March 15, 2020
The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote this past Tisha B'av, August 11:
“There are only two reasons why Jews will return to Israel: inspiration and desperation. Roughly half of the Jews in the world are already here, primarily because of inspiration. The rest of you will return eventually, one way or another, because that is the destiny of our people. It would be far preferable if you will return because of inspiration, but if you won’t do it for any other reason than desperation, that can be arranged.
Just consider what life in your foster home of choice looked like last Tisha B’av compared to today, just one year later. Even in America, the last stop on the train, the last year alone has seen the following: open anti-Semitism from the Wicked Witches of Congress the likes of which we have never seen before; normalization of open anti-Semitism within the Democratic party, major media outlets, and college campuses across the country; a surge of anti-Semitic attacks in Brooklyn and other major Jewish communities; multiple mass shootings in synagogues; Jews across the country getting used to the fact that their institutions require armed security and members require training to respond to attacks. All this in just the last year!
The country can no longer unite on even the most basic issues, like whether they should have borders, or babies should be allowed to live even after they are born, or whether America is good or evil, or whether the Constitution should be rendered irrelevant, or whether there should be celebration or disappointment if it turns out the President was not a Russian agent. Is America even a country anymore, or just a bunch of groups who loathe each other and are itching for a fight?
Maybe you would still be shocked if sometime in the next year we have a Kristallnacht in America, but I wouldn’t.”
Here we are just a few months later, and the America of Tisha B'av looks like Gan Eden compared to the America of today. Galus Jews – many of them extremely religious and devout – are desperately clinging to the belief that somehow this is all going to blow over and they can return to business as usual. Their faith in Galus continuing to tolerate them while they have a detached interest in Jewish destiny is rivaled only by their belief that moving to Israel “isn't for them”.
My brothers and sisters in America, please listen to me. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the life you knew in Galus is over, and it's not coming back. You need to come to terms with this. Your lives are in real danger.
Even before the Corona virus became a serious problem, the situation in America was rapidly deteriorating. Criminals in New York have been emboldened by drastic changes to the law, allowing them to commit serious crimes and quickly be released back onto the streets. The police have themselves become targets, and have little incentive to risk their lives confronting criminals. On the national level, the country is more divided than ever before in its history. The Civil War, as bad as it was, was primarily over slavery and a few related points of contention. Today the country is polarized over every issue under the sun, including the very foundations of the country. The rift is irreparable, and Jews are front and center in every controversy and scandal. The Goyim don't need a reason to hate the Jews, but they don't have to work hard to fabricate reasons today.
Now the Corona virus is on the verge of devastating America. There are still those who are pooh-poohing everything, just as Jews pooh-poohed the death camps even as they were being led to the showers. That will change. Just a few days ago, everyone was saying it's just a flu and making fun of people for overreacting. Now they are davening like it's Yom Kippur, but they are neglecting to say Vidui. Yes, it's that dire.
If they are lucky, it will still be a few weeks before there is an explosion of seriously ill people in the country and the hospitals are completely overwhelmed. Most likely it won't take that long. Quarantines and lockdowns are going to become more severe, and will probably need to be enforced by martial law. The stock market won't be able to be pumped up with helium anymore, and there will be an economic crisis unlike anything we've seen before.
The average American didn't have a few hundred dollars saved up for an unexpected bill before the virus hit. A large portion of the population is about to be completely wiped out, if not by the virus then by financial ruin.
In the past when there were wars or financial downturns, Americans could escape their troubles by turning to their religion, sports and entertainment. Unfortunately, their god has been slain. No longer can they paint their faces, go to a ball game, and howl for a few hours to relieve their stress. No longer can they line up for the latest movie about a fantasy world or the end of this one to take their mind off their problems. They can't even go to a bar and enjoy a few drinks with their friends.
When a Jew is quarantined or otherwise separated from his leisure activities, he will pick up a sefer, listen to a shiur, learn with a chavrusa, or simply pour out his heart to God. What do you think tens of millions of sick, scared, bored, frustrated, broke, angry, armed Americans are going to do? Pick up a Bible? Binge watch Netflix for days on end?
The Goyim have been split across all racial and political lines for many years now, boiling with anger, itching for a fight. Now their world is about to come crashing down on them, and it's going to be every man for himself, every tribe and gang for itself. This is not going to pass peacefully.
Meanwhile, the Jews generally have a higher standard of living, they are not armed, they don't fight, they are not in shape, everyone knows where they live, and they hate you anyway. I know you defiantly proclaim “Never again”, and some of you took krav maga lessons, and a few of you even started carrying a gun. How long do you think you will be able to hold them off, Rambo?
The police are not going to be able to protect you, and many of them won't want to. Despite all the outreach you do and appreciation you show, many of them don't care for you at all. Even the good ones might be ordered to stand down to “deescalate tensions”, or they might be unwilling to risk their lives when the riots get out of control.
Rav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal writes in Eim Habanim Semeicha that when Jews choose to stay in Galus for their money, eventually Esav takes away their money anyway. Esav is going to need a lot of money – and food, and medicine, and basic supplies – very soon, and they are going to do whatever it takes to get it. When they are finished ransacking and looting the stores like Black Friday on steroids, they are going to think about who to target next. It won't be the Italians.
I am not a prophet, but we have been through this enough times in our history that it's easy to predict how this plays out. The next time a good Galus doesn't turn into a bad Galus is going to be the first time in history that happens. Those of you who think you will be the lucky exceptions are deluding yourselves and endangering your lives.
The cost and difficulty of returning home is going up with each passing day. It is still possible, but you need to act extremely fast and be willing to rethink all your priorities and assumptions. You stayed for your money. Soon you will gladly give away all your money for shelter. You stayed for your job. Your job will no longer be relevant. You stayed for your education. The schools are closed. You stayed for your community. Your shuls have become fortresses and are now closed. Whatever you stayed for is being taken away from you, because you are not supposed to stay there anymore. You need to come home.
I know that very few people are going to listen to me. Probably no one will listen to me. That is not my responsibility.
As I said before, there are only two reasons why Jews will return to Israel: inspiration and desperation. I fear that many Jews will not return at all.
If nothing else, make up your mind right now that you are fed up with the Galus, you want nothing more to do with it, and you intend to come home, even if you have to just figure it out when you get here. Pray to God that He reopens the gates long enough to make the return a little easier, and promise that you won't be seduced by the charms of your step land anymore. Maybe that will be enough of a merit to save you.
The Galus has served its purpose and no longer has a purpose for you. Thank them for the good times and come home where you belong before it is too late.
[Note: See follow-up post regarding censorship by the extreme leftist Times of Israel. They have been semi-regularly censoring my writing, and they refused to publish this on their blog with the following incomprehensible excuse: "This post is not accepted for publication – it was already accepted and published, albeit in a different form. That variance in form does not change that as far as TOI is concerned." When I objected, they terminated my blog.]