America Under Fire – “Gofris Eish V’timrosh Oshon “

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Americans have witnessed the most heinous and despicable terrorist act in its entire history as the Twin Towers came crumbling down to the ground leaving thousands dead and buried beneath tons of rubble in full view of millions watching it live as well as on TV. Not since the fall of the Biblical Tower of Bavel has such a large building been leveled to the ground. It looked like a mini reenactment of the destruction of Sedom and Amorah. Suddenly the vulnerability of the US to terrorist acts was revealed in all its enormous horror. Israel is no longer the only target of suicide bombers and New York City is no safer than Jerusalem. The terrifying roars of the crumbling buildings along with the shrieks, screams and cries of the innocent victims and onlookers, were drowned out by the echoes of cheering Palestinians in the background who turned the day into one of jubilation and victory.

Perhaps now Americans will realize the importance of taking the initiative and going on the offensive in destroying terrorism and not censure or condemn those who target them in an act of self-defense. Only now can they properly understand what Israel has been experiencing for the past ten years. All of a sudden, America realizes full well that not only must the terrorists be held responsible but also those harboring them must be held accountable. Perhaps this will help put an end to claims of moral equivalency and the wisdom of appeasement that claims that violence breeds violence. While we may know who actually sent these monstrous barbarians, the guilty parties include all those who spew forth constant hatred and promise their people a front seat in Paradise for killing innocent men, women and children. It’s sad that it must take a tragedy of such enormous proportions to learn such an obvious lesson. Maybe now America will apologize to Israel for condemning them when they destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor and give them an award instead.

While America responds to this tragedy with their Army, Navy and Air-force, we Jews must respond with teshuva, tefilah and tzedaka. We must use this opportunity to check our mezuzos which the Shulchan Aruch tells us insures that Hashem guards and protects us. Tzedaka tatzil mi’moves is not just a slogan but something that we must take at face value, increasing our contributions during these hard times.

While we may be able to destroy the masterminds who dreamed up this nefarious barbaric plot, we can never destroy the hatred and incitement that has been implanted into people’s minds. These madmen will continue with their evil schemes despite all the security measures we may now take. The world knows exactly where this cancerous hatred breeds and festers and has done little to stop it. The recent UN conference in Durban on racism was just another example of this hatred. It is supported by Muslim Fundamentalists in countries like Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and even Saudi Arabia, America’s ostensible ally. It is fueled by Arafat, Israel’s partner in peace.

We all know that there is no such thing as chance or coincidence. It’s not just a wake up call for America but a personal wake up call as well. The answers can be found in the Torah – just without the pictures – and were foretold to us eons ago. If we live by the Torah’s precepts then we have nothing to fear and will merit all the blessings contained within it. Let’s hope and pray that we usher in a new year of joy and happiness and u ‘mocho Hashem dima me’al kol ponim with the coming of Moshiach soon in our days.