Watching the current controversy of New York State intervention of yeshivos, I can’t help but render my opinion on the matter. It is tough to muster any form of sympathy for my fellow New Yorkers who now find themselves in the bed of their own making. Now although I hope and pray that I am not paid back for my own sins in such a public and befitting manner, I do think it would be appropriate at this juncture for those responsible to at least take a semblance of responsibility and apologize for this situation.
It is interesting to note that these events have transpired during the weeks that we read about the story of Yosef and his brothers. In regards to the mundane, we should have learned a lesson from Yosef and Pharaoh’s cupbearer. The Chazon Ish points out that the reason why Yosef had to sit in jail for an additional two years was because he put his trust in a fool. While Yosef was the wise interpreter of dreams and head of the prison, the cupbearer was a sycophantic kiss up. The second he no longer needed Yosef, he forgot about him. The Chazon Ish continues and says that although it OK to ask for help, we should not grasp any straw and rely on unreliable people.
This very point is echoed in Pirkei Avos; we are warned never to trust politicians, for the moment they no longer need us they will turn on us. Unfortunately, not only do the Jews in New York ignore these lessons and advice, but they have been arrogantly acting like they are the ones in control of the politicians. For years, Jewish organizations and leaders have been endorsing fools and clowns. These people are almost always liberals who deny G-d and support the breakdown of morality and make common cause with our enemies.
These endorsements of course only come after they wave an Israeli flag once a year at a parade, or throw us some peanuts once in a while for textbooks, or perhaps new medical equipment for Hatzalah. Whether we agree with their politics or not, whether we agree with their viewpoints or not, it never made a difference. Like a babe suckling at its mother’s bosom, we became dependent, and declared, “They are our friend.”
As time went on, we started to ignore the fact that they might have supported the Iran deal. We closed our eyes when they marched with Linda Sarsour. And to add insult to self-inflicted injury, we even sent our own to help them accomplish their nefarious schemes. Every politician who wears a kippah on the city and state level showed up to wield the levels of government on the blue team.
And through it all, we patted ourselves on the back and held our heads high and said, “We tell them what to do.” But alas, this house of cards finally came crumbling down, and for once, New York Jewry got to see who was really in charge, and who has been working for whom this whole time. As we suckled, we worked for them, we endorsed them, we campaigned for them, and we voted for them. We helped put these liberals who don’t know G-d into power, until there was no one left to oppose them.
Even when we support President Trump, our leaders endorse candidates who run on opposing him. Even when we want to be able to carry to shul, we endorse candidates who run on gun control. We’ve been spending hundreds or thousands sending lobbyists to Albany for school vouchers only to endorse candidates who are supported by the teachers’ union. No sense of irony anywhere to be found.
We voted them in and the second they had the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature, they moved with lightning speed to dismantle our institutions and our way of life. And even now we scream, we cry, and we declare, “Who will save us?” without a hint introspection.
Do we turn to our former allies publicly and threaten to support a Republican next election? Of course not. If we did that, our “allies” won’t throw us a few thousand dollars for our food pantries and wave the Israeli flag at the next parade. Instead, we make ourselves seem like the victims of circumstances beyond our control.
Hopefully those rosh yeshivas and community leaders come to their senses at some point and realize the terrible mistake they made. A measles outbreak in our frum communities didn’t wake them up but maybe this will. Maybe they will throw off the yoke of dependence and victimhood, and they will reverse the tide of depravity and control, and bring about a golden age for the state of New York. Or they will find a way to get through this current crisis, vote for these people in the future, and fight these battles on a smaller scale from now on. Ultimately, the choice is theirs to make.