[This week, after the Torah reading, we read again rebuke from Yirmeeyahoo (Jeremiah, Chapter 2 verses 4-28]
Verse 5:“So says G-d, what did your fathers find in Me fault that they distanced themselves from Me and went after nothingness and became futile themselves” Verse 6: “And they did not say, ‘where is G-d who brought us out of the land of Egypt, who led us in the desert…”verse 7: “and I brought you to this fertile land to eat its fruits and goodness and you came and you contaminated My land…”
We should ask ourselves the same thing. Many of us came out of the hells of the Holocaust, many of us came running from the pogroms of Ukraine, our ancestors came penniless and beaten down and arrived at a place of refuge and became wealthy — -and, Chevrah, what do we do with that wealth and freedom to worship> Do we serve G-d with those gifts He gave us? Our nation was given a leeway time here in America, freedom of religion, golden opportunities – what do we have to show for it? Assimilation? Twisted lives based on wrong ideals?
The next few verses lambasts the leaders – they didn’t question as to where G-d was, even “those who grasped the Torah did not know Me”. At all times, as a leader, as a Torah observant Jew, we always have to give ourselves wake up calls – “where is G-d in the equation”. We can hoodwink ourselves into thinking we are “frum” observant, but we might end up doing it by rote, or to impress the neighborhood, but we must always ask ourselves, “am I doing it for G-d.”
G-d now compares us to other nations – saying, hey, did you see another nation give up their nuttiness for another nuttiness – their idol for another idol. Will Americans ever give up baseball for cricket? No –and those are the stupidities that we are loyal to. How could the Jews exchange G-d for the idols of the other nations. Where is their “national pride”?
Verse 13: “Two evil acts My nation did: they left Me, left the source of living waters, to dig wells that were broken that could not even hold water.”
Think of all the Yeshiva boys who left Yeshiva to become the Socialists in Russia. Trotsky. Lenin. They left the walls of Yeshiva, left Shabbos and Halacha behind. First sin. They then set up a system of government that was insane. Second sin. We get punished for leaving G-d. We also get punished for trying out lifestyles that are incompatible with humanity and incapable of bringing human happiness.
Verse 19: “Your evil will rebuke you, your backsliding will reprove you, and you will know and see that it is bad and bitter your leaving G-d…”
I, unfortunately, get to see this often. The evil acts we do come back to bite us, to haunt us, and then some folks get it, sometimes too late. I’ve had kids who hit the streets and then come to me with their STDS. They get it. Sin brings it own hells.
G-d continues bemoaning how lost we Jews became: that He had broken our bondage chains and we said we would not sin and then we (verse 20) “recline like a harlot” A harlot goes from guy to guy – the Jews go from craze to craze. Each generation we have our scares, and we say, we’ll be good. Danger passes, we relapse. And never the same way. In one generation, we leave G-d for communism, in another for Hollywood, in yet another generation we chase after Buddhism, Taoism or other New-Age nuttiness. Like a harlot jumping from guy’s bed to guy’s bud, we wander from ism to ism.
G-d then says, “I planted a noble stock” that gave up wild oats. We are worse off cuz G-d gave us optimum conditions to flourish, and yet, spitefully, we didn’t.
Then G-d begs, that we spare ourselves from having to go barefoot, from having to die of thirst, but, the Jews respond, (verse 25) “I love the strangers and after them I’ll go.” The world shakes, punishment can happen, but we like the strange lifestyles we’ve adopted. We have no intentions of giving up our fetishes or skewed morality we’ve gotten used to.
And, therefore, concludes this week’s Haftorah, therefore, comes the punishment. Chevra, the Jews have only themselves to blame for their own misfortunes. G-d warns us. We can avert any pain by returning to G-d. It’s as simple as that – but as complicated as our base desires.