Ask "what will be?" and you will have become a visionless person, roaming through life without a direction of purpose and meaning. Ask "what we are going to do?" and you will have become a participant of life, a good-doer, and a difference-maker, with a spirit of hope and a weltanschauung that can change the course of history.Rabbi Allouche
“What will be? What will become of our world?” someone asked me this week.
I understood where he was coming from. After all, the calamities we faced this week were, indeed, too painful to bear.
Just two days ago, 19-year-old Dvir Yehuda Sorek, was stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists as he returned to his yeshiva, alone in the dark, after purchasing books as gifts for his teachers. Dvir is being described as a “tzaddik,” a righteous young man, who was studying in yeshiva before beginning his IDF service. Tens of thousands of Jews who felt, as each Jew should, that their own brother had been murdered, attended his funeral last night in the settlement of Ofra, in Judea and Samaria.
And, as we all know by now, just this past weekend, at least 31 people were brutally murdered in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
After gathering my thoughts, I shared with my friend the known story about a meeting in 1974 between the late Lubavitcher Rebbe and Israel’s Chief Rabbi Lau. During the course of their conversation, the Rebbe asked Rabbi Lau what was the mood “in the streets of Israel,” as our nation was recovering from the devastating Yom Kippur War. Rabbi Lau responded that people are asking, “Ma i-ye, what will be?”
Upon hearing these words, the Rebbe grabbed Rabbi Lau’s arm and passionately replied, “Jew’s don’t ask: ‘What will be?’ Jews ask: ‘What are we going to do?’
How true. Asking, ‘what will be,’ has never been the Jewish approach. If Moses had asked ‘what will be’ instead of confronting Pharaoh, with alacrity and tenacity, and imploring upon him to “let my people go and serve G-d,” our nation may have endured many more years of slavery.
If Rabbi Akiva had asked ‘what will be’ in lieu of traversing mountains and plains to dedicate his lifetime to Torah, Mitzvot and the Jewish people, our leaderless ancestors may have succumbed to the evil decrees of the Romans, and the prestige of our people and its eternal values and life-transformative teachings, may have been reduced to fragments and ashes.
And if the great Lubavitcher Rebbe had asked ‘what will be,’ and not revolutionized our generation with the call of ‘what we are going to do,’ our parents may have buried ourselves in the sorrows of the holocaust and the indescribable pains of its aftermath, and allowed them to dim the light our souls and the buoyant spirit of our youth. And the examples go on and on.
“So, it’s our choice,” I answered my friend. We can join the sad choir of our world’s prophets of doom, and perpetually ask, “what will be?” Or we can choose to march to the empowering and cheerful tune of “what we are going to do?”
Ask “what will be?” and you will have become a visionless person, roaming through life without a direction of purpose and meaning. Ask “what we are going to do?” and you will have become a participant of life, a good-doer, and a difference-maker, with a spirit of hope and a weltanschauung that can change the course of history.
This Shabbat is coined the “Shabbat Chazon – the Shabbat of Vision.” The great Chassidic Master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev revealed that on this Shabbat we are each given the power to visualize the rebuilding of the Third Temple – even as we are about to mourn the destruction of the first two temples of Jerusalem, from Sat. evening until Sunday evening (see below for our inspiring program at CBT – all welcome.)
Individual challenges and recent news may, at times, threaten this vision. But we cannot allow them to silence the call of “what we are going to do.” And if we assume our responsibilities as G-d’s agents of goodness and light in this world, I can promise you, my friends, that one day, we will open our eyes, and we will see that we will have built together a splendid world, where Hashem’s presence is felt in its every atom.
So, I implore you — as thoughts of “what will be” may permeate our minds — to join our community’s and our nation’s good-doers and take upon yourself just one Mitzvah. Let us fight evil with goodness, hatred with love, indifference with positive action, and become the answer to our own questions.
For who knows? By doing one good deed, as Maimonides writes, we may be tipping our world’s scale of good and evil and bring for ourselves and the entire world, a full and complete redemption.
May it happen speedily. Amen.