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Devar Torah - Bo

Friday, 11 January, 2019 - 9:36 am

Secure Borders

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Parshas Bo discusses the final three plagues and the Exodus from Mitzrayim. Because the Jewish People did not change their language, their mode of dress and and marital purity they merited to be redeemed. What lesson does this teach us in our lives today?

Last week Rabbi Dovid Greene, the son of  Professor Green who worked at NASA explained at a fabrengen in shul lessons his father learned from the Apollo mission to the moon. Professor Green explained that sending the Apollo into space safely requires careful sterilization of the the space capsule. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty which the U.S. and the Soviet Union managed to agree on at the height of the Cold War  forbade both nations from bringing space microbes back to Earth, or spreading Earth germs to other planets. Just as when one journeys into space they need to maintain sterility so too we need to guard against becoming contaminated by the many foreign negative influences swirling around in the world today and guard against bringing them into our homes. Many sense the dangers of these influences and to avoid becoming susceptible to the harm they bring prefer go into a ‘sterilized capsule’ a safe environment to escape them. The Alter Rebbe and the Rabbeim gave us Chabad Chassidus which gives us the strength not just to be protected but also to go out into the world with a sense of purpose and fulfill our mission and help others fulfill their mission. 

Another lesson from the Apollo is the experience of weightlessness. While the capsule was in space the passengers were suspended into a temporary state of weightlessness free from the gravitational force felt on earth. Even though while they were in space they were weightless, they were also aware the entire time that some point later they would be returning to the earth and resuming daily life with the force of gravity keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground. So too in our lives today, the Rebbeim gave us an inheritance by which we can remain grounded in a world of galus. Galus is likened to being lost in space. Being lost in space means living lives without purpose and meaning, as if floating aimlessly through time. The Jewish people have the ability to stay grounded with the awareness of our purpose to make this world a dwelling place for Hashem’s presence and with a strong and abiding faith that the galus will end with the coming of Moshiach. With Chabad Chassidus we realize that we are never truly lost, and although the world around us does appear temporarily to be lost in space, our job is to stay grounded and serve a living example for others.

In today’s world being lost in space without a gravitational force means to be lost not just without an established set of values that serve as the dynamic underpinning that shape the choices we make, but further, it also means not to know the real reasons for misguided beliefs and values. Nowadays we see young people protesting on college campuses around the country against worthy values and  for beliefs and ideas that they themselves neither understand nor can articulate. It goes without saying that they are not able to engage in a thoughtful dialogue and counterbalance them with an opposing viewpoint.

Nowadays all too often the rejection of faith and values is not based on thoughtful consideration but on group think, shutting down freedom of speech, and violence. They don't even know why they reject tradition and faith in God, it’s just an assumption that they have accepted along with the right to marginalize others. They are lost, untethered in space with no moral ethical and faith grounding. When people do not have a healthy ‘gravitational field’ of values and lifestyle their lives end up revolving around themselves and their own desires. And then we see a downward spiral into drugs and depravity, a breakdown of the family unit and then ultimately isolation, when people no longer understand themselves and the purpose of their lives.

This is why the Rebbe asked for a moment of silence in the public school system. Now we can see from direction the country is taking what it is the Rebbe was trying to prevent. First they took G-d out the school system. Instead of allowing exposure to a Creator they only sanction describing creation as having come from an amorphous Big Bang. The education has decoupled life as we know it from having any connection or relationship with a Creator. If there's a drought they don't think about praying for rain, they prefer to blame global warming. It’s not real science when science is used to fit with predetermined opinions that just so happen to free them from any obligation to serve a Creator. That’s their theory, it’s not science. The values of marriage is the next thing to be effected. From the time they divorced G-d from the public square divorce in families have skyrocketed. Now, these same ‘scientists’ have decided to turn a blind eye to the science of biological differences. Instead it’s left for those lost in space to decide what gender they would like, if any, and true biological gender to be considered a bias!  Along with biological differences, religious preferences are frowned upon and it considered unacceptable to believe in the Bible. How did we get here? We got here from turning our back on an eye that sees and an ear that hears and taking a moment of silence and a moment of gratitude to realize where all the blessings come from.

Today it has become like Pharaoh in Mitzrayim who said I do not know Hashem and I do not have to listen. Moshe Rabbenu said to Pharaoh; Hashem is real and Hashem will show you that He is real through the ten plagues. The Rebbe explained that the ten plagues were also for the Jewish people to know that Hashem is real. Hashem gives the strength to see G-dliness. Chassidus teaches us that there is hashgacha protis in every aspect of our lives and in creation.

By staying strong learning chassidus, not changing our language, mode of dress  and marital purity; by strengthening our homes and the education we give to our children to make sure that their feet are firmly planted on the ground so that our children are not lost, by living and seeing hashgacha protis in everything, we merit to be lifted out of galus and bring redemption to us and to the world.

A Good Shabbos

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