אשריך ישראל מי כמוך עם נושע בה' מגן עזרך ואשר חרב גאותך ויכחשו איביך לך ואתה על במותימו תדרך
Fortunate are you, Israel! Who is like you? A people saved by Hashem, your shield of help, your sword of pride. Your enemies will deny to you, and you will tread on their high places. (Devarim 33:29)
The Chafetz Chaim explains this with a parable. A heavy war is raging. The missiles are falling like rain, and the war seems to have no end to it. The soldiers are weary and losing their will.
Their general observes this, and during a lull in the fighting he comes to strengthen them. “Remember that you are fighting for the king and his crown! When you defeat your enemies and your king goes out in victory, how much wealth and honor he will give each of you, for you are risking your lives for his sake.”
Of course, the Chafetz Chaim continues, the general of the other army is giving his soldiers a similar pep talk, and it is uncertain who will prevail. The encouragement of the generals is illusory; no matter how hard they fight, one side is destined to lose, and the soldiers will receive little to nothing for all they sacrificed.
This is what Moshe, the great general of Israel, who knew the future until the end of days, is coming to tell the Jews. We are fighting a war for the sake of Hashem, and we will definitely prevail. How fortunate we will be and how great our portion at that time! The generations in which the war is more difficult will receive greater reward accordingly, for they are sacrificing for their king that His name should not be profaned. Even during the most difficult periods, Hashem is our shield of salvation, without which we could not possibly have survived this lengthy, difficult war.
Who is to say if this period is more difficult than previous battles? Each has its own challenges. We were chosen to be here now and fight the battle of this generation.
Many of those who were close to us have become distant. Friends and neighbors have betrayed us. Family members rage at us or coldly push us away. The evil people in power spend their days devising new ways to persecute us. They want our bodies, our souls, our children. They want to destroy our livelihood and make us utterly dependent on them. They want to enslave us, and if we are useless to them or troublesome, they want to murder us “for the greater good”.
Everywhere we look we see masked zombies, walking dead, cowards, defeated souls, cold-blooded monsters in black uniforms ready to pounce on a hapless victim. How can we continue to fight? How can we possibly win?
Maybe we should let them inject us with their crap and just get it over with. Maybe we'll be one of the lucky ones. Maybe we'll have a few good years. What's the difference anymore? At least they will leave us alone for a little while.
Moshe Rabbeinu in his final message to the Jews is giving us a critical pep talk. Not only is it possible that we will win, there is absolutely no doubt. We have no choice but to keep fighting another day, another battle, no matter what. Even if they manage to kill us, God forbid, it is only a temporary physical death before the ultimate day of reckoning. The Jewish people will live on, and we will live on with them. God will save us, we will win the war, and it's going to be the ultimate victory party.
What pep talk is the other army receiving? A brief respite before they change the rules again and begin the next round of persecution? The right to flaunt the rules with impunity? A prestigious job at a government agency? Stock options? A promise to be spared when they purge humanity of all the undesirables?
All of it is vanity and fleeting self-gratification. The soldiers in this army are motivated only by greed and fear. They have no allegiance to their dark masters nor to one another. They live in constant fear of exposure, betrayal, rebellion, and what awaits them after their short joyride in this world. They are a dreadful, miserable bunch, and their fall will be spectacular.
Our pep talk is not a mind game to keep us going; it's the real deal. Have you been betrayed by friends and loved ones? Are you facing unemployment? Are you surrounded by jerks? Did a mentally ill person in a mask yell at you? You faced all this, you know what they want to do with you, you have nothing, and you're still fighting God's fight?
Your King knows who you are and everything you've done for Him. He will reward you like only He can, and it will be worth it beyond anything we can imagine.
Fortunate are you, Israel! Who is like you? A people saved by Hashem, your shield of help, your sword of pride. Your enemies will deny to you, and you will tread on their high places.
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