March 9, 2022 by Lazer Brody
Maybe you’ve heard the classic anecdote of the man and the flood; here’s the unabridged version:
It rained for forty-eight hours straight. The water level had risen to the man’s front doorstep. A rescue-squad van with a loudspeaker drove through the neighborhood calling for everyone to vacate their homes. The team of rescue personnel was also offering assistance to those who might need help. The man didn’t budge. He was waiting for Divine assistance. There was no way that he’d accept a helping hand from flesh and blood.
The rain fell for another forty-eight hours straight. The diehard with the firm fake faith took refuge in an upstairs bedroom because the water in the living room was five feet deep. This time, the Coast Guard sailed around the neighborhood streets in a rescue boat. They were searching for all the diehards to vacate their homes. They too offered assistance to anyone who might need help. The head diehard still didn’t budge. He wanted Divine assistance, not a helping hand from flesh and blood.
The rain fell for six days straight. The water level rose to the second story of the man’s home, flooding the upstairs bedrooms. With no other alternative, he climbed up to the roof. By this time, he was the only one left in the neighborhood.
An Air-Force helicopter that was patrolling the flood area spotted him and hovered over his house. The pilot called from a loudspeaker, “This is the pilot speaking. I’m lowering you a winch; strap yourself in securely, and we’ll lift you to safety.”
The man on the roof gestured to the pilot to keep on going and yelled, “I don’t need your help; I’m waiting for Divine salvation!”
On the seventh day, the rain fell harder than before. The water level rose ten feet above the roof. The man swam for a few hours and then became totally exhausted, surrendering to the flood waters and returning his soul to his maker.
The diehard drowned with a smile on his face – “I trusted in Hashem until the very last moment and I didn’t accept a handout from flesh and blood.” In his final pipedream, he imagined his mansion in the sky somewhere in the neighborhood of Rashi and the Rambam…
The diehard had quite a rude awakening in the Heavenly Court. They threw the book at him for wasting his life for nothing. The condemned diehard protested, “But I didn’t want the help of flesh and blood! And what do you mean about me wasting my life for naught? If Hashem would’ve have wanted me to keep on living, He would have rescued me!”
A deep bass voice thundered from above. “Fool! First I sent you the rescue squad; then I sent you the Coast Guard. Finally, I summoned an Air-Force rescue helicopter especially for you. I – your Father in Heaven – dispatched them all!”
What an embarrassment.
Look at who Hashem is “dispatching” to jolt us out of our spiritual slumber. The Ukraine and Russia. When the war ends and the smoke clears, antisemitism will be worse than ever. Who always gets the blame for all the economic and health woes? The Jews of course. Especially, when Europe and the USA are already paying double for energy costs.
Thank G-d, a few hundred of Ukraine’s Jews have succeeded in immigrating to Israel this week. We hope that the number will reach at least 10,000 by the end of the month. War is not new, but Hashem has reasons for what He does. The Geula is so very close and Hashem wants us all to come home to our ancient homeland. He also wants us to cling to Him with real emuna. Until we do, the wakeup calls will simply become louder.
The Ukrainian Jews have more than enough to deal with now. We pray for their safety, welfare and successful Aliya.
What I’m about to say is not politically correct, but I’m duty-bound to say it. To our brothers and sisters in the USA, UK and Canada: Why wait until calamity hits your back yard? Aliya and teshuva are the order of the day, Both require strengthening emuna, with no delay.
Hashem wants to get the full redemption of our people on the way. He wants us here in the Land of Emuna. He wants us learning emuna and living emuna, and there’s no place on earth for emuna like Israel. Don’t take my word for it; our sages in tractate Ketubot had lots to say on the subject.
I can’t count the times when I’ve heard from Israelis, “When Hashem wants me to do teshuva, He’ll let me know.” Many of my beloved brothers outside Israel sing a similar tune: “When Hashem wants me to make aliya, let Him first send me a plane ticket, an apartment, and a job.” That’s just like the diehard on the roof.
None of us would do anything without an express purpose. Why do we think that Hashem does random things around the world, all for no purpose? At the time of this writing, there’s still time to do teshuva and to make aliya. Let’s not wait until the raging water reach roof-level. Come on home. Maybe you’re in a circumstance where you can’t leave where you live right now. Perhaps you have an elderly parent, joint custody of your children or some other circumstance that won’t let you get on a plane. That doesn’t exempt you from praying with all you’re heart. Repeat what we say 3 times a day in the Amida: “Hashem, sound the great shofar for our freedom. Raise a banner to gather our exiles, and bring us together from the four corners of the earth into our land.” May it happen, speedily and in our days, amen!
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