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Emergency Spiritual Intervention Required

By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim

Contemplating the difficult and complex troubled times in which we live leaves one with the feeling that only miraculous Divine intervention can bring about redemption, peace, and security. We, therefore, turn to God in prayer and beg Him to help us in these dark days.

Only God can ultimately bring personal, national, and world redemption. However, our sages have taught us that our good deeds invoke Divine mercy and, thereby, Divine redemption. Similarly, our negative actions invoke Divine judgment, God forbid. While we need to pray to God, we also need to ensure we are playing our part to invoke God’s compassion and to avoid Divine judgment.

Our first national dark time was the brutal bondage in Egypt. Our sages point out that the Egyptian exile resulted from Joseph speaking disparagingly of his brothers. When Moses rebuked a Hebrew for attempting to strike another, the Hebrew said to Moses: “Who made you a man, a prince, and a judge over us? Do you plan to slay me as you have slain the Egyptian?” The verse then states: “Moses became frightened and said, ‘Indeed, the matter has become known!’” (Exodus 2:14) Rashi explains that Moses became frightened once he saw that the Hebrews were involved in informing upon one another and evil speech. He worried that this transgression made them unfit for redemption.

The dark exile of the last two thousand years began with the destruction of the second Temple. Our sages teach us that the spiritual cause of this destruction was baseless hatred. The Chofetz Chaim explains that this baseless hatred manifested itself in lashon hara, speaking of others negatively. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Maharal of Prague says that the greatest thing we can do to bring about the ultimate redemption is to not speak negatively about other people.

Just as the spiritual skin ailment called Tzara’as was a wake-up call for someone speaking badly about others in Biblical times, so too should our current challenges be a wake-up call for us to be more careful with our speech. Let’s all make a greater effort to avoid speaking negatively about others. We pray that this evokes God’s compassion and, that in this merit, God will again miraculously intervene to deliver us from our perils.