STATE OF MIND
Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita
It’s that moment, when one stares wistfully at the hundreds of pictures you have taken over the holidays. The cute children peeking out with chocolate smeared mouths, parents waving as they intone the holy segulah word for good pictures “cheese”. The passports have been placed in that safe drawer that you forget when they are next needed, and the valises are stored back in the garage until one of the einiklech ask for a spare one, because everyone knows that everything in Ziedy’s garage is there for the einiklech anyway. Yes, vacations leave lovely memories, (and depleted bank accounts) and as you sit kvelling you give thanks to the Eibishter for giving you the zechus to have such happiness.
Then those little nibbling questions start to seep in, what future have we given these neshomalech? What will their einiklech see in their pictures? Fear has a way of slipping in, you worry where the world is going, and daven that your children’s children will be smiling with the same innocence that yours are.
Visiting grandchildren is wondrous, the little ones hold your hand with confidence, trusting that you will be there for them and will guide them not merely across the street but towards the future.
The answers to our questions about tomorrow lie in our today. It is our connection with Kaveyuchle der Eibishter that will hold forth a glimmer of hope for our future generations.
The Divrei Binah writes that Rosh Hashanah is quite literally the “head of the year”, since it signifies the avodah that must transpire within our own heads. The future of Klall Yisroel depends upon our having our heads involved in our day to day Yiddishkiet.
How many of us just trip thru our mitzvos, acting as if we are devoted yet with minds lost to material folly? We build huge buildings with all the most luxurious fixtures. Weddings have become extravagant excuses for excess and our Rabbonim set to the side whilst our worship of riches grows. Listen to today’s music, witness the manner of our dancing and then ask yourselves where this is leading. Youngsters see no real connection from their elders to Avodas Hashem, so they naturally take the next step further beyond our true mesorah. We must take heed, and we have no time to waste! Our ‘Rosh’ needs to become committed if the future years are to be positive.
The Kotzker Rebbe Ztl was wont to ask, “Where is the Eibishter?” And after a well-timed moment would answer his own question, “Wherever you let Him in.”
The question is, do we let Hashem into our inner selves, or is Hashem just a notion that we talk of.
In Parshas Ki Seitzei we learn: “Your camp must therefore be holy. Let Him not see anything lascivious among you, and turn away from you.” (23:15)
The Kotzker offered an example: ‘A person wants that the King should visit his home but places at the entrance a pile of smelly rubbish. How would it be possible for the King to enter? The same is with a Yied that has filled his home with shameful acts, showing in this way that he isn’t seeking for Kaveuchal the Eibishter to enter his home.’
Will our young grow into solid Torah’dika neshomahs? We are a broken generation, with challenges beyond the experience of earlier generations. Hashem knows where he put us, and it is our tikun to serve the young of the generation we have been given. We have to tone down our materialist cravings. Labelling activities ‘Glatt Kosher’, doesn’t change what is driving us. All the Rabbinical pictures on the glossy adverts won’t change that reality. Two weeks in Vietnam isn’t anything close to spending time with children in a hiemisha sheltered Torah atmosphere.
Youngsters see and hear, they know what place Hashem has in their homes, and where their parents lay importance. Rosh Hashonah, is a time to get the state of our minds focused on what is our truth, and begin to act accordingly. We crave an end of this bitter golus, well at least we should.
I often hear parents bemoan the situation, asking why they’re lovely kids don’t seem dedicated to our mesorah. Tragically, the deeper meaning for our problems is that we live in a mirage of Yiddishkiet. Our young deserve a meaningful life as Jews, and we will be held responsible for any void.