Kenneth Cohen

Motivation to Act

There is a very common human character flaw, that is very difficult to overcome. This is the inability to act or be held accountable for our action, unless something dramatic takes place.

There are numerous examples of this in the Torah. Yosef’s brothers only addressed their grievous misjudgment of him, when they were accused of being spies in Egypt.

Many commentators believe that our slavery in Egypt was necessary, in order to mold us into a caring nation. We needed to feel the pain of being mistreated in order to better understand how to act in a moral fashion.

The slavery also taught the pain of being strangers in a strange land. And it taught what it felt to be impoverished and being forced to live in poverty, with bare minimums.

We are supposed to learn from reading of these incidents, and from the lessons of history, to choose what is right, and how to foresee future outcomes, based on this knowledge.

The Jewish people were shaken deeply by the horrific events of October seventh. What should have been known was not addressed, and many decided to live with the fantasy of being able to live in peace with our adoring neighbors.

That bubble has been burst, and we are acting on this, by trying to destroy Hamas. Hopefully, the post war conclusions will not be foolish and naive, and will address the reality that we were taught on October the seventh.

Israel will be okay, G-d willing. The concern is for the Jews of the Diaspora. Are they choosing to put their heads in the sand, and rationalize that things are not really so bad? Will it take, G-d forbid, another terrible jolt, until they do the sensible thing, and come home?

There are even government officials who have expressed open concern of another “9.11” taking place in America. Again, we fervently pray that there should not be the loss of innocent people. The Jews of the Diaspoa must wake up. You are no longer welcome outside of Israel. This is the reality. Don’t be foolish and wait for another sign. All of the signs are already there. Come home with your heads held high, and you will be embraced by your Jewish brothers and sisters. You must overcome that foolish human weakness of needing a jolt to wake up. We’ve been adequately jolted. Time for all Jews to come home!

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at