Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"You are the minority!"

The observance of Chanukah commemorates the victory of the minority over the majority.  Those  who are committed to walking in His ways and dedicated to the promulgation of the truth, will inevitably find themselves in the minority.

Under what circumstances must the minority yield to the majority?  Only when both the minority and the majority are committed to standing firmly together on the same foundational principles of what is  true and right.  However, the majority frequently refuses to stand with us upon the same foundation and seems more committed to undermining those foundations at every opportunity, thereby forcing us to heed the Biblical injunction: "Do not follow the majority to commit evil!"

It is often the case that a victorious majority is more likely to be the first to become unfaithful to its own cause, as it is easier for the majority to imagine that its victories are due solely to the numerical superiority of its supporters.  By contrast, it is the spiritual and moral value of the cause which compensates the minority for what it lacks in numbers.

And so, we can expect the majority to relentlessly and tirelessly assault and browbeat the minority into submission.  However, we should never despair and never give in, but rather view and use these attacks as opportunities to strengthen our resolve and redouble our commitment to the truth over and over again, until we are no longer intimidated or seduced by the siren call of the masses with their superior numbers, power, and material advantages.

The minority also understands that the triumph of the truth is not dependent upon the number of its faithful adherents.  So what if our dogged adherence to the truth means that we become objects of derision and scorn?  So what if faithful adherence to the truth means hardship, sacrifice, and isolation?  It may mean that only a minority will persevere, but this minority will eventually receive the reward due those who are determined to champion and to adhere steadfastly to the truth with every fiber of their being.  

No matter how treacherous the times become for the minority in the days ahead, no matter how numerous and difficult the trials, no matter how precipitous the mountains which lay before us, we will prevail as we recall and take to heart the words which are traditionally read at this season: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit" (Zech. 4:6), words which serve to remind us of the triumph of the minority over a seemingly invincible majority, a majority who foolishly imagined that  victory was inevitable due to their power, influence, and sheer numbers. History repeatedly demonstrates otherwise.

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