It is Darkest Before the Light Shines: Divine Grace Ushers in Peaceful Times

“…Surely…surely…there exists a common commitment to public service and compassion for those we serve…So with a healthy dose of humility and an appreciation for the scope of the challenges before us with your assistance and with G-D’s WILL we can make it happen!”
US Representative and HHS Secretary Nominee Dr Tom Price ending his opening statement at his hearing before the Senate Finance Committee
The week goes around in a dizzying swirl. Between our government, in the personification of it’s Chief Executive, and those who are protesting, agitating and fighting him every step of the way there’s little time to catch your breath. So much going on. Confirmation hearings which are quite confrontational. Executive Orders and Actions on an almost hourly basis. Press conferences and interviews which rock the boat, to say the least. Adversarial relationships between the President, his staff and the media. Journalists and actors having conniptions and media forcing us to watch it. And, so the merry-go-round spins round and round.
I’m not here to advocate for a side or who you should root for. I’ll keep my political opinions to myself and as usual will not advocate for anyone. It’s really beside the point. My point is that the the sheer excitement, anxiety and stimulation that seems to animate us in America today as well as governments and civilizations around the world is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Not even the Reagan presidency can measure up to the sheer offense and upending of all norms, good or bad, as we see today.
Perhaps, as King Solomon says, “As water reflects a face to a face so one’s heart is reflected back to him by another” (Proverbs 27:19). One can therefore discern why the stirrings of passion from either side is so strong. When there is a shake-up of monumental proportions one can expect push-back of similar vigor in response. It’s to be expected.
And, yet, through all the cacophony something took me aback and calmed me down. Something gave me pause, tranquility and a sense of continuity to our historical past. There was a respite in the visceral political skirmishes being fought daily in our Capitol. It reconnected me somewhat to heroic men and valiant revolutionaries of the distant past ready to give up blood and treasure on behalf of an ideal and an experiment which still endures today.
Whereas, I and many others were and still are worried that we’re cutting ourselves loose from our founding principles and, therefore, our unique place in history, I saw something that gave me hope and breathed vibrant inspiration into my soul again. We still have it! It is still alive! The ember still burns.
What? May you ask.
An abiding faith and trust in Al-mighty G-d and the courage to proudly say so in public and even in the halls of Congress. The place where so many NGO’s and legal firms have lobbied to eviscerate any mention of Him whatsoever. Comes a nominee, a doctor and a medical scientist, who is fully in-touch and enveloped in the disciplines that have been used to disprove and tamp down any enthusiasm for a Creator or His Intelligent Design, and bucks the trend.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an opening statement by a nominee in front of a Senate committee seeking their confirmation ending his statement with an outright acknowledgment of, and supplication to, our Heavenly Father. I was taken aback. We still have G-d-fearing men seeking to serve our nation. We still have men and women who enter into office with an abiding trust in Divine providence and will not be deterred or shamed into backing down by forces of nature, nature’s advocates and their natural instincts to ignore the Administrator of nature and our universe.
Then I also remembered that this happened once before. Way back when Moses met Pharaoh and delivered G-d’s message to him to, “…send out My people that they may celebrate with Me in the Wilderness” Pharaoh replied, “Who is YHVH (G-d’s Ineffable Name) that I should heed His voice…I do not know YHVH and will not send out Israel!” Not only did Pharaoh not acknowledge Al-mighty G-d and disparage such an assertion but he made clear no such request would be granted. To put an exclamation mark to it he added to Israel’s load and made life more difficult and dreadful. Israel cried out in anguish and pain but it didn’t help. Before the redemption, is the darkest period, just as the darkest time is before sunrise, and so the Jews suffered until Moses showed Pharaoh the error of his ways by ignoring the Creator of all Mankind.
America has been losing its way now for a while. We’ve been going down a rabbit-hole and allowing darkness and depravity to envelop us. Recklessness and lawlessness has reigned. “There is no law and there is no judge” (Midrash Rabba). This is the outcome of relegating G-d to nothingness. This lack of moral inculcation in the formative years of our youth makes all the difference in this generation that feels no sense of self-sacrifice and service but is embedded with a sense of self-entitlement. Whether it’s living in their parents’ homes, being included in their parents’ health insurance or dependent on their parents’ for their college tuition. Narcissism, nihilism and anarchism are direct results from a generation or two of political correctness, self-worth, self-pride and self-ego. There is no longer a sense of patriotism, self-sacrifice and service on behalf of nation and country.
When politicians quote JFK’s famous almost hallowed inaugural cry to “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” it’s really nothing more than meaningless rhetoric. Its quintessence seems to have faded away.
Why? Because G-d no longer exists. It is not a word we use or teach. We have eviscerated and evicted him from social culture and community life. Like Pharaoh we don’t recognize him anymore and as such we enslave ourselves and our fellow citizens to themselves and their passions. There’s nothing more exalted than that. When such is the case the result is chaos and anarchy.
No wonder you have some revolutionaries, like Moses and Aaron of old, who anachronistically raise the flag of G-dliness and Divine freedom but are vilified, shutdown and set aside. They must not be allowed to undo decades of slavery. To unshackle us from the government and its puppeteers who pull our chains!
Thus, the fierce battle continues and the vast array of forces aligned against any attempt to allow G-d back into our lives and to set us free are set into motion. It is not easy to raise ourselves out of the inertia of past decades.
But some bright stars shine forth in the firmament and become the beacons for us all. Like Moses of old some are not ashamed and are willing to stick their necks out as Moses did. To enter into the lions den and speak truth to power. To state clearly that no matter which side of the fence you’re on and whatever your political philosophy give praise and allegiance to the One who is non-partisan and Who gives us our subsistence in a bi-partisan fashion. When we acknowledge this, even when it is darkest, we can be assured the light is fast approaching and we will all see Divine blessings and beneficence in this great country once again.
About the Author
Graduate of the Rabbinical College of Greater Miami and Central Lubavitch Yeshivah in NY. Rabbi in Hollywood, FL leading its community as the Chabad Emissary and member of Florida Friends of Lubavitch for over 25 years. "Father and grandfather is something I'm most proud of and strive to get better."
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