The underlying purpose of everything that happens in this world is to refine us and bring us closer to Hashem. Suffering is not random or without spiritual cause. Individuals may suffer for many reasons, punishment being the most likely of several possibilities (see Brachos 5A), but when suffering is widespread, collective guilt is the only explanation.
Unfortunately, it is easy to delude ourselves and believe that we can overcome our individual and collective problems via man-made solutions, without divine intervention. The motivational speakers and “life coaches” – both of which are acclaimed in God-phobic Western societies – insist that we can achieve whatever we want through hard work, positive thinking, clever planning, and sheer force of will. God laughs at them.
Trying to solve problems on our own, without sincerely turning to God, leaves God no choice but to send a stronger message. This is so fundamental that it does not need to be “proven”. It jumps off most any random page of Torah.
Tehilim 90, which was composed by Moshe Rabbeinu, expresses this point clearly:
תשב אנוש עד דכא ותאמר שובו בני אדם
You return man to the point of being crushed, and You say “Return, sons of men!”
God knocks people down to size, returning them to the reality of what they are – and what they aren't. God does this to individuals, to nations, and, in due course, to the entire world. If they don't get the gentle wake-up calls, they need to be crushed. Either they return to God, or they return to the dust from whence they came.
It didn't have to be this way, but it seems inevitable at this point that much of mankind will have to be ground to the dust before they return to God. We must take comfort in the fact that everything is under control – God's control – and these seem to be the final painful birth pangs before the ultimate redemption.
Those of us who get the gentle wake-up calls will hopefully be spared the brunt of what must come upon the masses, who need to learn the hard way. We must share in the general suffering of our society, but if we trust in God and recognize what is happening, we should be shown special grace to carry us through these times.
Unfortunately it seems that the vast majority of people are still not getting the message at all. Instead of recognizing the futility and fraudulence of the medical establishment and turning to God, most “religious” people readily sacrificed their holiest places and practices on the altar of “science”.
We are surrounded by zombies in a world that has gone completely mad. The lies are increasingly preposterous, the truth increasingly clear, yet people just can't see it. How can we explain this?
As always, there is nothing new under the sun.
In the times of the first Beis Hamikdash the Land was rampant with avoda zara. That experiment never brought favorable results, and God sent increasingly painful messages to wake people up.
The following story appears in Sanhedrin 63B. In the times of Eliyahu HaNavi there was a terrible famine. He used to seek out those who were bloated with hunger in Jerusalem. One time he found a child who was bloated and abandoned in a garbage heap. Eliyahu asked him which family he was from. The child told him he was from a certain family. Eliyahu asked him if anyone remained from that family. The child said there was no one left except for him.
Eliyahu said, “If I teach you something so that you will live, will you learn it?”
“Yes,” said the child.
“Every day say Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.”
“Be quiet!” said the child. “Don't mention the name of Hashem!”
The child then took out an idol from his bosom, hugged it, and kissed it until he died.
Now we can understand why people are so obstinate about the idolatrous fake science of today. Just this week I heard of a doctor in Jerusalem who took the pseudo-vaccine and suffered a serious side effect, which he acknowledges was caused by the injection. Nevertheless, he continues to be a strong proponent of it, and looks forward to giving it to his own children. He doesn't have the slightest reservation!
The child who wound up starving on top of a garbage heap could not separate even slightly from the very thing that caused his predicament. On the contrary, with his last ounce of strength, with his last breath of life, he hugged and kissed that which destroyed him and his entire family.
This is what idolatry does to people. The doctor, and so many like him, are behaving precisely the same way. They put all their faith in the cause of their suffering, mistaking the gentle messages from Hashem as signs to double down on their idolatry. They sacrifice their connection with Hashem and loved ones to hug and kiss the idolatry of pseudo-science instead.
Even as they destroy their own bodies, they claim it is for the good of society. Even as society only deteriorates, they offer up more bodies to be destroyed.
If they do not learn the lessons the easy way, they must learn them the hard way. If they do not learn them the hard way, they will be crushed. At that point, either they will finally return, or they will be destroyed.
God is incredibly merciful. Even the best of us need a wake-up call now and then just to keep us in line. He gives us and our society many warnings and opportunities to turn around, to humble ourselves without having to be humbled.
Eventually, however, we run out of warnings, and the only option left is harsh discipline. People are being crushed. Society is being crushed. Mankind is being crushed.
Eliyahu HaNavi will come to herald the arrival of Moshiach. Long ago he offered a starving child an easy path to life: say Shema Yisrael every day. The child chose one last dose of idolatry, and was lost.
Let us cast aside idolatry in all its forms, once and for all.
Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.