If Hashem cares only about us why doesn’t He have us ruling the world?
Look at the possuk that we spoke about tonight (Amos 3:2): רק אתכם ידעתי מכל משפחות האדמה – It’s only you that I’m interested in from all the nations of the earth, על כן אפקוד עליכם את את כל חטאתיכם – therefore I visit upon you all your sins. It means that He’s doing for us what’s very best for us.
Power is not good for us; the truth is it’s not good for anybody. There was a time, in the first Beis Hamikdosh, when Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave us power but after that it was necessary to give us treatments instead of power. And that’s because He loves us; and He shows us His love in what we are getting.
The Rambam in his Iggeres Teiman says that if you see that you’re being persecuted or if your property is being appropriated and you’re being despised, he says, תפארת היא לנו וכבוד גדול – it is a glory to us and a big honor.
We have to understand that Hakodosh Boruch Hu has singled us out for the purpose of giving us treatments and our nation as a result has become and has remained the best nation. You have no idea how much we benefit by being persecuted! It’s worth studying that; we don’t have time now, but think it over – what persecution has given our nation.
I’ll tell you one thing. I was once walking in a Puerto Rican neighborhood and one of them picked up a ball and threw it at me and it hit me in the back of the neck. So I picked up the ball and I walked over to him – there was a whole crowd of them – and I started scolding him. I was still a little green-horn yet among Puerto Rican neighbors and I was scolding him.
Then I stopped a motorist and asked him to please bring the police. The police never came and so I was standing there talking to the Puerto Rican. I said to him, “If you were walking in a Jewish neighborhood, would anyone pelt you with a ball?” Now listen to what the Puerto Rican answered; he was a spokesman for all of them standing there and he said in a broken English, “You Jews, you came from Europe; you were persecuted so you wouldn’t do such a thing.” And it’s true. We wouldn’t do it anyhow, but the Jews were persecuted and that made us better.
If a Jew would ever get drunk in Eastern Europe, it would be the end of him. A drunken Jew staggering among goyim – that’s all you needed. A Jew couldn’t afford to be drunk. A Jew couldn’t afford to be rash. You always had to behave with care and with diplomacy. Do you know what that means, centuries and centuries of living soberly and carefully? You couldn’t afford to do a crime and have a bad name.
And therefore the Jewish people prospered under those conditions; their character prospered. Because after all, what’s the purpose of existence? Just power? Material happiness? They were happier than the goyim because they were succeeding and building up what’s most important – that’s character. There’s no question that the persecution of our people has made us the best nation; we were the best nation beforehand anyhow but it made us better.
TAPE # 161