As I glanced at the horrid pictures and read the banner headlines I somehow had this eerie feeling that it all sounded quite familiar and that I’d read about it quite recently only without the accompanying gory pictures. Only after racking my brains for a few minutes did I suddenly realize that we’d all just read about it in the past week’s parsha of Ki Sovo (See 28:49 — ” Hashem will carry against you a nation from afar, from the end of the earth, as an eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand; a brazen nation that will not be respectful to the old and will not be gracious to the young…. It will besiege you in all your cities until the conquest of your high and fortified walls in which you trusted….. “) All that is missing are the names, places, dates and vivid color pictures. All the rest seems right on target even though it was written thousands of years ago. It seemed as if today’s headlines were taken straight out of the Torah and predicted even before the invention of planes. In the Torah, planes are referred to as eagles since no one would have known what a plane was all about. The nation attacking from afar could easily refer to half a dozen countries that seem to harbor a burning hatred for the USA and all it stands for. The large and mighty fortifications that will come crashing down may perhaps be alluding to the two great Towers that stood as a majestic symbol of all that America stands for.
To understand what this is all about I suggest we reread the entire parsha very carefully and follow the advice given therein. If we still fail to catch on, then we can continue by studying the next few parshiyos that spell it out in greater detail. If it still makes no sense then perhaps “sh’al ovicha v ‘yagedcha, z ‘keinecha v ‘yomru loch”. “Zechor yemos olam, binu shnos dor vodor” (Parshas Haazinu 32:7). The Torah obligates us to learn from the lessons of history and apply these lessons to today’s times. Rashi points to the great floods that nearly wiped out the worlds population during the times of Enosh and the Generation of the Flood. While we have no prophets nowadays, their words echo on for eternity and anyone can leaf through their pages and see what they have to say. Their words are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago when they were first uttered. It’s all so very clear if we don’t look through distorted lenses or listen to today’s talk shows and the rest of the media that falsify and distort even today’s current events. One doesn’t need glasses to see but only a brain to understand. Only by looking into the past can we hope to understand what’s happening today.
Let’s realize that this is not just a wake up call for America but a personal wake up call as well. Chazal tell us that each person should perceive the world as perfectly balanced -half guilty and half innocent. Our one good deed can weigh the scale down and save us from disaster. That puts an enormous obligation on each and every one of us. One coin given to tzedaka can be that single deed that can save the world from horrid disaster.
Let’s remember, that while the US fights terrorism with its army, navy and air-force we must fight it with teshuvah, tefilah, and tzedaka!