Parshas Eikev 5780
Part I. Chosen Nation
Preach About This
If you have the time, it would be worthwhile to take a look inside the chumash at a very important possuk. It’s in Eikev, at the beginning of chamishi; kapital yud, passuk yud daled. It’s worth studying the words there because it’s one of the most important declarations in the entire kisvei kodesh. Not only study them; we should never forget the words we’re going to read now; we should keep them in our minds always and preach them to our children.
הֵן – Behold, הֵן לֲהַשֵׁם אֱלֹקֶיךָ הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם – To Hashem belong the heavens and the heavens above the heavens; it means that all of space belongs to Hashem. Do you know what space is? If you would get into a rocketship that shoots out into the sky at the speed of light, at 186,000 miles per second, you would be a very old man before you reach some of the distant stars we can still see. You’ll get married and your children will get married and your grandchildren will get married, and if you live long enough you’ll see great-great-great grandchildren on that rocketship and you’d still be traveling.
And that’s just a dust speck of the shomayim u’shmei hashomayim that belongs to Hashem. You didn’t even begin yet! Space is way out; you have no idea – there’s no end to it. There are many millions of worlds; a hundred million or more. And that’s only one galaxy – our galaxy is only like a drop of light in infinity. There are as many galaxies as there are drops in the Pacific Ocean; more than that. And it all belongs to Hashem: לֲהַשֵׁם אֱלֹקֶיךָ הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם – Hashem owns the heavens and He owns the heavens above the heavens, הָאָרֶץ וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּֽהּ – the whole world and everything in it belongs to Him.
Your Forefathers and You
Now, pay attention to the next possuk. Because we’re going to find out now what it is that matters most to the One who owns all of space. רַק בַּֽאֲבֹתֶיךָ חָשַׁק הַשֵּׁם – Only in our forefathers did Hashem delight, לְאַֽהֲבָה אוֹתָם – to love them. It means that the One who owns it all is not interested in anything except for your forefathers. Hashem’s interest is rak, only in our Avos. The sun is nothing to Hashem. The millions of stars are nothing to Hashem. The billions of space miles are nothing to Hashem. Rak ba’avosecha, only in our forefathers does He have an interest to love them.
And in case you might think, “Well, that’s all bygone. It says ‘in your forefathers!’” Oh no, don’t say that. וַיִּבְחַר בְּזַרְעָם אַֽחֲרֵיהֶם בָּכֶם – And He chose their children after them, you. בָּכֶם means you! מִכָּל הָֽעַמִּים – from all the nations, כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּֽה – as this day. It’s a thunderous declaration from the mouth of Hashem that He loves the Am Yisroel more than anyone or anything in the Universe. Bachem ka’yom hazeh means you, forever and ever; whenever these words will be read by zar’am achareihem, by your children after you, they should know that it’s only in them that Hashem delights.
Rambam, Rashi and You!
Which children? Not only the Rambam and Rashi and the gedolei hadoros. No! Every kosher observant Jew. If you’re loyal to his Torah then Hakodosh Boruch Hu says to you, “All of space is Mine, all the billions of star worlds belong to Me, but I chose only your fathers, and you after them.” It means men and women and boys and girls – each one of them is more important than the entire creation. Hakodosh Boruch Hu loves Chaim and Dovid and Berel and Yerucham and Elazar. He’s thinking only about Yenta and Chana and Pelta and Chava!
So Mr. Greenberg – Hashem loves you more than He loves all of space. Mr. Katz, Mr. Rubin, Mr. Friedman, Mr. Shama and everybody else, you’re all that Hashem is interested in. “Each one of you,” Hashem says, “is more beloved to Me than all of space!”
The Main Characters
Now, the truth is that we didn’t have to wait for Parshas Eikev to see that we are it. Because actually it’s the theme of the entire Torah, of all the kisvei Hakodesh. The principle of the greatness of a Jew in the eyes of Hashem is the paramount theme of the Torah; I say paramount theme – of course the first theme of the Torah is Yud Kei Vav Kei, Hashem, but as a corollary to Hashem the Am Hashem is the main theme in the Torah.
Now, if you want to know what a person is interested in, you listen to his conversation; listen to what he talks about. Let’s say you’re going out with a young lady and you want to know what she’s interested in; so if she talks about home and the family and the ideal of making a beautiful atmosphere of Beis Hamikdash in her house, “Oh! That’s what she’s thinking about? That’s the one I’m looking for!” If she’s talking about the good times that she had in the past and the fun she’s looking forward to; traveling and experiencing various kinds of entertainment and pleasure, then you know where her heart is. From her words, you can know.
Now, what is the Torah? When we look into the Torah, we’re listening to Hashem talking; we hear what He’s thinking. It’s the book of Hashem’s machshavos. It’s important – that’s the mind, that’s the way He thinks. Now we don’t know how he thinks, it’s impossible to understand how he thinks. But as far as we’re concerned, when Hashem talks in the Torah, He is showing us what He thinks. It’s divrei Elokim chayim – the word of the living G-d; it’s the conversation of Hashem.
So we take a look in the Torah and what is it that He talks about? If we look at the Torah with even superficial attention, we’re going to discover the most important of all things in the world is the Jewish nation. It’s remarkable – Hashem is talking and talking and it’s only about the Am Yisroel. Everything in the Torah deals only with that subject.
Just open the chumash. Does the chumash say “Vayidaber Hashem el Patrick laymor” or “Vayidabar Hashem el Murphy laymor”? No – Hashem only speaks to the Am Yisroel. He doesn’t speak to anybody but the zera Avrohom. The entire chumash, the entire nevi’im, the entire ksuvim are only the Am Yisroel. He speaks only about Avraham and Yitzchak and Yaakov and from then on until the end of the entire kisvei hakodesh, that’s all He talks about. And that itself is the most convincing demonstration that this is what’s most conspicuous in Hashem’s mind.
From the beginning of the Torah, everyone else is barely mentioned or entirely ignored. Nothing is spoken about the history of the great empires that existed. You know, at the time when our forefathers were experiencing the stories that are related in the Torah, there existed big empires already; there were tremendous cities with mighty monarchs and palaces and governments. There were a lot of things doing in the world, things worth talking about if a historian would want to inscribe them in his books. And yet, they didn’t have the zechiyah to be mentioned in the Torah. They’re not even pale figures in the background.
There was a great empire of Sumer at the time of the Avos and they come in for no mention at all. We don’t hear about them — only about the Am Yisroel. Nothing is told about the Irish people or about the Norsemen or the Teutonics. The wars of the Romans and the Egyptians, and the Persians – all that doesn’t exist.
The Torah: Not A Jewish Book
Now you might say, “Well, of course. It’s a Jewish book so naturally it talks about Yisroel. That’s what some people think; they have the idea that it’s the same as if we look in the Polish books, l’havdil, it would talk about the Polish people, and in the Scandinavian books they talk about the Norse and the Swedish and the Fins, so in the Jewish book it talks about the Jews.
Oh no! The Torah is not a history of the Jewish people. That’s a big error. If you think that way, you don’t understand what the Torah is about at all. Our book is not a national book; it’s not a Jewish book — it’s Hashem’s book. Our book is the book. It’s the book of all of creation; of הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם, of הָאָרֶץ וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּהּ. And this book, the book of everything, deals only with Hashem’s people.
From The Beginning
Not only from Avraham Avinu. It begins from בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹקִים. When we were children and we learned in Rashi, Bereishis, bishvil Yisroel, that the world was created for the sake of Yisroel who are called reishis, we felt it was doctrine and so we accepted what Rashi says. But it was only because of our loyalty to the Torah that we forced ourselves to believe that. The world was created for Yisroel? It seems to be wrenching it a little too far out of context. Yes, Yisroel came along later and they were chosen, but we’re only one of the nations – we’re only a little sliver of mankind.
But Rashi is telling us that from the beginning we were the interest of Hashem. And he’s not saying it his own name either – he’s quoting from the sages: בְּרֵאשִׁית – because of Yisroel who are called reishis, בָּרָא אֱלֹקִים – that’s why Hashem made the world.
A Drop In the Bucket
And that’s the story of the entire Torah; Hakodosh Boruch Hu proclaims that His interest is only in the people of Yisroel. Everything to Him besides Yisroel is only like scenery behind the main actor. There are other people on the stage, but they are only brought there because of the main character.
הֵן גּוֹיִם כְּמַר מִדְּלִי, all the nations are like a drop on the bottom of the bucket (Yeshaya 40:15). When you draw water from the well, so underneath that bucket there are a few drops of soiled water. Are those drops important? No, we’re interested in the bucket full of water. Those little drops of soiled water, dirty water, that are hanging on the bottom underneath the bucket, that’s all the nations of the world. מֵאֶפֶס וָתֹהוּ נֶחְשְׁבוּ לוֹ – they’re considered by Him like zero and nothing.
The Key to the Puzzle
Now, that might seem like a puzzle to many people. Like efes v’tohu? Big nations that fill the world are nothing? What does that mean? Hakodosh Boruch Hu has given us the key to this in our possuk: הֵן לֲהַשֵׁם אֱלֹקֶיךָ הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם – Hashem owns the heavens and He owns the heavens above the heavens, הָאָרֶץ וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּֽהּ – the whole world and everything in it belongs to Hashem, רַק בַּֽאֲבֹתֶיךָ חָשַׁק הַשֵּׁם – Only in our forefathers did Hashem delight, לְאַֽהֲבָה אוֹתָם – to love them.
That’s the key. That very important statement tells us that Hakodosh Boruch Hu is not impressed by magnitude. He’s not impressed by tonnage or by numbers. “Only in your forefathers and their children; that’s what I’m interested in.” Compared to Hashem’s love for the Am Yisroel, all the nations are disregarded k’mar m’dli, like the extra drops of water and Hashem says “Mi k’amcha Yisroel goy echad ba’aretz.”
Part II. Despised Nation
Good Things Don’t Come Easy
Reb Yisroel Salanter taught an important principle regarding the way this world is conducted by Hakodosh Boruch Hu. He said like this: “For every great truth, there is a proportionate opposition. The yetzer hora exerts itself intensely against any good thing and the more important the truth is, the bigger its opposition.” It’s intentional; it’s part of Hashem’s plan in this world to make virtue difficult. It doesn’t mean that the obstacle is insurmountable, but there always is an attempt to block a good thing; to prevent it.
Let’s start out with the truth of Hashem as the Creator of the world. בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹקִים – In the beginning there was nothing and He made everything. Everything we see is only the will of Hashem. That’s the very beginning of the Torah; it’s the most important of all truths.
The Yetzer Hora vs. Hashem
Now, because this truth is the foundation of all foundations it is being combated today on the greatest possible scale. Huge institutions all over the world are battling against the idea of a Creator. All the colleges, all the high schools and all the elementary schools are open enemies of belief in a Borei. Even the countries that pay lip service to some kind of religion have been taken over today by academicians and huge institutions of publicity like the press, newspapers, magazines, libraries, radio, TV. Everybody today is one huge chorus: אֵין אֱלֹקִים כָּל מְזִמּוֹתָיו – All of their plans are to deny the fact that there’s a Borei. Even the Supreme Court today has joined in this great chorus and declared that it’s illegal in American public schools to teach about a Borei. A Creator is against the Constitution! And mark my words – on our coins it says, “In G-d we trust,” but it’ll be removed one day. They want to be rid of G-d completely.
In the Israeli army, somebody sent a certain notification about certain army business and up in the corner it said in little letters, בס”ד – bisiyata diShmaya. There was a big protest! And the army apologized, “It was an error. We’ll make sure it won’t happen again.” No siyata diShmaya in the Israeli army. Kochi v’otzem yadi! They don’t need Hashem; they do it by themselves. All over the world, the opposition is tremendous because Hashem is the first of all principles.
The Yetzer Hora vs. The Jews
Now, we should understand right away that the principle that comes on the heels of the first one, the great theme of oheiv amo Yisroel, will also be under attack from the yetzer hora. Ifa central theme of the entire Torah is that “only you Hashem has desired to love,” then all the forces of evil unite in one great army to fight against it.
That’s why the yetzer hora has mustered all the forces of literature, all the governments, all the academia, all the media, and devoted them to the purpose of combating this Torah truth. Since the world began there hasn’t been a literature of animosity that comes close to the prolific literature of anti-Semitism. More has been said and written against the Jewish people than against any other people in the world.
Black Lines Matter
In case you think that’s an exaggerated statement, we’ll look at what is the most holy book of Christendom. After all, that’s the book that they consider their source of divine instruction. I hope that you won’t have the zechiyeh to read the New Testament but I can tell you what’s there. That book is one of the biggest anti-Semitic textbooks in the world.
Of course, I understand that today it’s not polite to speak about this and therefore I won’t dwell on the subject of what the Popes and the Bishops wrote about us. But it’s written black on white; you can’t overlook it. And it has had its intended effect; it was in every gentile’s mother’s milk – that’s what he was raised with.
It’s Old News
But don’t think it started with Christianity. Long before that the yetzer hora was at work. There’s a book called Contra Apionwritten by Flavius Josephus, and he speaks about the accusations that the Greeks brought up against our nation. He quotes from Tacitus and other Greek writers who spat venom upon our people in their books. They wrote such foolish shekarim that we laugh when we read their accusations. But in the mind of the gentiles the writings of the Greek historians are all true – and the seeds of hatred were sown forever.
That’s why the literature of medieval Europe and even after medieval times was full of condemnations for the Jews. Voltaire spoke the worst words against Jews. Jean Jacques Rousseau accused Jews in vile terms. Even as late as the Dreyfus affair France was flooded with literature of anti-Semitism. For a long time the newspapers, the magazines and the books in France were full of vituperations against Jews.
Fagin’s Real Name
And England was no better. The yetzer hora flooded the English people with a torrent of anti-semitism. Anybody who read the famous works of Charles Dickens knows that Fagin is the symbol of a criminal. Of course you understand that Fagin is Fagenbaum; a Jew.
So who is this Jew that all of England is being introduced to? Fagin trains little gentile boys to crawl through windows and steal for him. Of course! That’s a Jew! A ganav! In one of the first editions of that book there is even a drawing of the Jew Fagin; he has a beard, payos and a long kapote and he’s sitting in New Castle prison after being sentenced to death for corrupting gentile boys. That’s the reader’s impression of a Jew, a real frum Jew. It means that generations and generations of gentiles have grown up reading that a Jew is a corrupter of society.
Shakespeare too. He wrote many plays but only once did he mention a Jew; it’s Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Anybody who knows anything about Shakespeare knows Shylock is a symbol of a wicked usurer. Shylock comes on the stage; a big beard and a long black coat – he looks like an old rabbi. And he’s depicted there in the very worst terms — if the gentile won’t pay up the debt then Shylock the Jew demands a pound of gentile flesh!
Homeless Man And Hassidic Mob
Today in America, it’s the style, boruch Hashem, not to speak against Jews. Of course, it’s still there. You open up the New York Times, and you see the headlines: Homeless Man Attacked By Hassidic MobIn Williamsburg. A homeless man, a bum with a razor blade, was in an elevator and he gashed a Jew’s face and took away his wallet.
Now, when this innocent homeless man ran away, so the Williamsburg Jews are not fools. They couldn’t appeal to the police; the police wouldn’t do anything. So they ran after him and they called for help. “Chaptzem! Catch him!”
Rioting in Williamsburg
All of a sudden all the windows and doors of the apartment buildings open up and there are chassidim pouring out from everywhere into the streets. So they caught him and gave him the chaptzem treatment. They gave him a good treatment and he had to go to the hospital after that.
So how did the good friends of the Jewish people report it in the New York Times? Headline: Homeless Man Attacked By Hassidic Mob. A homeless man walking in the street with no place to go. An innocent man walking in the street probably just looking to do a good deed and the chassidim rushed out of their houses and attacked the poor fellow and sent him to the hospital. That’s always how it is for the anti-semites – when Jews defend themselves it’s called a riot.
The Ignored Wicked
Now, that is a phenomenon that’s worth paying attention to. Why against the Jews? There was nobody else to hate in the ancient world? After all, there were truly wicked nations. There were Indians in India that used to have human sacrifices. In Central America also, the tribes sacrificed children to their gods so that the crops would grow better. The Chinese used to kill baby girls down to 1910. All over the world there was wickedness going on and yet nobody was faced with a literature that went out in such a huge torrent of vituperation; there’s nothing near the tremendous outpouring of writing against the Am Yisroel. Why should that be?
And the answer is, this great principle that whenever something good is in the world, the yetzer hora proportionally tries to oppose it. To belittle the Am Yisroel, that’s the most important achievement that the yetzer hora could accomplish. It’s not an accident. The yetzer hora wants to cause the Jew to be portrayed in the very worst way.
And so, when you pass down the street and somebody says, “Dirty Jew,” you have to know why it’s davka you who’s dirty. He doesn’t say, “Dirty African,” or “Dirty Chinese,” or “Dirty Puerto Rican.” No; it’s always the Jews who are the dirty ones.
The World Forgets The Truth
And that’s because the Jews are the cleanest, the most perfect, the most loved by Hakodosh Boruch Hu. Because we’re the chosen ones, that’s why the yetzer hora tries his best! That’s why all the nations of the world have been harnessed in the biggest campaign of defamation against the Am Yisroel.
It’s a planned phenomenon. And the purpose is, to take out of the minds of men the impression that Hakodosh Boruch Hu most wants that people should think. Instead of saying כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּנֵי מְלָכִים הֵם – All Yisroel are princes and בָּנִים אַתֶּם לֲהַשֵׁם אֱלֹקֵיכֶם – You are children of Hashem, your G-d, אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם נְאֻם הַשֵּׁם – “I love you,” says Hashem, כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה לַהַשֵּׁם אֱלֹקֶיךָ – You are a holy people to Hashem, your G-d, and an endless number of such expressions, the world is trying its best to cause us to forget that.
His Main Business
However, we’re going to let go now of the nations and we’ll follow the footsteps of the yetzer hora. The gemara says in Mesichta Sukkah (52a) a remarkable statement: Meiniach umos haolam – The yetzer hora forsakes the nations of the world; he lets go of them, umisgoreh beYisroel, and he incites the Jews. The yetzer hora is most active among Jews. That doesn’t mean that goyim don’t have yetzer hora. They have plenty, and he doesn’t have to worry about them. They take care of themselves; they supply their own yetzer hora. But that’s not his real success. He has a more important catch. The great success of the yetzer hora is if he can ruin Jewish minds.
And so he gets busy with the Jewish people. “He forsakes the Irish and the Italians and the Americans and he cunningly steals his way into the minds of the Jews.” The real prey of the yetzer hora is the frummeh, the shomrei Torah u’mitzvos. Of course, the yetzer hora is behind all the skinheads, he’s behind all the white American supremacy groups, he’s behind the Nazis. Yes, he’s busy all the time among the gentiles. He always was. But that’s only a minor part of his efforts. His chief efforts are devoted to Yisroel.
His Side Hustle
All of the anti-semitism in the world, all of the literature of hatred and degradation that the yetzer hora has brought into the world is primarily intended to darken the minds of the Orthodox by combating the words of Hakodosh Boruch Hu in this week’s parsha, “Only you do I love,” and to convince us that it’s not so.
Of course, the yetzer hora tries many things. He tries to get you to go to the movies and to look at the TV. He wants you to buy a suit and not take it to the shatnez laboratory, or to buy food that’s not 100% guaranteed kosher. He looks for all kinds of profit. Anything he can get you to do, he’s happy with. He doesn’t mind the extra work – to him, a few pennies on the side is also a profit. But among all of the things that the Yetzer Hora is busy with, he’s most busy that the Am Yisroel shouldn’t be aware of how beautiful the Jews are in the eyes of Hashem.
There is a certain prevalent attitude of knocking the frummeh, of knocking the best that our nation has to offer. We have to be aware of this and realize that there is a certain form of anti-semitism in Jews themselves. I was once at a gathering of rabbanim on the East Side and Rabbi Eliezer Silver was speaking. At that time he was president of the Agudas HaRabbanim. He was saying as follows: “Sinah is anti-Semitism among frum Jews.” When Jews knock the frum community it’s nothing but an echo of the anti-semitism of the outside world.
That’s why you have today people – good people – who look upon the rabbanim, the gedolim, with anti-Semitism. Even the lack of a proper respect is only an echo of the work of the yetzer hora. A very fine rav who was active in spreading yiddishkeit was recently niftar. Once, as he walked out to speak at a dinner, a woman sitting on a balcony said to another woman – it was later repeated to me – she said, “Ut kumt der reitter – Here comes the red one.” He had a red beard. That’s how you talk about a rabbi of the synagogue? “Here comes the red one”?!
But that’s already more mild. All kinds of poison is spoken against rabbanim. Rav Eliezer Silver said then that there’s a very big yetzer hora to slander rabbanim. Rabbanim are crooks and they’re not honest. They’re out for money, out for kavod, this and that. We find people who sit in the shul and ridicule the rav – they talk about him. In every synagogue without exception. Even the rabbanim have to watch out that they shouldn’t fall into such an error themselves; they themselves are influenced by the yetzer hora.
And I want to tell you – he’s succeeding! The yetzer hora is doing a good job at convincing us that we’re not the best in the world, that we’re not the most beautiful of all nations in the eyes of Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
Part III. Glorious Nation
We’ve Been Brainwashed
Now, I know that you people who are listening are not convinced yet because you’ve already been propagandized by the gentiles plenty. This Torah, the Torah of Dickens, of Fagin has seeped into our minds too. Orthodox Jews, decent Jews, come to me and say, “You’re whitewashing the Jewish people. Don’t you know that when it comes to business they’re not so ethical.” They’re full of examples. They can tell you anecdotes. I listen to them and I hear in their voices the echo of the yetzer hora, the echos of all the gentile propaganda.
Because you have to realize that they are yielding to the pressure of the yetzer hora. And Italians are ethical? Have you dealt with Italians? And blacks are ethical? You never did business with Irish people – you don’t know how ethical they are. But Jews, you’re convinced are not ethical. This frum Jew is a crook and that pious Jew is a cheater and so on. Deal with gentiles and find out how honest they are.
No More Prejudice
You better listen to what I’m telling you tonight. You have to get rid of that prejudice you have against frum Jews. We have to work on the great principle of emulating the thoughts of Hakodosh Boruch. If Hakodosh Boruch Hu is ohev amo Yisrael more than the whole universe how can you think differently? Hashem thinks one way, and you think something else?!
Now, this may fall flat on your ears when you hear it the first time so you have to hear it again and again. You have to realize there’s nothing wrong with my words – there’s something wrong with your mind. You have to start retraining your ideas because whatever you read until now, whatever you heard on the street, in the place of business, is all 100% the result of the yetzer hora.
More Than Mitzvos and Aveiros
We view the world only through the eyes of the Torah – the Torah is how we think and that’s it. You know, we are accustomed – and rightfully so – to judging our deeds by the criterion of mitzvah and aveirah: Is it something that I am commanded to do? Or is it forbidden? And therefore in general we are able to steer a correct path in life. נֵר לְרַגְלִי דְבָרֶךָ – Your word, Hashem, is a lamp for my feet. וְאוֹר לִנְתִיבָתִי – and a light on my road. It means that the Torah shows us where to put our feet as we walk on the path of life. We shouldn’t step off to the side; we shouldn’t walk into a pit or make a wrong turn at a fork in the road. The Torah teaches us where to go and how to go successfully.
But Torah means much more than that; it means the attitudes that Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants us to adopt and to live with. It’s the great ideal that we find in the words of Yeshayah Hanavi (56:4): וּבָחֲרוּ בַּאֲשֶׁר חָפָצְתִּי — They should choose that which I desire. Hashem tells us what things He desires and we are expected to choose to desire the same; Besides for doing mitzvos and besides for avoiding wrong acts, there are certain attitudes, certain ways of thinking, by which we have to conduct our lives. And even if it may not make any difference in actual practice the thought itself is a success. And if someone is lacking in Torah attitudes he cannot be considered successful at all.
And therefore, the possuk in our parsha that we’re speaking about tonight is one of the most important of Hashem’s thoughts that we must get busy emulating. “רַק בַּאֲבֹתֶיךָ חָשַׁק הַשֵּׁם … בָּכֶם מִכָּל הָעַמִּים כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה.” Only in the Am Yisroel does Hashem delight forever and ever. He’s chashak bahem – He’s attached to them, He desires them, l’ahava osam, to love them; and therefore we should get busy loving them too.
How To Be Good Looking
You know there is a saying, ah sheine Yid. Does ah sheine Yid mean a ‘good looking Jew’? No. Ah sheine Yid means a frum Jew, that’s ah sheine Yid. If he’s a shomer mitzvos, then in our eyes he’s beautiful. Because we look through the eyes of Hashem so he looks beautiful, he smells beautiful. And if he’s not a shomer mitzvos, he’s not beautiful; he looks like a cripple, he has twisted features. His nose is a foot too long. His eyes are slanted. Something is funny with him if he’s not a frum Jew.
Every decent frum Jew looks handsome to us because he looks handsome to Hashem. You must train yourself to see him like that. Otherwise, you are far away from the way Hashem looks; the einei Hashem and your eyes are looking in two different ways.
Practice What I Preach
You have to practice that. Go to Boro Park sometime when you have a day off and stand on the corner and watch the frum Jews walking in the street. And you should think, “I’m here for the purpose of trying to imitate the thoughts of Hashem.” You walk by a yeshiva and you see they’re coming out; little boys, young men, peyos, kapatos, beards, black hats. Say, “Hashem is looking down at them and loving them, so I’ll love them too.”
Not only the yeshiva men. All frum Jews. בָּכֶם כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה!All of you! Look how charitable the Am Yisroel is! They’re giving ma’aser, a tenth of their income! Some give more than that! Look how the Jews are busy raising families; they’re loyal to their children and the children are loyal to their parents!
The Holiest Nation
Frum Jews are more decent than any nation in the world! Nobody can approach us! Do you find a lav of yichud among goyim? A meshulach comes and needs to sleep in your house so you say, “Well, I have to go to work in the morning. Will you get up early in the morning to go to work with me? I can’t leave you in the house with my wife.” Now, among gentiles such a question would be unthinkable. It would be so unpleasant and impolite; but Jews speak openly about yichud. They call up the rabbi and ask sha’alos about yichud. A man’s wife is in the hospital, in the maternity ward. He’s left with little children and his wife’s sister is coming to stay with the children. He calls me up, “What should he do? So I said, “You have to move out of the house.” Have you ever heard of such things among gentiles? There’s no such thing! Constantly Jews are beset by such problems and they fulfill the laws!
We’re the am kadosh! Jews deny themselves pleasures. They’re hungry, they want to eat, but they can’t go into this restaurant, they can’t go into that restaurant. When they are out of town on business and there are no Jewish restaurants, they don’t eat, period. Self-denial according to the Torah laws! A holy ideal; kodesh kadoshim!
Shmiras Halashon, Sugar and Shoes
A frum Jew cannot talk loshon hora. Very many people guard their tongues. Today, very many Jews are careful with what they talk, not to slander any fellow man. Where do you find such things? Find me a nation that’s willing to suffer for its ideals like the Am Yisroel!
And mercy among Jews is the strongest compassion. Even on gentiles; Jews have more pity on gentiles than gentiles have. Don’t I remember in Europe when poor gentiles came to Jewish homes and knocked on the door and a Jew brought out for him a pair of old shoes; and the gentile was so grateful! Nobody gave him a pair of old shoes among the gentiles! Jews gave him a cube of sugar – he was so grateful! The Jews were charitable to gentiles too because they are rachmanim bnei rachmanim. Jews are merciful. They’re compassionate! מִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גּוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ. Where do you find a nation like that?!
Summit Of Civilization
Men give up pleasures and they come at night to the beis hamedrash to learn! Night after night! It’s a glorious scene among all the Jewish communities how men are studying Torah at night. It’s a glorious scene that Jewish women don’t go into movies; they don’t look for entertainment. They find their pleasures in the homes. Jewish women don’t traipse out for entertainment; they don’t mix with other people!
A Jewish home is a Beis Hamikdosh! You see a big mezuzah on the door, you know inside is a Beis Hamikdosh. And even though the inhabitants inside don’t realize it, they’re humble people and they don’t praise themselves, but we ourselves must learn to understand what they really are. They’re kodesh kadoshim. The Shechina dwells in a Jewish home! Nothing is more beautiful than the Jewish home.
Nobody can even remotely equal to Jewish people. It’s a glorious civilization! A model nation! The world has to look up to us for good character, for kindliness, for chastity, for decency. We’re accustomed to it – we don’t appreciate what we have but if we stop and think, we possess the summit of civilization!
And therefore, we have to speak about that constantly; to ourselves we have to speak constantly because the yetzer hora is pounding away; and he’s enlisting even the Orthodox in the campaign against frum Jews.
The Happy Ending
And therefore we have to constantly reiterate in our minds that. Hakodosh Boruch Hu made history only for us; His sole interest in the entire universe is only the Jewish people!
Wherever we are, the Shechina is with us – and no place else in the world! The Shechina is not somewhere out in space. The Shechina is not someplace in the distant galaxy. The Shechina is right here where Jews are living and practicing the laws of Torah; Hakodosh Boruch Hu is together with them and is going to be together with them until finally He brings them back to Yerushalayim and rebuilds the Beis Hamikdosh.
And at that time the whole world, יַכִּירוּ וְיֵדְעוּ כָּל יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל – everybody will recognize the truth and everybody will come bent over to us and they’ll admit their errors and they’ll say, “You had the truth always throughout history. The truth always was and always will be that ‘To Hashem belong the heavens and the heavens above the heavens, the whole world and everything in it belongs to Him. And yet only in our forefathers did Hashem delight, to love them, and He chose their children after them, from all the nations forever and ever.’”
Have A Wonderful Shabbos