Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
There’s an old joke about a guy whose entire neighborhood is being inundated by flood waters. He climbs on his roof, and proclaims to all and sundry that “G-d will save me!” He repeats that line to different would-be rescuers in canoes, and even, near the end, to the crew of a helicopter looking for survivors.
When the man drowns and goes to heaven, he is outraged. “Where was my salvation?!” G-d says, “What do you want from me? I sent three canoes and a helicopter!”
When I was much younger my family was devastated by a death in the family – my older brother, killed in a freak accident at only seven years old. There were many possible explanations how this could have happened, but the way I read it is that G-d sent many warnings to my parents to change their lives (they had chosen a dangerous and ultimately unproductive way of life, living with nature in the middle of nowhere). In the end, G-d made the point in a way that changed their lives, even though it irrevocably damaged my parents and threatened to utterly destroy our family. They, too, had ignored the repeated warnings.
I understand the Holocaust in precisely the same manner: The signs were all there but were only acknowledged by too few: those who fled Europe before the war broke out. The buildup in threat was real. The declaration that “G-d will save us!” was no help: G-d gives the bad guys free will, too, and they can use it to do evil. The most G-d grants us is warning, a window of opportunity to fight or flee. If we fail to do either, then we will perish.
The tragedy this week at Mt. Meron was keenly felt. The Jewish world is small. Even though 45 people died, I knew, through one person removed, half a dozen of the dead who were crushed, trampled, or suffocated. This was personal for all of us.
And yet I reject the notion that Mt. Meron was G-d’s will. Those people did not “deserve” to die, any more than the children murdered in the Holocaust did. Yet, Meron was not an unpredictable freak accident. There were years and years of poor management, of people refusing to see the obvious problems with the event that had too many people in too small a space coupled with virtually no crowd control. The warnings were all there. But they were ignored.
For me, it is all a reminder: G-d does not save us from ourselves. That would defeat the purpose of mankind’s existence in this world. Instead, He gives us the tools and knowledge and ability to grow up and be responsible. And He commands us to be guardians for ourselves and our world, to stay aware and keep ahead of both the evil and the stupid. Remember that Adam and Eve were not expelled from the Garden after they ate the fruit: they were expelled after they denied responsibility for their own actions. The lessons we refuse to learn keep coming back to haunt us.
In our modern political world, we have this problem writ large. We cannot pretend that critical race theory does not inevitably lead to an openly racist society. We cannot pretend that our children will be OK if we allow the Left to educate them. We cannot pretend that the vacuum in our moral foundation that is the LGBTQ movement won’t lead to the complete destruction of the family and the communities that rely on families to exist. Nor can we pretend that voter fraud does not exist on a scale large enough to threaten all of the United States and its founding principles of a constitutional democracy.
G-d has given us the canoes and the helicopter. We have the tools to change the future. But we must first recognize that there is no alternative but to fight for what is good. The end of Western Civilization comes down to a choice – yours and mine. We must not abdicate responsibility: we must seize it.Published in