on the wall of the first synagogue visible as one exits the Prospect Expressway at Church Ave. and Ocean Parkway says that
the whole purpose of the creation of man and the world is that God find a home in this world. Hence the Bible has numerous
passages regarding the holiness with which one is to conduct himself so as to attract rather than deter God’s Presence.
The Covenant with Israel made in Sinai - the Torah - is the code of conduct for the new nation.
If the nature
of man is evil from his youth, the Torah was to be Israel’s - and ultimately the world’s - guide to inviting God
to dwell among us in the various societies of humankind. The story of Noach in the Torah’s book of Genesis alludes to
the natures of the sons of Noach, from whom all of mankind developed. The coarseness of Ham and his son Canaan; the openness
of Japhet to beauty, culture, science, art and technology; and the ultimate guide for expressing human endeavors, Shem, who
is to establish for all mankind the ethical, moral and spiritual contexts for all actions, is presented to us for our enlightenment.
The tragic legacy of the ancient nation of Israel has not been correctly considered by layman or sages in the context of the
prophetic mission statement provided by Noach. Israel’s sages have not gotten the message regarding Israel’s prophetic
responsibility to create this “tent of Shem” (Genesis 9 : 27).
The history of the nation of
Israel can legitimately be encapsulated as a failure to adopt the mission statement as the chief agenda in complying with
the Torah. What the sages of Israel actually produced is a life in the tent of Japhet, but with mezzuzzahs on the tent poles
or door posts. This was accompanied by an explosion of rabbinic laws which rendered the nation’s ethos, character and
national and individual life as a non-compliant entity. With the Torah’s warning not to add or subtract from the written
law ignored by the very guardians of the law, Israel was abandoned to the curses enumerated by her God. Did the rabbis not
see the failure of their efforts ? This remains to become a subject for pathological and social studies.
Jewish establishment worldwide belies this failure. Nevertheless, no one can deny the absence of God’s saving power
when Israel was subjected to the most horrible, gruesome and savage assaults mankind has ever perpetrated.
a history of rebelliousness against the sagacious warnings of all of her Divinely sent Prophets, has not sparked curiosity
about this anomaly. It is as if a mindless preoccupation with gala feeding events, rituals and frenetic recitations of seemingly
endless liturgy has numbed the minds of a nation speeding from disaster to disaster.
Perhaps an arrogance prevents
any sage from considering that they are on the wrong path. Perhaps they never absorbed the meaning of the simple biblical
passage that Japhet will dwell in Shem’s tent. Perhaps the life in Japhet’s tent is simply too addictive. Personally,
I have never mastered an understanding of the root cause of the problem. It seems so inescapably CLEAR that I do not understand
why it isn’t clear to everyone. But I will venture to say that as bad as the Holocaust was in the minds of those who,
as I did, heard the tales from parents and their friends, what is prophesied to befall my generation and yours is going to
be a NIGHTMARE from which none of us will escape.
It is for this reason that Torahuniverse was conceived as a prayerful
antidote. And it is for this reason that I never stop exhorting our people to remember that Emanuel means that God is in our
midst - happily in our midst. And if we are not enjoying the miraculous and wonderful Presence of our God, it is because,
in spite of whatever we think we are doing for HIs sake; we are simply alienating, if not outright exiling, Him from our midst.