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Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?

By Tzvi Fishman
1/11/2011, 12:00 AM

I am old enough to remember the famous 1977 New York City “Blackout” when all the lights went out in the Big Apple. In fact, I am so old, I remember the great blackout in Egypt, when a thick thick darkness covered all stretches of that polluted immoral land, except for Goshen where the Jews had light.

Darkness in the land of Egypt


Still, even though the Jews had light, there were those who were blinded. 80% of the Jews in Egypt were stricken during the plague of darkness because they didn’t want to leave the cesspools of Egypt and go to the Land flowing with milk and honey. They wanted to remain in the polluted immoral darkness of the strange vile land, always trying to please the goyim and be accepted as one of the bunch. Embarrassed at His children for turning their backs on the Land of Israel, the wonderful gift that He had bequeathed to their forefathers, Hashem brought darkness over Egypt so the gentiles wouldn’t see the horrendous shame of His people who didn't want to obey His command. So in the thick darkness, while no one could see the disgrace, Hashem smote that tragic, misguided 80% and hurried with their burial so that the goyim wouldn’t be witness to the incredible booooosha (Rashi, Shemot, 10:22.)

Truly, it was a terrible blow. There were Jewish doctors who died. And very intelligent Jewish professors. And top-notch Jewish businessmen and artists. And talented writers who could string quotes together about all sorts of clever things. Smart people who just didn’t get the message. They didn’t want to. They wanted to stay in the fleshpot of Egypt. In the darkness. In their darkness. Not even Moshe could open their eyes. Oh, how he tried! Day after day. But they didn’t want to listen. Not to Moshe and not to Hashem. They couldn’t. They had pulled out the plug long before by wanting to live like a Jew in a foreign gentile land.

Thank G-d, I made it out of the darkness with the remaining 20%. Thank G-d for opening my eyes. Thank G-d for enabling me to see. Thank G-d, I trusted in Hashem and in Moshe. True, things got pretty scary at the sea, but with G-d’s help, we made it through to the other side, to the other side, to the other side.

New York, January 11, 2011

Brothers! Sisters! Break on through to the other side.  Break on through to the other side.  Break on through to the light. Break out of the darkness. Break on through. Break on through. Break on throuuuuuuuuugh!!!!!!!!!!


This is what I looked like in America, trying my hardest to look like a goy.


Oops! It's midnight! Time to recite "Tikun Hatzot!" When I recite the lamentations over the exile, I think about Brooklyn and Monsey and Boca and Palm Beach and LA and Toronto and Melbourne and Manchester and Paris and Capetown and Mexico City,  and I cry like a little baby.

I've got to go!