5 Shvat 5781 / Monday, January 18, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
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The Second Flood    

The Second Flood

We find ourselves in the midst of another flood, and we are faced with a critical choice in order to deal with it correctly…


I don’t think anyone ever saw the story of Noah and the Flood the way we are all experiencing it this year. 


This is literally another type of Flood, which has sent the entire world into confusion and is literally destroying the world, just like the flood of Noah. The next “wave” of the flood is already upon us, spinning the world into more lockdowns and closing each of us into our own personal “ark” for an unknown period of time.  


In fact, there are even sources that say that before Mashiach comes, another flood will come to the world – but this time, it will be a flood of plague, instead of a flood of water.   



The Deepest Hole 

What we truly lack more than anything is real leadership. We need leadership that won’t only give us restrictions and all sorts and forms of rules and regulations. We need leadership that will enable us to look at the entire sordid picture properly, and will teach us how to relate to it correctly so that we can fix the situation at its root – not just put on band-aids 


Such a leader was lacking during the Flood as well. Although Noah was saved, the Holy Zohar pins the blame on his failure to lead the generation and go out to teach them the correct path. The Zohar goes so far as to call it, “Noah’s Flood,” since in a real sense his failure to lead the generation, teach them and pray for them directly caused the destruction. If Moses, the pillar of prayer had lived in Noah’s generation – there would not have been a flood!  


This Zohar is extremely strong, but the strongest statement made in this section of the Zohar is that whenever there are harsh judgments on the world, Hashem Himself is upset and in His suffering says, “Oy for this generation, that someone like Moshe isn’t alive to cancel the harsh decrees.” 


If this is true in every generation, then how much more so is it true today! How much do we need to beg Hashem to bring us a righteous leader like Moshe who will enable us to know how to get out of this mess, and not stop praying until the decree is cancelled! Truly, this is the greatest suffering of all. 


However, we have the holy Torah. We know how Moshe Rabbeinu dealt with all the difficult situations that the Jewish people faced. It isn’t hard to figure out what he would do if he was here with us now – and therefore, what each of us needs to do in order to follow in his footsteps. 



Like the Face of the Dog 

The first crucial element needed to deal with any situation, is to recognize the key players. 


The Gemara says that the generation before the coming of Mashiach will be “like the face of a dog.” One interesting thing about a dog is that if someone comes and hits it with a stick, it will bite the stick – without considering who is wielding the stick. 


Truly, this is the most foolish thing! The dog should attack the person hitting him, without paying attention at all to the stick, which is just the means being used by the person to hit the dog. 


In looking at the Corona virus as an entity with its own power to infect people seemingly at random, but which is truly just a stick being wielded by the Almighty G-d Himself – we act just like that foolish dog! 


Where is our emuna? We are all forgetting ein od milvado  there is nothing besides Hashem! G-d is the judge over the world, and He decides every single thing that will happen in this world. Everyone and everything else is just His messengers, willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly. Don’t speak about the virus – speak about Hashem! 


All this talk about doctors, research, vaccines, governments, regulations, opinions, what is true and what is lies, who is doing what and why, etc. etc. is all just a huge lack of emuna! In fact, it’s the aspect of heresy, kefira. One of the foundations of emuna is: No one can do anything good for you, or anything bad to you, if it was not already decreed by Hashem! 


There is no virus. There are no governments, no Prime Minister and no President, and no police and no Ministry of Health. No nature and no chance. Add to the list to your own liking. The point is – these are all just Hashem’s sticks. Hashem is wielding these sticks and making them do what He wants. Or in other words – they are just puppets, and G-d is the ultimate Puppeteer. What they do is what Hashem wants them to do, and even if they want to do something different for good or for bad – if it isn’t G-d’s will, they will not succeed! As the verse says, “Many are the thoughts of the wicked, but the advice [decisions] of G-d – that is what will stand [in the end].” 


So now you are faced with a choice! Live in the chaos, live in heresy, and see all these sticks and puppets as if they have power – which means to choose to live in Gehinnom, in a self-made hell of fear, anxiety, depression, helplessness and more - or go up to the World of Emuna, see only Hashem, trust only Hashem, fear only Hashem – and live in Heaven on Earth, even in the midst of the pandemonium!  


Don’t point fingers at the government and its leaders, nor the religious Jews, nor the protesters, or whoever else and say, “It’s their fault.” It’s Hashem’s fault! And He, in His wisdom, in His infinite love, in His mercy is just creating and running all these puppets for very good reasons – which happen to be currently unknown to us. How can you speak day and night about corona – and ignore the reality of G-d Himself?! 



The Real Cause and the Real Cure 

Therefore, before everything else – we must learn emuna! And we must pray for a leader who will teach it to us. It’s true that there are some practical actions that we must take, but this is just a small part of the larger picture. The most important part of the picture is to know and believe that all of it is only Hashem. 


Once we recognize that, the next step is to examine ourselves and repent, do teshuva. What is Hashem telling us that we need to do? How do we need to improve? Hashem is sending some serious wake up calls, and we need to listen before they get even louder! 


Even more importantly – where are the leaders we do have in this important process? 


The Rabbis of all different levels and positions, in the community, in the synagogue, etc. – your job is to teach the people about Hashem and His Torah. Your job is not to teach them about hishtadlut  practical actions. Does it seem acceptable to you that G-d did all of this just to teach us to wear masks and wash our hands multiple times a day? Could there be anything more foolish? Sure it’s all importantbut the really important thing is talking and focusing on what G-d wants from us, and what the root cause of all of this is! 


If you want to solve problems – solve them at their root. 


Don’t leave yourself just talking about the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Health – talk about returning to the rules and regulations of G-d Himself! 


This is the root of everything, because there is no suffering without sin. Certainly, when we all wake up to this reality and start truly returning to Hashem, then we’ll cancel all the suffering, including from this virus, because once you do teshuva the sin is erased, and that means that so is the suffering! Hence, by waking up to the messages G-d is sending us, we can fix the problem at its root. 



A Direct Request 

Since anything that we want to achieve requires prayer, then the most important thing is prayer! Prayer, and specifically personal prayer, is like meeting the big manager, and putting in a direct request for what you need. The big manager can explain everything to you, and even give you a raise and a bonus. That’s why Moshe Rabbeinu never stopped praying until he was answered – even if, as in the case of dealing with the aftermath of the Sin of the Golden Calf, it took 40 days and nights of straight prayer! 


The Jewish people have managed to overcome so much because of their emuna. Also in this case,  emuna  and  prayer  aren’t just the recommended way to manage the situation – it’s the only way. 

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