The prophet Ezekiel foretells that there will be a time when the Jews will say they no longer want to be God's chosen people.
Tragically, this prophecy is coming true today. In Israel, most of the country is trading Westernism for Judaism. And in the Diaspora, the rate of intermarriage is 70%.
Those of us who appreciate what it means to be Jewish are responsible for the situation of our people.
The Jewish people are one unit. The spiritual health of our nation is affected for good or bad by every member. Therefore the destiny of each Jew is inextricably tied with the action of his neighbor.
The Talmud (Shabbos 55a) recounts a fascinating exchange between God and the angels, which teaches us a profound lesson about the depth of our mutual responsibility.
- In Ezekiel 9:4, it is written: God said to the angel: "Go through Jerusalem and make a mark with ink on the foreheads of the righteous so that the angels of destruction should not attack them. Also make a mark with blood on the foreheads of the wicked, so that they should be attacked by the angels of destruction."
The Attribute of Justice said before God, "Master of the Universe: How is one group different than the other?"
God replied, "One group is righteous, while the other group is wicked."
The Attribute of Justice said, "Master of the Universe, but the righteous were able to protest the actions of the wicked and did not do so."
God said, "It is revealed and known to Me that even if they would have protested, it would have had no effect."
The Attribute replied, "But the righteous didn't know that!"
It is thus written, "The Angels of destruction began with the elders who were in front of the Temple."
This is the punishment given to those who (according to God Himself) could not have succeeded no matter what the effort. Therefore, how great is our accountability in this generation - when success is clearly within our grasp!
Why did we cry in the generation of Moses? Because even after God took us out of Egypt, gave us the Manna, the Well and the Clouds of Glory, we still said He couldn't bring us into the land of Israel. We didn't trust in Him - because we lacked appreciation for all He'd done for us.
On Tisha B'Av, we have to take an accounting of ourselves. Are we grateful for all the Almighty has done for us - and do we trust Him?
Are we in pain because of our brothers' suffering? Do we believe the Almighty will assist us if we reach out to help fellow Jews? Of course! The Almighty wants His children to return to Him!
We are one people with one destiny. Each of us is responsible for the actions of the other. A handful of people dedicated to the cause of Jewish continuity has already made a lasting impact on our future. If we join together, we will surely merit to bring back the entire Jewish nation.