A historic opportunity for Jews to act as soldiers of Hashem, to turn away from victimhood and embrace the victory of their faith.
In an age of hyper-connectivity, where news and social media shape our perceptions and attitudes, how often do we pause to reflect on the essence of our identity? If you've been grappling with this question, especially as a Jew in modern America, an enlightening perspective has recently come to light.
The open letter by Rabbi Sholom Ber Lipskar from The Shul of Bal Harbor could not be more timely. It serves as a compelling reminder that living Jewishly—far from being an antiquated practice—is the most direct way to fortify ourselves and our communities in the face of adversity. Rabbi Lipskar strongly asserts, "The only thing that is necessary now is to live more Jewishly."
Rabbi Lipskar lays out a crucial message: Jewish communities should focus less on external narratives that foster a sense of victimhood and instead channel their energies towards fulfilling the mitzvot and living according to Jewish values. "We have a critical moment here and if we don’t take advantage of it, we blew a significant ability to bring Moshiach for real," he says.
The underlying message here is that Jews must be a "light unto the nations" (Isaiah 42:6). Jews have the responsibility to illuminate the world with wisdom and ethical conduct. Rabbi Lipskar's call for Jews to live more Jewishly reaffirms this scriptural point and stresses the importance of living a Torah-observant life as a demonstration of divine ethics.
In the Zohar, it is written that "With this book, the Children of Israel will be redeemed from exile" (Zohar 3:124b). In times of challenge, Chassidic thought often refers to the Zohar's teachings as a means to hasten the coming of Moshiach. In this light, the Rabbi's plea to live more Jewishly can be seen as part of this greater cosmic mission, emphasizing action over rhetoric, reality over perception. It encourages us not merely to await the arrival of Moshiach but to actively engage in the behaviors that could hasten His coming.
So as we navigate these tumultuous times, let us remember Rabbi Lipskar's passionate entreaty as a wake-up call. Rather than focusing on victimhood or adversity, let us seize this as an opportune moment to deepen our connection to Judaism, reminding ourselves and others that being Jewish is not just an identity, but a profound mission. And through these collective actions may we indeed hasten the coming of Moshiach, turning this moment of urgency into a catalyst for the ultimate redemption.