Thursday, December 15, 2011


Last week's Haftora was the whole book of Ovadia. It's actually the shortest book of the Prophets, it's only one chapter but so fundamental. It's no wonder that it is a book by itself because it packs in the one chapter the whole history and future of the Jew among the nations. What has and will happen and what we can do about it.

It talks about Edom (Eisav) and prophecies about Rome. And the similarities or rather, exact mirror, to what we are now seeing in the US and Europe is striking.
The moral breakdown of Edom, Rome and now the Western World (all in the name of humaneness, mind you) was the cause of their downfall. Along with their arrogance and disregard for their allies and citizens.

But the main message and opportunity for us is the necessity for us to rise up to our responsibility and ability to be a proper example of Torah and moral values.
(It’s not an accident that this message and that of Chanuka is so similar)

What may seem to be a horrible thing may just be our opportunity.

Toward the end of the Haftorah is the famous verse, 18, "And the House of Jacob shall become a fire and the House of Joseph a flame (which will come out of the fire), and the House of Eisav will be straw. And they (the flame from the fire) will light up the straw and consume it. And there will be no remnant of Eisav."
Rav SR Hirsch points out that the House of Joseph always refers to the part of the Jewish Nation which is more assimilated and not so connected to the Torah. And yet it is their "flame" which will go out and light up Eisav.

Rav Hirsch says ," Does it mean to say here that even those descendants of Jacob that have assimilated and been estranged from Judaism still have a strong enough "fire" alive within them with a spirit of justice, humaneness and love that even in the midst of the Eisav world they will be able to prove themselves to be the "flame"?
Never discount anyone, never belittle anyone's "observance" or passion. Least of all your own.

Anyone can be that "flame" to rise up and accomplish to overpower the corrupt Edomite or Roman principles that govern.

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