By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz
Back in the day when we were fighting for the life and freedom of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, there were those who castigated us for our crusade. They said that he is a criminal, and he was indeed eventually found guilty in a court of law. “He is a felon,” they wrote. “How can you defend him? He’s a crook. Shame on you.”
We are not into conspiracy theories, but as we were following the story from the beginning, we saw that the hand of justice can at times be crooked. It can be used by people with an agenda to destroy someone who crossed them in one way or another.
We proved that was the case. His lawyers proved that the judge and prosecutors were in collusion, which is a common word these days, but back then, not everyone knew what that meant. Prosecutorial misconduct was proven, as were many oddities, mistakes and open bias in the case.
It was strange to many of us, because we were brought up to respect authority, the law, lawmen and agents of the court. We didn’t want to believe that the law and those who swore to uphold it had twisted it to destroy a man, his family and his business. There are still people who look down upon him and seek to prevent him from doing what he does, namely, traveling the world to speak about emunah and bitachon and giving chizuk to broken souls.
Last week’s congressional hearings into President Donald Trump and the Special Council who was appointed to investigate him was eye opening even to people who thought they know the game. And while the president is no Rubashkin and the stakes were much higher, the allegations that he colluded with the Russians in order to get himself elected president become more ridiculous by the day.
Democrats still have not gotten over the fact that the political neophyte who had never run for anything beat their prized candidate and was elected president of this great country in 2016. While he was yet a candidate, the FBI – yes, the holy FBI – worked with the Justice Department and the Democrat campaign to concoct a story that Trump was colluding with Russia and was guilty of other crimes. They sought to entrap people working on his campaign, as they compiled a dossier – whatever that means – of Trump’s alleged criminal and immoral behavior.
From the day he was elected, Democrats have been seeking to chase him from office, thus far to no avail. Working with old hands in the Justice Department, they had a special prosecutor appointed to get to the bottom of the Trump scandals. This man was promoted as the paragon of virtue, the most honest, straight, efficient lawman in the country. He had previously headed the FBI and had wanted to lead it again under Trump. He spent a lifetime in government and was heralded by all as justice incarnate. He was the epitome of wisdom and impartiality.
Democrats thought that somehow, this man, who was not even familiar with the report he himself submitted to Congress, would be able, in live testimony, to hit it out of the park and convince the entire country that Trump is the evil person he has been portrayed to be. From the hearings, they would march him straight to impeachment and then to the guillotine.
But that was when the jig fell apart. Under questioning by congressmen, he was shown to be slow and confused, with faint knowledge of the facts, doddering, and totally unable to answer the questions posed to him. The more the charade continued, the more it became obvious that the whole investigation and everyone involved in it were a farce. It was an abuse of power propped up by Clinton cronies, from the compilation of the dossier up until and including staffing and the council’s investigation.
It took someone as brash as Donald Trump to expose the scandal. Most targets of such campaigns capitulate and fear the outcome. The Justice Department wins 97% of its cases, and most often, the defendant pleads guilty rather than face the crush of veteran prosecutors and the FBI.
You don’t have to be a supporter of Mr. Trump or his agenda to acknowledge the truth of the legal case against him. Yet, after the national embarrassment of their strawman’s ineptitude played out for the entire country, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, facing a progressive primary opponent of his own, is pursuing his bid for impeachment of the president. He says that Mueller’s testimony clarified in greater detail than ever before that the president should be impeached.
Nadler said this week that the president “richly deserves impeachment. He has done many impeachable offenses; he’s violated the laws six ways from Sunday.” Nadler says with a straight face that Mueller’s report presents “very substantial evidence” that Trump is “guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The facts don’t count. For two years now, the people have been sold a sham tale of fiction, perpetrated by the power elite and the mainstream media people used to rely on for information.
Such is life in golus. Such is life in the alma d’shikra. It is sad to see that democracy, the vaunted form of government that has been so kind to our people and to hundreds of millions of residents here, is in danger of being taken over by corrupt bureaucrats and socialists. Our people have flourished here like never before, and some have even felt as if the messiah had arrived and brought the Jewish people to this land of plenty.
Rarely has this much corruption been exposed in this country. Never has a major party been taken over by socialists, anti-Semites and haters of Israel.
Reading the news is a reminder that we are in golus and the dangers that this represents. Everything that happens in this world provides a lesson for us in how to conduct ourselves and to seek improvement. Every story in every parsha of the Torah is there to teach us something.
As we are currently in the midst of the Three Weeks, when we mourn the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh, we must also concentrate on what we are to do to merit its return. With small gestures, we seek to impress upon ourselves the great loss as we aspire to reach the levels of our forefathers with a home for the Shechinah in our world.
Parshas Mattos recounts the voyage of the Jewish people throughout the desert and the stops they made along the way to the Promised Land.
Sifrei Kabbolah and drush are replete with deeper meanings and the significance of each station along Klal Yisroel’s journey through the midbar. They teach that the 42 masa’os correspond to the 42-letter name of Hashem, the holy “Sheim Mem Bais.”
The journey, with its forks, turns, hills and valleys, was necessary to prepare the nation for acquiring Hashem’s land, Eretz Yisroel. As we study the parsha and follow the journey, we must be attuned to the mussar and chizuk encoded here. As we recount the difficult times and the exalted moments, we find direction for the masa’os of our own lives as well.
We know that whatever happens to us in our life is a sentence in an unfolding autobiography. By now, chapters have been completed and many more remain to be written. We forge ahead to our destiny, neither tiring nor being satisfied with past accomplishments, nor becoming bogged down by failure.
None of us knows which of our actions will be the one that earns us eternal life. Something we say to someone today can have an impact years later. We can’t expect instant success and we must not be deterred by temporary failure.
We have many opportunities to act positively and put things into motion. Just like we invest money and understand that if there will be a payoff it will be sometime in the future, so too, when we invest in spiritual actions, we shouldn’t necessarily expect immediate results. We never know how our actions will turn out, but if we work lesheim Shomayim and give it all we have, we will have written yet another chapter in our book, made the world a better place, and brought us all one step closer to Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdosh.
A speaker can travel a great distance to deliver a speech. He arrives at the hall and it is desolate; only a few sleepy-eyed people showed up. But if the speech awakens a spark within even one of the attendees, that single person may be inspired to undertake a tremendous project several years later. The reward will accrue to the speaker long after he forgot what he thought was a wasted night.
Adam le’amal yulad. Man was created with the purpose of exerting himself towards accomplishing a goal. Each of us has to undertake masa’os, trips, toward that destination. Some are smooth rides, others are bumpier. There are many that are filled with “construction sites” and detours. Some people ride in a Cadillac and others in a Fiat 500. Whichever maso we are on, and whatever type of wheels we roll on, the common denominator is that we have to ensure that we never stop moving forward.
Since the churban, Jews have given of their spirit, blood and tears in a cyclical pattern of death and life. Some years were better, others worse. Sometimes, we have been fortunate, living comfortably and growing productively under the rule of kind masters. In other periods, millions died with the name of the Lord on their lips, alone and together, lined up at forest pits and in ghettos. They died sanctifying Hashem’s name, saying Shema Yisroel. The chevlei Moshiach swallowed them up, and in their merit we live and prosper in freedom.
The posuk states, “Tzion bemishpot tipodeh veshoveha betzedakah.” Let us seek out and perform true justice, for then we will be redeemed. Know to differentiate between true justice and the fictitious version all too prevalent in our day. We should seek to perform justice, to work to ensure that proper justice is done, that the righteous are rewarded and the wicked punished. Let us not permit the thief to be exalted and the victim faulted.
President Donald Trump exhibits a rare kindness to our people and to Israel. Just this week, on Monday, he freed a religious man from prison who was convicted in a case involving a regulatory minefield. Most of the trial was spent by his lawyers showing that he could not have known that what he dealt with regulated. In a verdict which justice authorities wrote “represents the worst kind of disproportionate sentence,” the man was found guilty and sentenced to a 20-year sentence. Numerous elected and former officials, along with the Aleph Foundation, reached out to the president and appraised him of the injustice and its repercussions on the man’s family.
The individuals who set out to help this man were mocked by others as wasting their time on a lost cause which nobody would care about. But they persisted anyway. Hashem rewarded their efforts. Of course, we should appreciate what the president did, using his power to restore life to the convict and his family, with no evident benefit for himself. His kindness should be noted and appreciated.
Rav Mordechai Pogramansky repeated that one time while he was in the Kovno Ghetto there was a major commotion and tumult. The city’s rov, Rav Avrohom Dov Kahane Schapiro, turned to him and said that he was jealous of the kohen who hid the jug of olive oil as the Chashmonaim were battling the Yevonim.
“Der umbakanter soldat, that unknown kohen, was blessed with the calmness of spirit and presence of mind to do what had to be done at the time of great chaos that ensued when the Yevonim broke through the walls. Through his action, in the time of chaos there was oil with which to light the menorah when the battle ended.”
Regardless of what is going on around us, no matter what our chances are for success, we must always remain calm and act intelligently. We must never lose ourselves and get swept up in the madness of the moment.
Always remain focused on the bigger picture.
Let us engage in righteousness and charity, so that we help strengthen kedusha and honesty in this world and weaken the koach hatumah, allowing Moshiach to reveal himself and bring about the geulah.