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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Light Shining in a Dark Place

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,  for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of G-d spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  (2 Peter 1:19 - 2:1)

Our Prophets are alive in our midst and must never be relegated to the relics of the past.  The words of the Prophets are inseparable from the words of the Torah and should never be evaluated as "historically and culturally significant" documents, mere voices from a past long gone.   The message of the Prophets is timeless and eternal (cf. Megilla 14a).

Our everyday lives can overwhelm us with its demands.  When our clarity and self-examination begins to fade, our Prophets stand at our side and become for us a source of spiritual fortitude and strength.  Our Prophets expose the lies and the deceit with which ignorance, indifference, and weakness seeks to deprive us of our most precious possession of life by falsifying it beyond recognition.  

Our Prophets lead us and pave the way for us: "Behold, I send My messenger, and He shall clear the way before me,"  (Malachi 3:1) leading to our salvation; they help remove the stones and rubble, the obstacles which hinder our proximity to G-d: "Lead upwards, upwards, pave the way, remove the stumbling block from the path of my people" (Isaiah 57:14).  Our Prophets heal the breach which separates "children from fathers, fathers from children" (Malachi 3:24).  This means simply: return to Torah.

The Prophets stand before us with the Torah in their hands, something we should never forget or ignore.  It is from the Prophets that we learn of the lofty ideals which the Torah seeks to teach us.  The Prophets present to us the Torah as incontrovertible evidence of Divine love (Malachi 1:2).  The Prophets stand at our side and gaze upon those who are no longer interested in what is pure and holy, who have nothing but scorn for the Torah, and who consider emancipation from G-d's Word the prerequisite for the happiness of mankind (cf. Isaiah 28).

The Prophets remind us of the curse which inevitably afflicts a life without Torah (Zechariah 5) as they hurry to protect us from the shipwreck of life.  Our Prophets prove again and again to be the Torah's most forceful and poignant interpreters.   The Prophets view the Torah in its entirety as being our great guide towards all that is good (Micah 6:8), towards total dedication (Habakkuk 2:4) and towards the search for G-d (Amos 5:4).  If we wish to be saved from the shameful compromise and from misinterpreting our own relationship with G-d and His will, let us attend to the words of the Prophets as a light shining in a dark place. 

All of this and more is what we glean from the Prophets - it is the Torah which we read with them.  This idea cannot be stressed enough.  There is not one single word, not a single thought, not a single concept that our Prophets have not derived from the Torah of Moshe.  Any attempt to read the Prophets any other way collapses under the weight of untruthfulness. 

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