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Nature Abhors a Vacuum



Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, captures the depth of pain experienced by his fellow survivors in a profoundly insightful quote. In his words, “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander”.


In our time, we are experiencing something even worse. Not only silence, but also fervent support for the barbaric oppressor. Not only from ordinary people, but also with tacit support from the leaders of some of the top universities in the USA. 


When asked by a member of Congress whether the call for genocide against the Jewish people would go against their code and rules of conduct or not, the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania could not give a clear answer.


Where have we gone wrong?


In describing the pit into which Joseph was thrown by his brothers, the verse states: 'The pit was empty; there was no water in it.' Rashi, the renowned mediaeval commentator of the Bible explains, “Since it states, “the pit was empty”, do I not know that “there was no water in it”? What then is the force of “there was no water in it”? Water, indeed it did not contain, but there were serpents and scorpions in it.”


On a deeper level, Rashi is teaching us a most profound lesson. Nature abhors a vacuum. If one's mind and heart are not filled with water, it most certainly will end up being filled with serpents and scorpions.


More than anything else, human beings require a clear sense of identity and purpose, which are shaped by values. Without teaching and empowering our children with clear values, they will learn them on their own. It's likely that they won't be to your liking. For as with gravitational pool, the most prevalent type, will be something that is attractive to the lowest common denominator.


On a macro level, the same idea applies to our historic mission as a people to be a 'light unto the nations'. If we, the Jewish people, do not share our history and values with the nations of the world, we are allowing a vacuum to be created. As we know, nature abhors a vacuum. If we fail to fill it with our narrative, our enemies will, and have already done so.


In a hotel room in Washington, D.C., thirty years ago, the FBI recorded a conversation with members of Hamas discussing how to capture the minds and hearts of students on campus in the USA. 


We have no choice but to share our story with the world. It is the greatest story ever told. The world is eager to hear it.

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