Musings On Mishlei | Why We Need a Revolution | Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

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MUSINGS ON MISHLEI

Why we need a revolution

By Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a long discussion with one of our community’s well known and admired rabbonim. As is often the case, we found ourselves sharing insights into various issues that seem to be cropping up all around us. Many of today’s challenges are coming from what appears to be a growing gap between the generations. I know this has been a proverbial challenge throughout the generations of Golus. However, the current chasm seems to be larger and more intimidating.

“Lchvod Harav, I remarked, I think the nub of the problem is that we want our children to be from 1980’s, but they want to be in 2025.”  Generational gaps are the norm, but what we are witnessing is more like an abyss. Boundaries have disappeared faster than we seem to be able to keep up with, and technology has brought into young hands the dangers of a world that is beyond description. Our young are not spiteful; they are lost.

“There may be many houses built with grand trappings, but without the warmth of Yiddishkeit they will just become a skeleton…”

In Chapter 14:6 of Mishlei, Shlomo Hamelech shares some insights that are very germane to this challenge.

“The scoffer seeks wisdom yet there is none, but knowledge will come easily to an understanding one.”

We are in a difficult situation. Never have we had so much information, yet it is all so muddled. Youngsters seek wisdom, but the scoffers of the world cover it up and hide it behind mocking and foul language.

We want our children to see the world we inhabited, where things were not as complicated and there was a sense of intimacy between our Gedolim and the community. However, today our numbers have KA”H multiplied greatly and our young see their Rebbes behind a wall of Gabbaim and Askonim. Many have no connection with communal roots, and at best get a glimpse of our Torah leaders in the pages of magazines. Our yesteryears are beyond the experience of today’s talmidim.

So, scoffers lead the way, hearts are hardened and kedusha is distilled into online jokes. Our young are being crippled by all this noise and we need to give them back the freshness of Torah warmth and love.

“A heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger will share in its joy.” (14:10)

Our youngsters’ feelings and sensitivities are often concealed beneath layers of superficiality, causing their hearts to become numb. In quiet moments they feel the loss and the bitterness that bespeaks this emptiness. Tragically, this becomes so deep that others don’t see them for being the holy neshomas they are, and they feel they have no way to reach us.

Rebbes today have a difficult task: they have to become a bridge that will reach out to the young generation and offer them warmth in a way they will be able to hold onto.

Yesterday’s droshos won’t be heard today, not by youngsters who are getting their messages in two-minute sound bites.

In truth, our young are wired differently, and we must accept it. Much of the indolence we see comes from a place that is asleep, because these youth have never been challenged to connect with Hashem. Having ‘fun’ is something that has now become the goal for so many, as we sit on the sidelines with anguished expressions.

In earlier times youngsters went to work in their teens, starvation was a very real danger, and simple Yidden felt elated with the gift of a Shabbos that included some warm food. Boruch Hashem, those times are not returning. Our youngsters are in education until they are meant to be ready to marry, and today starvation can mean a breakfast without warm croissants.

Sadly, it is apparent that many aren’t really cut out for the intensive learning that is being asked of them and there is nothing creative for them to do. So, they sit in our mosdos, making a life for themselves which works around the schedule of the yeshiva, filling their hearts with activities that closely parallel those of the non-Jewish world around us. Drugs slip in, anti-social activities provide distraction, and anger wells up within their hearts. Some strike out and leave us, causing untold pain to all those who have loved them deeply from the moment they drew their first breath.

“The house of the wicked will be overthrown, but the tent of the upright shall flourish.” (14:11)

There may be many houses built with grand trappings, but without the warmth of Yiddishkeit they will just become a skeleton in which those inside live separate lives, each tied to their phone or some other distraction.

The home where Hashem is truly the paramount member of the household may seem materially bare and with no fancy embellishments, but it will always be alive with the sound of happy voices filled with a joyful life permeated with Torah.  The challenge is how to create an atmosphere that can make this a reality. Seforim shelves are top heavy with worthy tomes that address these problems. Our newspapers and periodicals are filled with endless pages covering these vexing issues. Yet, we have no clarity, no foolproof answers.

This is simply because no two souls are the same and we need to develop answers that speak to the individuals and not the masses. We need warm mentors coming from kollelim, we need all the efforts we once spent on kiruv rechokim to be turned towards kiruv kerovim, bringing our own back to their roots.

We need a revolution. There will be no single answer; each community, each rov, will offer their own unique response, and in this way we will see illumination.

As I have said, the subject is a difficult one. It should be spoken of openly and with sincerity. Not judging, just giving. This will make our homes resonate with the vibrancy of a heartfelt Yiddishkeit, and lead us all closer to the coming of the Moshiach.

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