Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Adar 5764 - March 18, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Torah Carries Us

It is now about a year since the Finance Minister and his Treasury Department first began their emergency measures to reform and rehabilitate the Israeli economy. So far, for the vast majority of Israelis, things have been getting only worse. Though there are some signs that this may be changing for the better, it has not happened yet. It may happen and it may not.

It seems pretty clear that there is no foreseeable danger of a collapse of the Israeli economy. Although it is not growing the way everybody would like, there are no gross imbalances that will have to be rectified one way or another. (Unfortunately, this cannot be said of the American economy.)

There is probably not a family in Israel that has not been affected in one way or another by the government cutbacks that took place over the last year. Families with high incomes and/or a lot of assets hardly felt the difference. Families with low incomes and high expenses certainly suffered much more.

Boruch Hashem we cannot prove that we have suffered by showing how many have left the kollelim to take jobs. So far there has been no noticeable change in the normal turnover of men leaving kollel to go to work, despite the cutbacks in government support.

Even at the highest level Israeli government aid reached almost fifteen years ago, no Jewish family could live only on what the government paid to a typical family. No one lived only on what they got from the Israeli government.

The government cutbacks have nonetheless meant a lowering of the standard of living in the Torah community and the need to watch expenses more carefully. For some people it meant catering their own simchas rather than hiring someone to do it. For others it meant buying less expensive food and drink, and wearing clothes somewhat longer. For others it meant having to accept outside help. So far, there have been no significant changes overall. Things have not been as bad as the worst predictions, but the cuts have caused pain.

Most importantly, despite the necessity to do without even more, the masses have not left the tents of Torah. They do not kill themselves in those tents because of government transfer payments, but because of their deep conviction that this is the proper way to live.

Material life should be driven by true and pure spiritual goals. The spirit is not just something that can be given a little time on weekends, but rather it is the most important part of reality, and Torah is the highest pursuit that the Jewish people have.

Just as the Aron Hakodesh, the container of the Luchos, in the desert really carried along those who appeared to be carrying it, so today the Torah really supports those who appear to carry it. This includes those who learn it and those who support those who learn it. More broadly it really includes the entire Torah community and even the entire Jewish community. Those who seek every opportunity to strike out at Torah are ultimately propped up by those they wish to harm.

This is even the way the whole world works. Hashem Himself, so to speak, constantly sustains the whole world, including those who oppose him bitterly.

But this situation will not continue forever. In these months of geulah we are reminded of the eventual state of the world in which "before You Hashem they will kneel and fall and give honor to Your Name . . . and accept the yoke of Your Kingdom."

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