As soon as I got off the plane at the start of my recent trip to the USA, I received a call from a family very close to me in Chicago. They told me about a chain of antisemitic crimes in their neighborhood, one very close to their home. They were visibly and understandably concerned, especially for the welfare of their children.
For Breslev Israel and yours truly, St. Louis is one of our favorite cities and a bright star of emuna on America's Midwest map. Just this week, the historic "Chesed Shel Emet" Jewish cemetery there was terribly vandalized. Meanwhile, Jewish Community Centers in a dozen different US cities have received some sixty bomb threats recently.
It certainly seems that a tidal wave of antisemitism is in our faces lately. The question is, is this a new epidemic of Jew-hating on the rise, or simply old business?
It depends who you ask.
We don't believe any of the above sources, for they all ignore the emuna factor.
What do I mean by the emuna factor? The emuna factor is the only key to understanding the events around us, whether on a personal scale or on a national or international scale. The emuna factor tells us three key spiritual facts that underlie every event or occurrence in the universe; they are:
- Everything comes from the Almighty - the Rambam says in the 1st of the 13 Principles of Faith that, "He alone did, does and will do every deed."
- Everything the Almighty does is all for the best - there is no exception to this rule, whether or not we understand (See both The Garden of Emuna and The Trail to Tranquility for elaborate explanations of this point).
- Everything the Almighty does is all for an explicit purpose - no occurrence in the universe is random, happenstance or fate; it's all the result of precision Divine Providence down to the tiniest detail.
Now, let's apply the emuna factor to the current wave of antisemitism in the USA. We see that everything is coming from the Creator; He is using the free choice of the Jew-haters as an alarm clock to make American Jews stop and think that Jews can only trust in Him and not in their host country, despite their house with the swimming pool and tennis court in Great Neck or their posh 42nd floor condo overlooking the Atlantic in Miami Beach. Intrinsically, a Jew is no more safe in Monsey or Lakewood than he is living in Sderot or Gush Etzion. Hashem is reminding American Jewry that they need Him, not the ADL or any other activist organization.
The good news is that this wake-up call has been devoid of any bodily injury, Heaven forbid. The Almighty simply wants to arouse American Jews from their spiritual slumber. Glatt-kosher delis and pastry shops aren't what He's looking for. Hashem wants all of us to strengthen emuna. When we wake up in time, He won't need to send any louder wake-up calls.
Consequently, whether antisemitism in the USA is on the rise or whether it's old business is a moot question. The real question - the one that the future of the Jewish People depends on - is whether the Jews of America - and the Jews of Israel - will cast their eyes to the Almighty for salvation and not put their trust in all types of organizations and political leaders who really could care less about anything than their own padded seats. For that reason, as long as anyone worries about strengthening him/herself in emuna, he or she has nothing else to worry about, especially antisemitism, which is no more than a stick in the Almighty's all-powerful hands.
My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush told me emphatically to make he following promise in his name: anyone who helps us spread emuna will be guaranteed Divine protection against any calamity, including antisemitism in the USA. If you'd like to help us to spread emuna to your city, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The light of emuna will readily disperse the darkness of evil.