Simchat Torah
Simchat TorahFlash 90

A few words about the Nature Party which ended so tragically on the morning that Hamas attacked Israel. Certainly the Divine Wrath which befell upon us that day was not caused by that party, and its victims were killed for being Jews and are therefore holy martyrs, but it was a symptom of a general national spiritual malaise and disconnection with Hashem and with the Land he gave to our forefathers – an ambivalence that has pervading our national life in the Holy Land ever since the foundation of the State. It was an attempt for a type of spirituality, but not a Jewish one. Perhaps the Hanukkah-related phenomenon of ancient Hellenism can help us understand how we can change our national life in the Holy Land for the better.

In the days of the Maccabees, a great many Jews in Israel strayed from the holy pathways of Torah to chase after the ways of the Greeks who championed secular philosophy, beauty, physical prowess and unbridled pleasure. A similar spirit can be seen in videos of the Nature Party before the bloodthirsty terrorists swooped down upon the large gathering of young people who had innocently assembled to have a good time and to celebrate their own form of holiday happiness. After all, it was Simchat Torah and Shabbat.

They seemed to be seeking to express their own form of worship. of life's beauty While the large image of Buddha that the party organizers erected at the site is not something observant Jews can be proud of, it nevertheless suggests a desire to be connected to some transcendental spiritual force. One is reminded of the teaching that the Jews at Sinai didn’t believe in the deity of the Golden Calf, rather they used it as an excuse for their behavior. Instead of condemning the young people for their errant behavior, we must ask ourselves, educators, parents and grandparents, how we failed to attract them to the beauties and pleasures of the Torah. Certainly, we are no less to blame than they are for the inappropriateness of a Nature Party of this sort on Shabbat and Simchat Torah.

Once again, the point I wish to make is not that the Nature Party caused the outbreak of the war. That is a ridiculous claim. Obviously the Hamas attack was planned months in advance of Simchat Torah. Nonetheless, the Nature Party is a symbol for the national disconnection with Hashem which we must repair.

Just as there were those who thought that Hashem visited the world with the plague of Corona to remind mankind of His Kingship, there are those who feel that Hashem brought about this war to advance the Redemption of Israel and to bring us to a higher level of His service. Not only are we all called upon to examine our personal ways and do tshuva, a natural reaction which seems to be occurring spontaneously all over Israel, we as a nation are called upon to examine our national ways and to replace modern-day Hellenism and Western Culture with the command of the Maccabees, “Whoever is for Hashem and His Brit, follow me!”

To accomplish this, we have to re-examine the ways we present the Torah to the secular community in Israel and to the young generation which is searching for attachment with Hashem in foreign fields and Nature Parties, not having discovered it in their own Jewish homes.