Naphtali Perlberger

Welcome Back, Orwell!

Don’t eat a big meal before turning on the news these days!  You are likely to get sick. Just this week — tens of Christians beheaded, a woman shot dead by ISIS because she was wearing a red coat in public, swastikas painted on tombstones in Europe and on garage doors in Wisconsin!  Another shooting spree, this time in Denmark — and characterized by the White House as yet another “random” attack. Iran nuclear deal – secret “free pass” to Armageddon. College campuses dotted with Anti-Israel and pro-Muslim placards — hate words all over the globe!  The phrase “Islamic terrorists” declared to be taboo. Orwell’s NewsSpeak in the 21st Century!

We are three decades past Orwell’s predictions of a world engulfed in perpetual war, double talk & propaganda.  Steps away, maybe moments away from the Thought Police.  For sure, “free speech” when practiced in the West and perceived to be satiric and disrespectful of Islam is answered by death and mayhem!  So paralyzed are we in the West that politicians and news anchors, like Stepford Wives, mouth the rhetoric that places the blame on We the People, not the murdering terrorists. If only we would be more sensitive and respect Islam, we could be safe from retaliation. They are let off the hook, and we have to hang our heads in shame!  What an upside world we live in and how we have left our reason and morality behind.

When I was a toddler in DP camps in Germany, I innocently asked my parents why we were behind barbed wires, deprived of decent food  and under guard, while the German people were walking the streets merrily engaged in their lives and singing in Brauhauses.  Only a toddler could ask such questions and be patted on the head.  The adults inside the camps and the military governors outside simply shrugged and justified it as political necessity. I am reminded of a classic scene in Judgment at Nuremberg comes when a general explains to the chief prosecuting officer that his desire to punish the Nazi judges should be tempered, because the real enemy was Russia and we would need Germany to defend against the Communist threat.

It is 70 years since the end of World War II.  Within the first half decade of that war, the State of Israel was born and fended off the consolidated attack of the Arab nations encircling it!  Now after several more wars, many more killings of Jews on the battlefield and on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, etc., what has changed?  Our sworn enemies are clear in their plan to drive Jews into the sea figuratively, and exterminate them actually.  The world is enabling Iran to develop nuclear capability — with its unflinching and unabashed declaration of its mission to destroy Israel . . . and the West.

70 years — there was another 70 year period in our history that echoes our own century.  It was 70 years after the destruction of the First Temple and the Exile to Babylon that we returned to build the Second Temple. That chain of events reached its climactic moment in the Purim story.  Haman, an Amalekite, convinced the all-to-eager King Ahasheverus to exterminate Jews throughout the 127 provinces of the Persian kingdom. G-d, however, had a different Plan. The tables were turned — Haman and his sons were hanged, the mobs willing to slaughter Jews were themselves vanquished, and Queen Esther, a Jewess, sat on the throne, giving birth to Darius, who would return the Jewish people to their homeland. It took the precipice of the abyss yawning before the Jewish people to cause them to turn to G-d and watch the miracle unfold, transforming disaster into victory!

We seem to be at such a precipice once again. Having lived among the ashes of Holocaust survivors, I thought — or should I say prayed — “Never Again!”  But, as Islamic extremism metastasizes throughout the world, and Anti-Semitism raises its head, not furtively, but brazenly out into the open, the passage of 70 years may be prophetic and be a clarion call for the Moshiach.  Light blotting out Darkness . . . we pray for, we call out to You, we turn to the only salvation that has ever been there for us — Hashem, we cry out for Ish Milchamah, as we did and experienced at the Splitting of the Sea, when Egypt was crushed by the waters and their chariots strewn on the edge of the dry land.

We cannot hope for human solutions — but, we must not refrain from human effort – hishtadlus – Mordechai had to enroll Esther and take action, we Jews had to cry out to G-d, before He lifted us out of the jaws of annihilation.  Educate yourselves — learn that Israel is our homeland and we have never been occupiers, and even when exiled, we remained — it is our would-be conquerors and exterminators who were and are the occupiers.  Learn that you are Jews to whom G-d bequeathed the Land, whom he chose to be a Light Unto The Nations, to whom He made an eternal covenant.  Stand tall and do not embrace the NewsSpeak, however loud and compelling, and from whatever side it comes.  Recognize that Anti-Israel IS Anti-Semitism. Know that we remain the default scapegoat for all ills in the world, and do not allow us to lose the War of Words.

Go back to your grave, Orwell, we don’t want the world you envisioned.  Arise O Israel!  May there be achdus amongst us and may our mission be Ahavas Yisroel.  If we believe and stand united, if we are strong in our resolve, we cannot be defeated!


About the Author
Naphtali Perlberger is a senior lecturer for AISH HaTorah and gives weekly shiurim at Chabad of Golden Beach and Aish Chaim of the Main Line. He is one of the founders and a past president of the Philadelphia Community Kollel. He is Founder & President of Philadelphia Chapter of Children of the Holocaust, and past FJA Chairman of Men's Organizations; past President of Kosloff Torah Academy; and, talk show host for a radio show, "G-d is Listening".