Perr zt”l, the unique rosh yeshivah who left the world this week. He founded a great yeshivah and was the inspiration for countless b’nei Torah. He was towering in physical as well as spiritual stature, but to me he will be remembered as a man who opened the road to life.

May his memory be a blessing to this beleaguered world. What an incredible loss that a man of such greatness is no longer among us! May we soon see the day upon which a new light will shine forth from Tzion, a day upon which all tears will be wiped away, when the world will be filled with k’dushah, a goal for which Rabbi Perr toiled his entire life.

 By Roy S. Neuberger