Why is it that the opponents of our people, like for example the Catholic Church, are in some cases still so strong today?
Actually the example you cited is an example of failure because compared to what they formerly were, they’re nothing today. They are yordim – they’re heading downwards. You have to remember that it wasn’t so long ago when monarchs acted at the behest of the Church. But today it’s no more. Today, they don’t control any countries at all. In every country they’re merely tolerated – at best. So therefore, this is not such a good example.
I’ll explain something that’s in the Zohar. The Zohar quotes the possuk, ועד ארגיעה לשון שקר – for a moment is a false tongue. It means a false tongue is only for a moment. After a while it’s demonstrated to be false; it explodes. And the Zohar says, עד ארגיעה means until the margiah – until Moshiach, there’ll be a לשון שקר. The falsehoods will persist until Moshiach.
So it’s two ideas; one, that the falsehood is only for a moment and number two, that it will last until Moshiach comes. And we’ll explain that both are true. The truth is that falsehood doesn’t last long. שקרא לא קאי – it doesn’t last long. That’s why we see that what was once considered an impregnable fortress, today is so ridiculous. The Catholic Church has no standing at all in the academic community and they’re fighting for their lives; the Church is fighting for its life and they’re losing out from year to year. They’re hemorrhaging from year to year.
So in a certain sense, the plain pshat is true; עד ארגיעה לשון שקר – Any kind of false ideology is not going to last. And the truth is, they already changed so much that it’s not the same Church that it was, because in the ikrei haemunah, in what they considered the foundation of their religion they have already surrendered great principles.
I’ll give you an example. At the beginning, they all kept Shabbos. And in the times of oso ha’ish, if any of his followers would have profaned Shabbos, he would have been ostracized. So let’s say, if oso ha’ish could come up from where he is now and he would take a look at his followers today, he wouldn’t recognize them as his people at all! Because he only dealt with circumcised Jews who kept Shabbos. He himself said openly, “If one jot or tittle of the law would be abrogated, then heaven and earth would have to be destroyed.” It’s in the New Testament. Which means that not even a yud or a kotz of the Torah would be abrogated.
But later, Paul came along and he started changing certain things; it wasn’t the same anymore. But even in Paul’s day they all kept Shabbos. It was three hundred years later that they switched to Sunday; it became a new religion again. It’s not the same religion now. And even when it came to the deity, although they had a trinity, but subsequently, in the last hundred years, they admitted a fourth member to the trinity. There was a big outcry against that! So you see they’re changing their religion – you can’t call such a thing the same religion standing strong. It’s a new sheker; it’s not the same old Catholic Church.
Everything is like that. Let’s say the newspaper, The Forward, You’ll say, “Look at The Forward lasted; such a wicked newspaper and it lasted so long!” But it’s not the same Forward. Once upon a time, the Forward was published on Shabbos and all the writers thundered against Yiddishkeit – all the writers in the Forward ridiculed Yiddishkeit and they fought against the Torah. They were terrible atheists. Today the Forward is closed on Shabbos. I’m waiting it should close down entirely but you see now that it’s closed on Shabbos. And the writers speak sympathetically about Yiddishkeit. They even have a couple of rabbis who write there too. So you’ll call it the same thing? It’s not the same thing. The name is the same, but it’s entirely different.
The only ones who are the same is the Am Yisroel. Our Torah is the same Torah as it was in the days of Moshe Rabbeinu. The frum Jews don’t wear shatnez like it says in the chumash: לא תלבש שעטנז. There’s no monkey business! צמר ופשתן יחדיו – to this day we won’t wear garments in which wool and linen are mixed. And אל אשה בנדת טמאתה לא תקרב. Frum Jews practice taharas hamishpacha today. We’re not changing! And so everything among us is the same. We’re the only ones.
Lehavdil elef havdalos, the far eastern religions are not at all what they used to be. The way they’re portrayed in America is 100% bluff because if you’ll go back to the original version in the small towns, it’s nothing but idolatry. That’s what it’s always been, only that they changed it in order to suit the western culture. So today, it’s fashionable even in India in the big cities to talk about the philosophy of the far eastern religion. But it’s not true. They’re changing – no question they’re changing.
In the olden days they had a mitzvah that when a man died, so the Hindu women, the wives, burned themselves to death on their husband’s funeral pyre. It was a mitzvah – it’s part of the original religion. They don’t do that anymore today because the Mohammedans came with scimitars and the British came with the bayonets and they stopped it; so now it’s abolished.
Jews wouldn’t yield to things like that. Of course, we don’t have such a mitzvah but our mitzvos we still do them no matter what. In Soviet Russia, Lubavitcher Jews make mikvaos. You can’t make anything in Russia without government permission, but they make mikvahs. You know what it is to make a mivkah even in America – you know how difficult it is? And in Russia it’s a million times more difficult. But I know that they made mikvaos in Russia. In the worst of times, they made mikvaos.
They taught Torah to children in yeshivos in Russia in the worst of times. How do you make a yeshiva in Russia? You know that for running a yeshiva you’re punished that the children get taken away from their parents and they’re given to gentile parents to be brought up and you’ll never again hear of your children. And still they did it!
An old man described it to me. A visitor walked in – he wanted to see a local yeshiva; he heard there was a yeshiva so he walked into the little shul that remained. That was when shuls still remained. Now there are no shuls left except in one place. He walked in and there was nothing but an old shamash sitting all by himself. So he said to the shamash, “Where are the talmidim?”
So the shamash said, “What kind of talmidim? No talmidim! What are you talking about?!”
So the man went out. As soon as he went out, the boys started sticking their heads out from all the places and they came out again.
So the Jews persisted even in Soviet Russia. That’s some nisayon! And we persist to this day! The frum Jews don’t send their children to public schools. It’s a big sacrifice sending our children to the yeshivos and Beis Yaakovs. It costs schar limud! It’s not easy. Public school is so much easier – it’s easier to lose your child. But the frum Jews won’t change – they are moiser nefesh to maintain their own schools. We are the same that we were when we stood at Har Sinai and we said נעשה ונשמע – no changes!
So therefore, it’s not a question why do they persist? They’re not persisting. עד ארגיע לשון שקר – The false tongue will only last a little while! So what did the Zohar mean that the the sheker will persist until Moshiach? It means, ויציצו כל פעלי און – the wicked ones sprout up in every generation; new falsehoods will always sprout in order to test us but they’re not the same ones. It’s entirely different.
TAPE # 231 (June 1978)