Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

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 In the great vision that the prophet Isaiah witnessed in Heaven at the onset of his immortal prophetic career, he heard a voice that asked: “Who shall I send and who will go for us?" That verse in Isaiah has always been a marker for me as to how to judge Jewish leaders and other people of note. There are moments in life and in history when that question reverberates throughout the Jewish world.

And history and destiny and even, I daresay, Heaven itself judges and will judge every generation of Jews according to the response that they gave to this question. The Jewish world is coming off of a week of tears, heartbreak, angst, enemy rockets, Arab riots and great uncertainty. We need leaders, both religious and temporal, that will go for us.
That will comfort, inspire, act and give us strength and reason to hope and continue, to build and believe. These types of people are rare, scattered throughout Jewish history, often ignored and reviled by their contemporaries and rejected because of current political correctness.
The prophet Isaiah does not receive a warm welcome for his words and visions from the people of Israel. Nevertheless, it is those words that have guided and protected us throughout the ages, all because he was willing to go for us, for all of us.
He initially said that he lived amongst the people that had impure lips and speech. Heaven immediately punished him for that statement. Someone who goes for us is not allowed to complain about us to our Father in Heaven. Heaven searches for defenders of Israel and shuns those who are its accusers, even if those accusations may seemingly be correct and on point. Going for us requires commitment, wisdom, empathy and compassion. It should never be cloaked with moral relativism or sham piety, or with a political and ideological agenda.
Last Saturday a few hundred Jews conducted a rally in Haifa (naturally not in Sderot) demanding that Israel abandon the seven hundred thousand Jews living in Judea, Samaria and the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem and immediately grant the Fatah-Hamas rulers of the Palestinians a state encompassing the 1948 armistice borders.
This took place while Israeli Arabs rioted throughout the country causing great material damage and physical wounds to the police who were trying to keep the peace. These Jews – the hard Left – certainly are not interested in going for us. They are willing to sacrifice countless lives in their attempt to undo the past century of Jewish effort - and to do so on the altar of illusory peace and a very distorted sense of justice and relative morality.
Their ideological fervor in following the false gods of suicidal pacifism and moral relativism blinds them to the realities of the conflicts that rock our section of the world. Their naïveté is ludicrous and almost comical and yet it is so dangerous for our present and future.
Haaretz planned a “peace” conference gathering for this coming week.
Representatives of the Palestinian government were invited and expected to use it as a propaganda coup for their cause. However, the violence and hatred of the Palestinian street, encouraged and educated by this very same leadership, has caused them to withdraw from attending the conference.
So once again, we will have no real partner while arguing amongst ourselves about the fantasies of Oslo, Geneva, Camp David, etc. We should instead convene a conference to rally those many amongst us who are yet willing to go for us.
A leading American Chasidic rebbe made a statement this past week about the placing of blame for the murders of the three young yeshiva students. His remarks were intemperate, foolish and completely lacking in fact and without any sense of Jewish empathy and compassion. Again, ideology and extremism – two of the great dangers lurking in our religious society – drove these public utterances. It is clear that he also does not go for us.
I have grandsons who are students in a major yeshiva here in Jerusalem. They told me that none of their teachers spoke to them about the tragedies and troubles that we are currently experiencing. Apparently they are somehow unable to join themselves in the situations and difficulties that the Jewish people are facing daily here in Israel and throughout the world generally. I don't feel that they - these teachers and scholars - are going for us either.
Where is the voice of necessary comfort, of commitment, of perspective and Torah wisdom? Our mother Rachel wept for us for thousands of years and her tears have seen us through the long night of exile. She has always been going for us. All of us should emulate her and feel part of the great Jewish people and the events that we encounter and surround us, good and better. We should all be willing to listen to that echo from Heaven and continue to go for us.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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