Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


For Your Name Which Was Desecrated
by Rabbi Yonasan Rosenblum
This article orignally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine

  Rated by 5 users   |   Viewed 9505 times since 8/7/09   |   2 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

8/7/09

The final stanza of Eli Zion, the last kinnah recited in many shuls on Tisha B'Av, reads, ". . . for Your Name, which was desecrated by the mouth of those who arose to torment her . . . ." Following the interpretive principle that the conclusion (chatima) is determinative, we infer that the greatest tragedy associated with Tisha B"Av is the Chilul Hashem caused by the destruction of the Temple.

That insight strikes with particular force today. What gentile looks at us and thinks, "Perhaps they really are the Chosen People?" What non-religious Jew looks to the Torah world and finds his curiosity aroused about the source of such refinement and simple mentschlikeit The janitor in an Orthodox-owned factory recently asked his boss, "If you really are the Chosen People, why are you all so corrupt?"

We each carry around a set of adult pacifiers to grab onto at such moments. Who has not repeated many times Rabbi Berel Wein's famous line, "Don't judge Judaism by the Jews." But the Torah is judged, for better or worse, by the behavior of Torah Jews. Meeting a Torah Jew who exemplified something he or she has never before encountered serves as a major impetus for virtually every ba'al teshuva.

Rabbi Zev Leff likes telling a story of the Telshe Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai (Mottel) Katz. A non-religious Jew once asked him, "Rabbi, how do you explain all these religious Jews who lie, steal, and cheat on their income taxes?"

Reb Mottel replied, "I have the same question about all those religious Jews who eat on Yom Kippur, drive on Shabbos, and don't keep kosher." The man looked perplexed. "Those aren't religious," he said. "Well, neither are those you mentioned," Reb Mottel replied.

Unfortunately, writing all those who lie, steal and cheat out of the ranks of Orthodoxy only takes us so far. For one thing, the former view themselves and are viewed as others as frum Jews.

Nor can their self-image be dismissed as simply a bluff. An Orthodox prison chaplain relates how he once brought a prisoner a set of the Four Species for Sukkos. The prisoner, however, rejected the esrog, telling the chaplain, "I'm makpid (strict) on a pitom." The chaplain could not resist asking, "About a pitom you are strict, and about defrauding widows you are lenient?" But obviously the prisoner did feel some connection to Hashem. Otherwise, why would he have cared about the pitom either?

If we carried Rabbi Katz's answer to its logical conclusion, where would we draw the line? Most of us are not candidates for the federal penitentiary. But how many would feel comfortable having Rabbi Shimon Schwab, zt"l, examine our books, if he were still alive? A rabbi once called Rabbi Schwab and began his question, "A frum Jew who runs a cash business . . ." He had gotten no further when Rabbi Schwab shouted, "WHAT!"

Thinking that Rabbi Schwab was hard of hearing, the rabbi began again, "A frum Jew who runs a cash business . . ." Again, Rabbi Schwab shouted, "WHAT!" After the third try, Rabbi Schwab explained that running a cash business – i.e.., evading taxes – cannot be reconciled with being a frum Jew.

Even if we could pass the Rabbi Schwab bookkeeping test, how many of us can say that we have never lowered the respect for Torah Jews by our public behavior – e.g., the way we drive, reacting angrily when irritated by a sales clerk? I know I couldn't pass that test.

NO DOUBT many Torah Jews could pass the Rabbi Schwab bookkeeping test. They just don't happen to be the ones who receive any media attention. Someone raised in the Breuer's kehillah of Washington Heights once told me that he had never ever experienced the slightest temptation to cheat on his income taxes. Just as the prisoner mentioned above could not imagine taking an esrog without a pitom, he could not imagine trying to short change the government.

That contrast suggests that much Chilul Hashem results from an educational failure. We are failing to transmit what Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv calls the central educational message for our time – i.e., the Name of Heaven should become beloved through your actions. In the Haftorah read on Tisha B'Av, the prophet Yirmiyahu offers Hashem's explanation of the Churban: "Because they have forsaken My Torah, which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked therein" (Yirmiyahu 9:12).

If forsaking Hashem's Torah meant failing to study Torah or observe the commandments, Rabbeinu Yonah asks, how can we understand the inability of the Prophets and Sages to identify the causes of the Churban (Nedarim 81a)? Rabbeinu Yonah explains that the generations preceding the Destruction learned Torah and fulfilled the mitzvos. What they failed to do was give sufficient thought to what it means to obey His voice and walk in His ways – i.e., to inquire what kind of human being Hashem seeks to fashion through His mitzvos. Chazal express this idea by saying that they did not recite bircas HaTorah (the blessings prior to learning Torah).

German Jews raised in the Hirschian tradition, with its constant emphasis on Mentsch Yisrael and the educational message conveyed by every single detail of the mitzvos, are protected against viewing mitzvos as a mere checklist of commands, with no implications for our character development. Rabbi Schwab's prophetic denunciations of all forms of Chilul Hashem, which are currently circulating widely, capture this aspect of the Hirschian tradition.

The Sfas Emes asks why Moshe Rabbeinu reproved the Bnei Yisrael at such length on the eve of entering the Land. After all, the perpetrators of those sins had already died in the Desert. He answers that it is the task of each generation to correct the failings of preceding generations and that requires knowing those failings.

When it comes to countering the Chilul Hashem represented by the destruction of the Temple, however, we seem to be adding to rather than repairing the damage. The need for each of us to dedicate himself to Kiddush Hashem in every action, large or small, public or private, is the most important lesson of Tisha B'Av 5769.

I would like to thank Rabbi Dovid Miller and Rabbi Zev Leff for the above insights.



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 5 users    (2 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements