Beit Midrash

  • Family and Society
  • Understanding Circumstances
To dedicate this lesson

The Blunt Truth


Rabbi Berel Wein

Last week I read two articles that caught my attention, stirred my blood and set me thinking again about our future. They were not about the Arab-Israeli dispute, not about the September United Nations session, not about so-called "social welfare" demonstrations in Israel. They were rather about the moral emptiness and malaise that has overtaken us as a result of the past sixty years of moral relativism, "humanitarian" behavior and a complete abandonment of the values and traditions of the Jewish people and its creed.

One article was authored by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of the United Kingdom. In reviewing the scenes that took place in England last month, the riots, looting and killings, Rabbi Sacks stated in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal: "Britain is the latest country to pay the price for what happened half a century ago in one of the most radical transformations in the history of the West.

In virtually every Western society in the 1960’s there was a moral revolution, an abandonment of the entire traditional ethic of self-restraint. All you need, sang the Beatles, is love. The Judeo-Christian moral code was jettisoned and in its place came: whatever works for you.

The Ten Commandments was rewritten as the Ten Creative Suggestions...The truth is that it is not their [the rioters’] fault. They are the victims of the tsunami of wishful thinking that washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality and self esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement....

[Society] needs religion; not as doctrine but as a shaper of behavior, a tutor in morality, an ongoing seminar in self-restraint and pursuit of the common good." Rabbi Sacks’ eloquence is only matched by the unerring truth of his message.

In a recent article written by Professor Dov Landau of Bar Ilan University and published in the Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon he stated as follows: (the English translation is mine, BW) "Against the false and media engineered public protests about the perceived lack of more government aid to a generation raised on entitlements, a greater demonstration should be mounted against the past sixty years of government leadership in Israel that has systematically destroyed the dream of the Jewish ages and that has supported and accomplished the complete divorcement of Israel from Judaism and its values and traditions and turned our country into an empty vessel for its morally impoverished citizens.

I and my friends, the last survivors of the Holocaust, see ourselves as the representative remnant of European Jewry. We can no longer remain silent. We state that in opposition to the self congratulatory elitism of the media and rulers of Israel, that is basically false and fabricated, that they somehow created the state and maintain it, the truth is that they have over the last sixty years of rule emptied our state of any purpose or morality and certainly of any sense of holiness.

They wanted to build a state like any other state in the world or as they phrase it "a state for all of its citizens." But for that purpose we need not have gathered here. We could be in Australia or Canada and there fulfill the "humanitarian" dream that so possesses our elitist rulers.

Rather we demand that the state should reflect the hopes and dreams of the millions who died. We had a dream that was common to all of us. We wanted to see a Jewish state, a state of Torah and tradition and instead we are given a state of boorishness and ignorance of Judaism and its value system. We wanted a return to Jewish judges and justice and we received judges and "humanitarian" justice, "enlightened", with inbred nepotism and egotism unlimited.

We prayed for a return to our holy places and we received abandonment of the Temple Mount to strangers and sworn enemies and created within our society informers and self haters. We prayed for righteous converts and we were given hundreds of thousands of non-Jews who are not interested in becoming Jewish.

We prayed for our and God’s return to Jerusalem and we were given "pride" parades...Even if the leaders of our state can continue to advance our economic welfare, our industrial base, our medical care, scientific research and hi-tech achievements, if they do not begin to repair our moral chasm and spiritual Jewish bankruptcy, the state will sink away in the whirlpool of anarchy, nihilism, violence and the selfishness of post-modernism and elitism....Our request therefore is to save us from this hell of post-modernism and give us and our generations a modicum of hope for our future."

Sometimes, the blunt truth needs to be told.
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