Terumah: Yet Again


Inexplicable Yet Again


September 11
Corporate meltdown
Middle East turmoil
Global unrest

And the latest – the Columbia space shuttle disaster
Over Palestine, Texas
Due to a ‘left wing’ failure
With the first Israeli astronaut, eating kosher, with a mezuzah and Torah scroll aboard.

“Not again” was Newsweek’s headline. I am not sure what the editors meant with ‘not again.’ Did they mean: not another space shuttle disaster following the Challenger explosion in 1986, or not another tragedy after all the catastrophes we have endured in the last two years – the sinking feeling each of us has when we hear of yet another senseless loss, yet another tragic death.

Not again indeed. Unfortunately, it’s yes again. Yes, yet another one of our infrastructures – the infrastructures we have come to rely upon as invincible and invulnerable – crumbled, yet again.

Looking back at the events of the last two years something startling jumps out at you: Every one of our material infrastructures is crumbling.

Are all these recent events a coincidence?

13 years ago a great leader dramatically stated, that the world is undergoing fundamental changes. As a global revolution brews and a new age dawns, we need to ‘open our eyes’ and see its reality.

Dramatic changes have shaken the world in the last 13 years affecting all levels of society – technological, political, economic and global stability. The fall of the Soviet Union, the advent of the Internet for the masses, and other major events in the 90’s have reshaped the world we live in. But in the last two years, completely unexpected upheavals have abruptly changed a certain and confident future into an insecure nightmare of uncertainty.

Beginning with the Internet bust and punctuated by September 11 and Middle Eastern terrorism, disaster after disaster, blow after blow, has traumatized the fibers of our beings. Though not to be compared to the lives destroyed, the corporate meltdown of the last year is radically affecting our economic future, leaving the landscape in ruins. CEO after CEO resigning in shame, with the latest stunner: $100… billion (not million, billion…) write-off loss by AOL Time Warner (where did they even stash away $100 billion, and how can they write it off and still stay afloat?! – so much for equal distribution of wealth…)

And now, the high profile Columbia catastrophe in the very heavens we thought we had conquered – 17 years almost to the day of the Challenger explosion in 1986.

What do all these successive events mean and how do we ‘open our eyes’ to see their significance?

History can help us. Over 2300 years ago Persia was the superpower that controlled the world. A cruel minister plotted with the Persian leader (king) to annihilate all the Jews in the empire, in effect a total genocide of the entire Jewish people! Miraculously, due to a set of circumstances the people were saved.

This miracle mind you was not an apparent supernatural event. Actually, if we were living in that time we could have easily written off the events as completely circumstantial. Persian King Achashveirus happened to throw a party. When he invited his wife she happened to rebuff him, and in his anger he had her killed. The Jewess Esther happened to be chosen to become the new queen. A while later Mordechai happened to overhear and foil an assassination attempt against the king. One night years later the king happened to have insomnia, and he happened to be read the story of Mordechai saving his life. He then happens to suddenly reward Mordechai. When Haman is ready to fulfill his evil plot, Esther happens to be there to thwart it.

Long story short – over a period of nine years circumstances are positioned in such a way where all the right people are in the right place and the right time to ensure that Haman does not exterminate the Jewish people!

If we were around at the time all these events – spread over 9 years – could have appeared as random, isolated experiences. When you are too close to the events you can sometimes not see the forest from the trees. But in retrospect, when we read the Megillah on Purim, and we hear the sequence of events, we then can connect the dots and see the greater picture emerging – one that leads to an absolute miracle.

Same thing today. Current events are dots in a bigger picture. Experiencing each of them individually leaves us confused, disoriented, uncertain. Each incident can appear as a self-standing isolated incident. But when you step back and look at the juxtaposed chain of events, a larger picture emerges.

The common denominator of all the recent events is: the breakdown of our existing material infrastructures. Opening our eyes means to recognize this truth, and above all, to recognize that we stand poised at the threshold of a new beginning, a new world order.

And it is up to us to write the script of this new order. We need to revisit and rewrite the mission statements of our infrastructures. Instead of them serving selfish needs, we need to redirect them to a greater good – to a divine and sacred cause.

Revolution is in the air. We need to ensure that it is directed to a spiritual awakening – a spiritual revolution that will create an internal transformation of our attitudes, that instead of seeing materialism as an end in itself we will see it as a means to G-dliness. A world filled with Divine knowledge as the waters cover the sea (see Maimonides end of Mishne Torah).

May this most recent tragedy be the last ‘yes again’ as we usher in a new era of unity. Let us demonstrate that we do not need any more breakdowns to realize that an old age is dying, and a new one is dawning.

Yes, revolution is in the air.


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