Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Adar 5762 - March 13, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
A Good Season for Criticism

An Israeli saying has it that it is easier to be a critic (mevaker) than to be an ally (chaver). Whether or not this is true in normal times, it is certainly true today.

The situation is difficult and complex and anyone with a little logic can explain why this or that action was no good. Anyone who is in a position wherein he is expected to solve our knotty problems, is attacked from all sides. Not only that, but the critics can offer hypothetical solutions and can claim that they would work if they were tried.

It is a perfect setting for any critic, and it does not matter which side he starts from. The Right says that the military action is too restrained. Terror would be completely destroyed if only more force were applied. The Left says that the military steps that are taken are exactly what brings terror upon us as a reaction, and escalated attacks bring escalated counterattacks. If the army launched an all-out invasion and toppled the Palestinian Authority, the terror would stop, say sage critics on the Right. The only way out of the difficulties, say critics on the Left, is to begin negotiations without preconditions. Some say confine Arafat and others say let him go. Some say stick to destroying military targets and others say the time has come to attack infrastructure.

In short, it is a good time to be in the opposition or a member of the working press. The situation is bad and it is easy and popular to call for improvements. It is hard to actually bring them about. Everything that has been tried has not worked. Everything that has not yet been tried can be argued will work. The result is a tremendous amount of verbiage. People are eager to hear how to get out of this terrible and difficult situation, and there are many who are willing to slake this thirst with their own solutions. As long as they are untried and sound good, they will find an eager audience.

However we, who are believers the children of believers, must not allow all this attractive speculation to distract us from what we know is the right conclusion to draw from the fearsome attacks of our cruel and heartless foe.

We must not see our situation as the result of blind social and political forces but rather as a reflection and result of spiritual forces and our ethical worth. We know that when Hashem sends us tzoros He wants something from us: He wants to bring us back to Him.

It is now the beginning of bein hazmanim, but in the circumstances we must make it a time of chizuk and not chas vesholom the opposite. Whatever we do in preparation and fulfillment of the special mitzvos of this season, we must do more intensely and more carefully. We must not neglect our Torah, we must not neglect our tefilloh and we especially must not neglect our gemilas chassodim.

Seeing that it is a good time for criticism, we can also become critics. But we should focus on criticism of ourselves with an aim to making us better people and increasing our avodas Hashem.

We will have a yeshu'oh -- partial or complete -- when we are worthy of it in the eyes of Heaven. May it be soon.

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