Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rabbi Lazer Brody: Winners and Losers

Hashem (God) is magnificently compassionate and infinitely merciful, but He wants us to get our act together. His messages are loud and clear - the skies are still iron-blue with no sign of rain, as the worst drought in our history continues. Traditionally, after a Shmitta (Sabbatical) year, we get bumper crops and double rainfall. This year, we have neither. This season's citrus yield is sparse and the fruit quality is way below par. Our sages teach that a lack of rain and sparse yields stem from a lack of emuna.

Friday night at about 8 PM, we heard an explosion to the east. After Shabbat, we discovered that a Grad missile fell in a field about a half mile east of Ashdod. The Red-alert siren was not activated. During Shabbat, more missiles fell in Sderot and surroundings as well.

Gilead Shalit is not yet home and Gaza weapons smuggling is proceeding full speed. Yet, the Israeli government claims they have won the war. Such is the self-deception of a non-emuna outlook.

This won't be popular, but my friends on the right of Israel's political map are also falling prey to the self-deception of a non-emuna outlook. True, Israel's left was smashed during the elections, but that doesn't mean that the right won, despite their euphoria. Here's how:

Ms. Livni, together with her scandal-ridden cronies that make up the Kadima Party, succeeded in garnering more mandates that Bibi and the Likud (28 to 27).

Mr. Lieberman and his Israel Beteinu party have an anti-Jewish agenda that would be readily digestible by the most extreme elements of Israel's left. Our estimation is that Lieberman would rather sit with Livni than with Bibi. Lieberman would easily give in to territorial concessions if he received civil marriages, instant conversions, and additional erosions of the religious status quo that his constituency wants. To make things stickier, there are now signals from the Obama administration calling for a Likud - Kadima coalition. Remember, Bibi had already agreed to surrender Hevron and huge chunks of Judea and Samaria back at the Wye plantation. He has a poor record of standing up to Uncle Sam; for that, you need emuna. So, from our estimation, it looks like Israel will get an anti-religious Centrist government with a ruling majority of 70 mandates (from a total of 120), that includes Kadima, Likud, and Lieberman. Even if Labor joined such a government instead of Lieberman, there would still be 68 mandates and even more readiness to make concessions. Time will tell.

Aguda has no reason to rejoice about their 5 mandates; demographically, they should have received 8. They lost one mandate to Shas, one mandate to Katzal'e and the Ichud Leumi, and one mandate to the Likud. Such is the result of infighting and narrow self-interests.

Bibi's war against Moshe Feiglin cost him at least 8 mandates, but showed us all his true colors.

True, the Knesset has been blessed with an individual of such personal integrity as Katzal'e. But, he and the religious right are not enough to guarantee the future of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel, territorial integrity, or the very Jewish character of the state. Our votes didn't do the trick. Our votes didn't rescind the drought or assure national security either.

What our votes didn't succeed in doing, our prayers can. So why don't people pray? Rebbe Nachman says that they don't pray because they lack emuna and don't believe in the power of prayer.

If you want to effect a change in Israel, then join us in an hour a day of personal prayer. Devote ten minutes to praying for our security, for the residents of Judea and Samaria, for the release of Gilead Shalit, and for rain.

The difference between winners and losers is prayer. When you pray, you always win in the long run. Have a good week.