Positive Vision - Day 40
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Day 40 - No Man Is an Island - Influencing Your Environment
The all-out assault against kedushah seems to be the nisayon of our generation. Seemingly, no other generation has ever faced the challenges we do with regard to shmiras einayim.
But why now? What's "motivating" the yetzer hara?
The Sheim MiShmuel notes that the final battle before Mashiach will be fought by the children of Yosef, with Mashiach ben Yosef leading the charge. Why? Because Yosef's most outstanding characteristic, that for which he is referred to as Yosef "HaTzaddik," is kedushah. And at the same time that he will lead the physical charge against the enemies of Klal Yisrael, he will lead the spiritual war as well.
The battle for kedushah is the final frontier. It is the last battle before Mashiach. It is not surpris- ing then that the yetzer hara is going for broke. Nothing is more dangerous than a cornered enemy, one that realizes it is now or never. Rambam rules that when Klal Yisrael lays siege to a city , they may surround it on three sides only. Meshech Chochmah explains that surrounding it on all four sides is likely to cause the inhabitants to become desperate. Without an escape hatch they will feel it is now or never, which will cause them to fight ferociously and lead to a calamitous battle with the loss of many lives . If one side of the city is left open and retreat is an option, they are not likely to fight as hard. Knowing that it is now or never, that this is its last stand, the yetzer hara is fighting with his entire arsenal to get us to fail.
Our experience in Egypt serves as a model for future exiles. Egypt was known as the most immoral place on earth, the "ervas haaretz") the nakedness of the land(. It was Yosef's inspiration and leadership in kedushah that preserved Klal Yisrael's kedushah all their years in servitude in Egypt. Hence, his kedushah will likewise help us in the final battle as well.
The sefarim write that not only in Yosef's case did his personal kedushah influence others but in fact, it is true for all of us. 6 Whenever any of us acts with kedushah, we create a ripple effect of kedushah to those in our environment. The effect is felt first with our immediate family; it emanates to our neighbors and colleagues, and finally reaches out to all of Klal Yisrael.
Perhaps the effect is mystical, but perhaps we can explain it logically as well. Each of us knows tumah for what it is. We have a natural revulsion toward it and are ashamed when we fail. Hence, when we see someone acting with kedushah, we admire him. We immediately recognize the correctness of his action and wish to emulate him. His kedushah has this positive ripple effect.
In any case, this much is clear: each person's battle for kedushah is not just about himself. It is about the kedushah of all of Klal Yisrael.
On the one hand, this is a huge responsibility; but on the other hand, it is an incredible opportunity.
For by being kadosh we are affecting the kedushah of the entire world, and hastening the Geulah!