We are now undergoing an extraordinary period in time. Worldwide dramas revolve around us. I wish to view these events using a paragraph in Ein Aya, a work by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, Tractate Brachot II, Chapter 9 Paragraph 137. The principles arising from it will enable us to understand the general context of today's situation in relation to the momentous global dramas happening all around us.
As you know, our Sages set special blessings for general events and natural phenomena, aimed at teaching us that there is Divine order and Divine supervision over minor incidents as well as large and worldly events. Each kind of event has its own blessing. The Talmud discusses what blessing is said in the event of catastrophes, [i.e. earthquakes, according to Rashi]. In this context, the Talmud states what the purpose of an earthquake is - that is, why we should recite a blessing over that phenomenon - and explains that there is a Divine order that shakes the world, jolts and rattles it. While man's reach is too 'short' and he is incapable of stopping the tremendous jolt, the order of his life changes out of necessity and hence a new world is built.
In this context, the Talmud tells the following story: Rabbi Ktina was walking on the road and reached the doorway of a Ba'al Ov – a sorcerer, a person who deals with mysticism, seances, etc. Just at that moment there was an earthquake, and it must have been a major and significant earthquake.
Rabbi Ktina asked aloud: Does the sorcerer know what the earthquake's meaning is? A voice came out of the sorcerer's house saying: Is it possible that Rabbi Ktina would not know?! When G-d remembers his sons, you People of Israel, so sorrowful and scattered among nations, it is as if He drops two tears into the Great Sea, and these Divine tears sound from one end of the world to the other, and cause the earth to tremble.
Rabbi Ktina did not accept the words of the sorcerer. He said that the sorcerer was lying, and his words were not true. The proof of this, Rabbi Ktina said, is that the sorcerer claimed that G-d was shedding two tears, and in fact there were not two earthquakes but only one. The Talmud tells us that indeed, there were two earthquakes at the time and there was truth in the words of the sorcerer, yet Rabbi Ktina did not agree to accept his opinion.
There are times when the words of our Sages sound to us somewhat strange and unnatural, but we have a rule - the more things sound strange and unnatural the bigger the secrets they hide. We will explain this statement according to the commentary of Rav Kook on the abovementioned paragraph.
The paragraph is divided into three parts. The first outlined topic is what is the purpose of earthquakes that shock the world and its civilization. The second part comes to answer the question of what this has to do with the people of Israel. The third part, the Rav Kook explains, is the story of the sorcerer, which explains the Divine interpretation of these processes.
Rav Kook begins by answering the first question. The ordinary Divine order of the world and its civilization is a sequence of natural and gradual development. However, there are times in history when this order is exceeded and the world experiences a jolt, after which it will be completely changed and all that was before will not be the same. An earthquake is an example of such a jolt, as it can cause the swallowing up and disappearance of an entire world - material and cultural - into the depths of the earth, that is, the erasure of civilization and the establishment of a new one instead. The question, therefore, is why this is so, what is the need for this process?
Rabbi Kook writes on this: "The complicated ways, the things that are most appalling to the heart that overlooks the events, is the spectacle of the earthquake that will sometimes turn mountains into a plain… and many horrible things happen and multitudes of people can be buried alive sometimes. This awful upheaval, when it happens, makes a great impression on all of human society, so that it connects group to group"- parts of humanity become tied to one another - "and to understand the source of all wisdom, to comprehend the point of such terrible upheavals, will not become clear to us until we have learned that there is a great need to establish general morality and put it into practice." It is impossible to understand the earthquakes, which cause the erasure of civilizations and the establishment of new ones – but they come in context of the general moral accounting of the world, its purpose and its designation.
"Because there are also many disadvantages that are stipulated in the laws of human society which cannot accept amendments and changes while sitting tranquil and peaceful". There are historical moments that culture gets into a dead-end road, or begins to go in the direction that runs counter to the purpose of the creation and its moral tendency, and humans can no longer stand up and shake these [wrong tendencies] off just by the power of free choice, because the social arrangements that are contrary to the Divine tendency are set so deeply that using just normal practices is not enough to uproot [the diviation].
In such a situation, "the law of the mind of G-d, who is the maker of all plans", the Creator may blessed be His name, ”is the one to decide that the general human situation needs help, and it will be helped by a great upheaval that uproots a large part of the human race with its material life, as well as the conditions of its spirit and morality, to build a new foundation upon the remains of the destruction, a new foundation to perfect this Tikkun (correction) worthy of joining the genuine Tikkun which in turn is worthy to be aspired for in the laws of society. "
When the deviation from the Divine goals becomes too severe - and it is not enough that the deviation is severe,- there has to be a situation when the human freedom of choice is no longer able to return to the right track, then apparently the Creator, blessed be His name, the leader of the world, has no choice but to redirect the way of that civillization. How does He do it? - He shakes and rattles all the existing arrangements and human insights which were rooted in the thinking, the hearts, deeds and social orders. He shakes everything, makes everything tremble, so that arrangements are destroyed, the rules upon which the society is built are broken – and all of this in order to allow rethinking of everything. This is the first element of what Rav Kook says.
So, the first element here, which is the central element around which the article revolves, is that there are historical moments in which the Master of the world holds the reins of the Divine leadership that has deviated off the road ulong which it was supposed to advance and returns it to the proper direction and moral purpose, for which He created His world. That is, when human thought gets stuck in a direction that is contrary to the [Divine] wish and cannot extricate itself, the Master of the world extracts it, but this can happen in harsh ways, too.
In the second part of the passage, Rav Kook explains how this connects with what the Talmud says, that the tears that the Almighty sheds into the Great Sea causing the earthquake come because the people of Israel are in sorrow.
The Jewish People has a historical role. We are in the month of Spring, the month of man's freedom, and we are approaching Passover. Since the Exodus and the giving of the Torah, the moral expression and the moral purpose of the human race is inspired by the People of Israel and its culture, and the People of Israel serves as the conscience of humanity, the 'locomotive' that should and deserves to lead the moral direction of the world and lead the world to its historical destination, in the present and in the future as well.
When the People of Israel deny their historical mission and destination, and instead of being a moral-spiritual compass for the human race and its values, joins the deviation from the track and adopts the culture that leads the world astray or falls off the uphill track leading to the correct destination, it joins a culture that instead of adding to building G-d's image acts to remove the image of G-d immanent in man, hence mankind is denied the source from which society can rebuild its values.
As the compass itself is lost, this is a manifestation of a situation where free choice cannot bring about change on its own. When human thought gets stuck in a direction that is contrary to the Divine trend and cannot get out, a situation reflected by the fact that the people of Israel, instead of being the locomotive, the catalyst that leads human society, joins this wrong trend, then the Master of the Unverse intervenes to extricate the world, in harsh ways – and for this He sheds those two tears.
Both tears are a symbol of the great sorrow the Creator, blessed be His Name, feels for being forced to use such harsh means to shock human society and restore it to its intended track. They express the material and cultural destruction that human society had to undergo in order to get out of its unhealthy, unnatural, non-divine path, and return to the right path, along which it is meant to travel.
The Master of the Universe has boundless mercy for mankind and always wants the best for mankind and acts for its good. The Master of the Universe has endless patience for human society and its mistakes, as long as their making correct choices can overcome their weaknesses, but when that is not possible, the Master of the Universe is forced to cure human society in a painful way, altj he feels great sorrow for it. This is the meaning of the Creator's tears. They descend into the sea that surrounds the world, and their ripples make waves that affect all of human society. That is – the Master of the Universe is revolutionizing the world in a way that sweeps the entire human race together in order to bring it to its complete Tikkun. If so, as the People of Israel does not fulfill its mission and function, there is no choice to G-d but to use His tears. This is the second point of the article.
The third point in Rabbi Kook's remarks concerns the question of why this whole accounting is done by means of a sorcerer. A sorcerer represents those people who do not tolerate the existing human arrangements, they want to create the world anew with a new order that will allow human weakness to erupt without limits. These people are irresponsible. They have a culture, a mystical worldview that seeks to break down the existing orders, rules, principles, structures – all in order to unleash all restraints controlling the frailty and evil inclination of the human race and give birth to all [abnormal] tendencies. The wise ones among them even want to use the excuse that the Creator himself sometimes acts to destroy the world ... But the Master of the Universe does it rarely and only for the sake of building the world, whereas the societies of the sorcerers and their friends throughout history - take advantage of the breakdown of social order to allow every whim and every human weakness and construct new ideologies breaking existing orders for the purpose of making room to allow for human weaknesses. Instead of building G-d's image in man, they act to remove this image by breaking world order.
That's why Rabbi Ktina said these opinions are false and should not be listened to. A person should engage in building and repair and in no way in demolishing, certainly when he does not know how to rebuild things after their destruction and demolition. All the more so when the destruction itself must not mistakably be regarded as a purpose in itself, with the sole intention of allowing for human weakness.
These are principles outlined in the article. With these spiritual principles I want to approach the worldwide historical drama that is currently taking place and study it. There is a collision here between the Coronavirus and post-modern philosophy. Our post-modern world is made up a culture of deconstruction, of destruction. It is, among other things, a destruction of identities - of national identity, of family identity, of sexual identity.
It has to do with empowering individual rights to such an extent that they have swelled almost to the level of becoming a 'golden calf', in whose name addiional principles are destroyed. Human Dignity, instead of being a place to encounter G-d's image in man, becomes an idol that allows the exposure of man's nakedness.
I want to show that this global epidemic - the Coronavirus - is shaking all the 'golden calves' from the ground up- modern idols that swelled and swelled until they grew out of proportion and led the world towards iniquity instead of repairing and uplifting it – driving it straight towards its destruction. This is for the most part the destruction of G-d's image that a person has within him and which he is expected to discover, and thus return the basic values to the world.
Let us explain these things in detail.
First of all, post-modern philosophy can be compared to the philosophy of the abovementioned sorcerer. It is a philosophy of deconstruction (as it appears in all post-modern writings). It argues that all human arrangements are full of injustice and oppression and that it is necessary to destroy these human arrangements in order to bring man into some sort of mystic state 'beyond the screen of ignorance' to that of the 'transparent person' - all these are inventions that basically destroy the elements on which the healthy, natural, normal world stands.
One of the main principles of post-modern philosophy is the politics of identities. To be exact, we should call it identity blurring. Post-modern philosophy claims that every form of identity detracts from freedom, disturbs the expression of the individual's self and his personal liberty. Identities were created in order to suppress the individual, the minorities and the weak. These theories are all built on the desire to erase human definitions of identity.
First and foremost - national identity. After all, the world is made up of peoples and nations. The cultures were created by peoples and nations. The security that individuals and their families have is granted and enabled by their belonging to a nation. Hegel said in his time that a nation is an extended family.
The Jewish People is practically an extended family - Beit Yaakov, the house of Jacob, tribes that grew and became a people. The human order, its identity, its culture, its development, its progress, is built in a structure of peoples and nations. Every nation has a purpose - every nation has a uniqueness, and national diversity allows for many shades of the human psyche and human thought. The universal element is the dialogue, the common denominator that every nation brings into the global space, it is the notion that whatever is good for someone and for others around him, he also shares with others. But the post-modern world claims that nationality is the source of racism, the source of wars, the source of all injustices, that it derogates the rights of the minority and individual rights. If so, there is no room for nationality. It must be erased, blurred and removed from the stage.
Deleting national identity means deleting the concept of a person, a man, a culture, whatever has been built on this foundation.
While the national element is not a purpose in itself, it too, is subject to Divine morality. We have already seen that throughout history, injustices have been done in the name of nationhood as a supreme value - fascism, suppression of individuals and other results we certainly did not wish for.
The concept of nationalism in the case of the People of Israel maps a way through which culture and values are developed - human creation evolves through the national structures, through the cultures they create in the world, the varied cultural styles. Nationalism is a nourishinng and constructive element when it also accepts responsibility. Nationalism requires a guarantee of the public to the individual and of the individual to the public.
Until yesterday people had thought the world had turned into a global village - everything open, no borders, no nations, all the identities were being erased. And then the coronavirus arrived, closing the borders, bringing every individual back to his people, his country, his land, no going out and no coming in.
Nationalism breaks into the front line and individuals suddenly discover that they cannot be saved by any imaginary global village, in which some form of UN saves them from a global epidemic. Instead, every nation is now protecting its citizens, the sons of its people, its native people, in its own country. There is no going out and there is no coming in.
Suddenly it turns out that the safe place for the individual in his world, his security, his future and his life depend on his people. There he can find the guarantee for his life, the foundation of his being. It turns out that, as the poet Horatius said, even if we try to chase away nature with pitchforks, it will return to us in huge amounts, and the national element is now returning in spectacular measure. Of course, it should come back in its constructive form and not in its destructive forms, not like the fascism we saw in the past. Howver, the necessary amendments to nationalism are not its deletion by deconstruction and post-modernism.
Once all the people return to their own countries, the public space becomes empty and everyone is back in his home. The family emerges as the foundation stone upon which human life is built. The family is the beginning, middle and end of everything, all is to be found in the home. The Coronavirus brings us all back home, in every sense: home means father and mother, home means a man and a woman, home means parental responsibility. We return home to the most basic family nucleus.
Even in the wider family circle, the extended family, it is already impossible to meet people, because everyone can catch the virus from one another - but in spite of this, we do not keep immediate family members apart. We return to the elementary nuclear family from which human society is built - father, mother and children.
Peoples are made up of large numbers of families. This is the place where the culture is passed on to the next generation, where values are inculcated, here morality is formed. The interaction between the parents, parents' aspirations - this is what the children absorb, it is into this identity that the children must grow. Family identity is the identity with which the individual develops, the source of his values, his norms, his thoughts, his codes of behavior. The family is nourished by the nation, and the individuals are nourished by their family.
The house returns to the center of life - totally - everyone returns home.
Post-modern identity politics desired to abandon the home, blur the home and erase it, to build an imagined 'new family' - you no longer need a father and a mother, you can build families without nature, children can be brought into the world without a father or a mother. This philosophy wants to create a new person, to engineer a planned human, to purchase or have children through artificial wombs. All kinds of experiments have been done to humanity, to the human genome, in attempts to destroy the family cell, disassemble any identity.
This blurring is promulgated because basically, according to post-modern philosophy, identity is wrong. It is structuring and tracking. But as it turns out, family identity is neither structuring nor tracking.
And it gets worse - Post-modern philosophy tried to say that putting a male and female together is already structuring and tracking. For them there is no female identity, no male identity and it's all lies and a product of education. This is an attempt to uproot from human society the good and the beneficial, the values and the wonderful features that exist in each gender. G-d created man B'tzelem Elokim (in the Image of G-d) ... and called their name Adam - these are two sides of the Image of G-d, neither obfuscates the other, each complements the other.
It is out of the male and the female and the differences and diversity between them – the full disclosure of the concept of G-d's Image is expressed, the term Adam – a person - is created. Children are born into this reality of revealing the Image of G-d and they witness how this Image of G-d is revealed by the complementary contrasts between man and woman.
All the attempts to erase these elements are part of the deconstruction process of post-modernism, and here the Master of the Universe has powerfully brought us all home, to our safe, natural and healthy environment, to be spared the attempt to 'sell' us the various structures of disassembly.
3. The duty of man in his world
The third issue - the human rights 'golden calf', which is a term that made its first appearance in the world, starting with the French Revolution and the American Revolution. At that time, it was not a 'golden calf', but a great value of protecting human freedom from dictators and tyrants who harmed and trampled, suppressed and damaged human life, abrogated fundamental human rights and freedoms. At that time, all kinds of social structures existed, such as dictatorial regimes that infringed on elementary liberty and enslaved humans.
Fundamental Human Rights mean that there is no right granted to a dictator, nor to the state, nor to society nor anyone else - to harm a person's life, liberty, right of self-expression or property. Of course, there are always extraordinary cases and exceptions such as going to war to protect the people, etc. - but they are marginalized. These fundamental rights are real and justified rights.
But the world we live in has strayed far away from basic human rights as described above, as far as the distance between earth and heaven. These Fundamental Rights swelled into an idol worship of demands and whims that the individual likes to derive from society or the state, as if it were some super-force for catering to every whim of every individual, as if it were a cow that can be milked.
No more dealing with preventiing violation of individual's rights, but instead dealing with the demands individuals make of society to allow them to exercise all kinds of bigger and broader rights. Everyone has his own wills and desires, llimited only by the extent of his imagination, and in the name of the value of equality - since everyone deserves rights, and should have his or her own rights - they try to milk the public cow for everything, as if the specific rights that they demand are absolute rights, in the world that some utopian being called the state or society, which apparently has endless resources and is committed to providing them.
I regard these rights as imaginary whims of individuals, and the demand to realize them - the cries 'I deserve it, I deserve it' are like the sound "Hav, Hav" (according to the Zohar commentary, "Hav" in Hebrew is a synonym for "give", but it also sounds like a dog's bark and the Zohar compares the ongoing demands to dogs barking to have all their desires and needs fulfilled).
This is a worldview that encourages selfishness, accustoming the individual to have only rights and removing all his duties. We, however, live in this world according to the Torah, and it teaches that a person is obligated to achieve the discovery of the Image of G-d immanent in him. These duties include the obligation towards our mates – the love of your friend, charity, kindness, mutual guarantees between one another - all these are obligations towards the Master of the Universe.
There is no right for a person to demand rights from someone else as if his mate is obliged to give him anything, there is a moral Divine order that man should give aid to his friend who really needs his help. All this has now been erased, because once there is an imagined source which is supposed to fulfill imaginary whims, one can milk it, and in terms of living and letting live, each individual is for himself, and everyone is racing to maximize his individual requirements and personal whims.
This golden calf should be put on the table and smashed. This calf creates selfishness in society, it causes separation, it removes mutual guarantees from society, it makes people selfish and petty, individuals who think only of 'what do I deserve' and not what is the right thing that I can give or contribute, what is our duty so we will make sure it is done.
The world of Judaism is the inverse of the above. Every day we ask ourselves, as when we open the book of Mesilat Yesharim, the basic book of Jewish ethics - what is the duty of man in his world? You have a moral obligation towards the needy ones of your family, the needy ones of your city, the needy ones of your people - 'and may your brother live with you' – means the needy ones of the whole world as well. There are circles inside circles of help, but these are the places that truly need real and justified help, out of the individual's responsibility to his environment, and not for the fulfillment of random whims. When you transfer all the responsibility to society, to the state, to any imaginary source that should respond to every whim, you remove the individuals' responsibility toward another. You need to bring back to the center the duties of a person towards his fellow man rather than the whims of imaginary 'rights' that people devise.
The 'golden calf' of individual rights violates the concept of nationality in another way as well. We are in the process of causing harm, in the name of individual rights and the value of equality, to all national values. The claim that national identity equals racism equals human rights violations and minority rights violations, is a lie.
Nationality is not offensive to individuals; it gives them the right to life and dignity. But even if it were not, are we allowed, in the name of individual rights, to trample the identity of the public? Can national culture be erased in the name of individual rights? This is the huge struggle that is taking place these days, here in our country, between the 'Jewish nation state' and the 'state of all its citizens'.
'State of all its citizens' means deletion of the value of nation, its culture, identity, purpose and values. The state of all its citizens sees supreme value in the individual, his desires, whims and his being equal to everyone else next to him, and sees no value in the Klal – the community, the public, the nation as a whole. In this name they come to delete all the great values and the destiny of all nations, and especially of the People of Israel, whose entire purpose is realized as a people, whose entire culture is built as a people.The 'golden calf' of individual rights wishes to erase all this.
These days there is a deep struggle within Israeli society, on the question of whether Israel is a Zionist Jewish state, one which is democratic, of course, in the sense of not hurting a minority or anyone else and in protecting rights, this compared to the other side which sees Israel as 'the state of all its citizens', meaning that the individual is the supreme value, and in the name of individual rights no national general value can be expressed, since there will always be another individual who claims to be offended by it in one way or another, and his right must come first.
There's a huge fight here concerning the future of the whole Jewish people and the value of the Jewish return to Zion. In the name of this 'golden calf,' post-modern philosophy wishes to literally crush the national foundations and all the meaning of our return to Zion after two thousand years of exile. Of course, we are not willing to give up on this foundation in any way.
The Coronavirus crisis shows us an amazing thing - the milking cow can't provide everything. In one moment, the state loses its ability to provide all the endless services expected from it. We pray and wish that everyone return to their workplace and support themselves, and that the state will then balance the relationships within society. The individual and the public will return to a new order of balances, in which the individual also knows his obligations to his country, to his land, to his people, to his national identity, his destiny as a people, and also his responsibility to his fellow man - the mutual guarantees required by Torah.
D. The Purpose of Man
The fourth principle that is now emerging is the great debate, which the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard already put on the table - the human designation. This philosopher described man as having three elementary impulses, built as a three-story tower. The lowest among them is the urge for luxury - pleasure and enjoyment. The floor above it, the most central and significant, is existence – including livelihood, responsibility, security, continuity, standing behind the next generation to ensure they continue the heritage. The floor on the top is the human designation, the meaning of life.
In essence – the three levels are pleasure, existence and meaning. The post-modern world holds a worldview that truth is all subjective, and in reality, there is no absolute truth and no right thing or justified thing and no set of values to aspire to, because all opinions, all thoughts, all actions, all whims - everything is equal to everything else, and everyone creates his own "shopping list" of values. Hence, humanity's quest for greatness, the moral quest for discovery of the Image of G-d in the world - have been erased, and all human weaknesses are now allowed to erupt breaking all existing arrangements. There is a lack of boundaries. This is how worldviews like polyamory can be created – what is called an "open relationship" which in the Torah and moral discourse is considered forbidden as "Lo Tin'af – Thou shall not commit adultery," here is done by permit and consent.
These are unbelievable things that humankind now turns into the norm. How is it possible that in the twenty-first century, when the human race has reached remarkable achievements both technologically and in terms of social arrangements, at the same time it has deteriorated to moral bankruptcy, in the sense that it allows everyone fulfill his worst whims, of course, provided [as they note] that he doesn't hurt another ...
Where are the moral aspirations, where are the boundaries, where is the understanding that man has a higher component that desires to go upwards and get close to G-d, to the revelation of the spiritual moral phase of the Image of G-d immanent in a human being? In the human psyche there are weaknesses, there is rudeness, savagery - that even when they do not hurt others, they degrade the dignity of man.
Human dignity is not a permit, not the legitimacy to do whatever I want without any moral criterion and fulfill every single whim. Human dignity is the revelation of the Image of G-d in the human being, combating human weakness by free choice in order to strive for the spiritual and moral upper floor of man's cognition. This is the true meaning of human dignity. But the human dignity that breaks any restraint, permits - in the name of freedom, in the name of liberty - any moral weakness even if it does not directly harm the other, is this human dignity? No, this is called degradation, humiliation!
That is exactly what Kierkegaard says - in the absence of meaning, the person is left with the lower phases of existence and enjoyment, the pleasures and luxuries and amusements become the purpose of his life, and his existence actually serves the craving for pleasure. It's walking in the opposite direction to the one that man, the human race, needs to walk.
We are not against pleasure or against luxury, nor against people having a comfortable and pleasant life, but it can't be the goal around which life revolves - where to spend your time and what you eat and where to celebrate. We have not come to the world for "fun and excitement" – bread and circuses, as the poet Juvenalis said. Not for that purpose was man created.
The post-modern world not only made man's lower level of values into his purpose, but also set free all human weaknesses and cravings and made everything legitimate. In the absence of a criterion for morality and truth, every whim is legitimate, and man is not bound by any moral decree, by any kind of decree. There is no high value to aspire to, and in any case, there is no value that can limit either man's impulses or his weaknesses.
What the Coronavirus did to this worldview is amazing - the whole show business scene, the whole culture of fun and excitement closed down overnight and we were left with the aspiration to mere existence. We are fighting for the basics, for what is existential for us, we pray that the basics of existence will last - livelihood, food, health - and we pray that no more people die in this deadly pandemic. All the world of luxury is abruptly discontinued. It's an earthquake that shakes the whole world – as if G-d calls out to us: Man, wake up! You have a purpose and a moral role! I did not create you in the image of God, to be no different from an animal which is only occupied with its basic existence and low pleasures.
Human intellect and conscience, wisdom and technology were not created to serve the lower aspects of man's being, but to lift him up to his spiritual stature. Of course, humanity needs a compass and a conscience which can be found in the teachings of the Torah.
5. Man does not replace the Creator
The last point, with which I like to conclude - this crisis makes the individual more humble. Modern man thought he was omnipotent, that he could replace the Creator - 'My power and my strength-of-hand enabled me to reach this achievement' - The post-modern world proudly thought of breaking down the existing arrangements in order to seemingly rebuild new arrangements, to "re-engineer" the world and to rebuild man according to a new purpose, with all kinds of theories of deconstruction like 'beyond the screen of ignorance', 'the transparent person. ' which I can't understand. How can they allow humans to lead their lives and set their own arrangements.
'My power and my strength-of-hand enabled me to reach this achievement' is a wonderful thing, but the continuation of the verse reminds a person that he cannot replace the Creator, since he is not omnipotent - 'And you should remember your G-d because he is the one who gives you strength to succeed' . We are totally for human development and for human wisdom, but we are also in favor of human modesty.
The Master of the Universe loves man very much and acts in his favor and for his perfection, and therefore gave him great wisdom that could develop and repair the world; but one must not get lost along the way and think he replaces the Creator, blessed be His name. Man does not replace the Creator. Man helps the Creator to complete the world in order to partner with the Creator in creating the best world, because the Master of the Universe who loves man, has left room for man to be a part of the building, repair and completion of the world in terms of material and moral aspects.
The Coronavirus creates a tremendous opportunity. It undermines and shocks all our great human wisdom, all the sense that we control everything and manage everything. Humility and modesty serve as an opening for a person's growth, humility 'opens' the person and pride 'closes' him. The Master of the Universe does not wish for the destruction of His world, but only wishes that we engage in self-examination, and out of His love for man He makes him recognize the purpose of living in this world.
Currently, the People of Israel has an amazing historical role. The Jewish People has always been, since the Exodus, a moral lighthouse for humanity by virtue of Torah teachings, we are the compass that does not vary with fashions or passing cultures. Torah instilled Divine morality in the world – steady eternal morality, a morality that reveals the Image of G-d in man, recognizes human despicableness and human weaknesses but knows how to neutralize and put limits on weaknesses and empower human strengths and moral abilities.
The Jewish Torah is the human compass, and the People of Israel hold this compass. In light of our Exodus from Egypt, our historical destiny over the last three thousand years and the tremendous privilege that the Master of the Universe has given to our generations by letting us return to Zion - we must remember our destiny – what the purpose of our leaving Egypt was, and why we return today to Jerusalem.
We deserve to be a 'startup nation' not only in the technological sense, we are supposed to be a startup nation again, a locomotive, in the full sense of a moral compass which derives from our eternal Torah - "Since The Torah will come from Zion and the word of G-d from Jerusalem"
Maybe that's the positive message and the great destiny of the People of Israel to arise out of this general human turmoil. And I pray that we fulfill our mission and destiny for the good of the world and the entire human race.
Edited by Elimelech Klein and Elkana Babad.
English translation and editing by Yochi Robbins
Dedicated to the full recovery of Rabbi Zvi Yisrael Tau ben Yetta Feige.