A Light Unto the Nations: By Shmuel Sackett
‘We have all heard the term “A light unto the nations” but what does it really mean? And furthermore, in the present world of billions of people and tens of billions of gadgets, is it even possible for the small, tiny Jewish people to inspire the entire world and be their light among all the darkness?
To me, the answer is quite simple. Of course it is possible because our Father in Heaven would have never asked us to do something that couldn’t be done. If He wants us to be an “Ohr La’Goyim” (a light unto the nations) then it is well within our ability to do the job! In case you are wondering, the source of these words can be found in the prophet Yeshayahu (42:5-7) “Thus said the G-d, Hashem, who created the heavens… who firmed the earth and its produce, who gave a soul to the people upon it… I am Hashem, I have called you with righteousness, I will strengthen your hand, I will protect you, I will set you a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations; to open blind eyes, to remove a prisoner from confinement… I am Hashem, that is My Name… I shall not give My glory to another…” (translation by ArtScroll)
Do you understand what is being said here? What an incredible mission Hashem Himself is giving His people? Being a “light to the nations” means showing the world the truth (“to open blind eyes”) and thus free them from their false lives which is keeping them in the worst kind of prison imaginable – the one with no walls (“to remove a prisoner from confinement”). These words are not just old-wise sayings, this is the mission and purpose of Am Yisrael!
Yet, unfortunately, and I say this with a very heavy heart, most Yeshiva students in America will never read these powerful words. They will spend 12 years in Yeshiva – from the modern Orthodox ones to the very Yeshivish ones – and will never learn these holy verses from Yeshayahu Ha’Navi. Many of these students will continue to Yeshivas of higher learning and spend thousands of hours each year studying yet will not even be able to tell you which Navi came first; Yeshayahu or Yirmiyahu.
Fellow Jews – this is “money time”. The game is on the line and every play counts more than ever. As we approach the days leading up to Rosh Ha’Shanah please understand the main purpose of these two awesome days. They are not about Teshuva, although that is a very important thing to do. They are not about spending until 2pm in Shul listening to a Chazzan, although I love that and cherish those moments. Finally, they are not about just dipping an apple in honey or even listening to the Shofar. Rosh Ha’Shanah – above everything else – is about Crowning Hashem King of the world!!!
The problem, however, is that nobody knows how to do that. After all, how does a simple man (or woman) of flesh and blood crown Hashem king? The answer lies in the verses I quoted from above. Accept upon yourself the job that Hashem has given you! Teach the world about Hashem’s wisdom – open the eyes and free the prisoners of the world who are knee deep in filth; both material and spiritual. When you do that, you are fulfilling your Jewish destiny! You are accomplishing the job that Hashem has given you and by doing that you are declaring to the entire world that “Hashem Hoo Ha’Melech” – Hashem is the King!!
The only question left is this: Is the world ready for such a message? The media shows only the negative, the violence, the beheadings, the abuse and everything else that helps them sell their trash. But in reality, there’s a genuine thirst out there for the truth of our Torah and the 7 Mitzvot that we must teach the world. Not everyone is an ISIS member and not everyone wants to wage war against us. I firmly believe that we need to realize that deep down, people are good and – as Yeshayahu Ha’Navi says – are merely blind and imprisoned.
Dearest friends, make this year one where you not only pray for your personal life but for your national life as well. Take this job – as a Prince of Hashem the King – very seriously and spread His truth to the world. It is up to you and me to declare and establish this fact so that the world will see the truth and taste the sweetness of our Father in Heaven. Since no Rabbis ever talk or write like this, you probably think that I have lost my mind and should be on cable TV holding a Bible and preaching. That is not what I mean. I am talking about the need to stop living small, ghetto lives where all we care about is ourselves and the newest type of kosher sushi. We are far greater than that and the world needs us to be great! By being small, we pull everyone down and by focusing only on the ritual aspect of our religion we are losing much more than we are gaining.
This year, put as priority #1 – not the shidduch or the parnossa you need – but the respect and glory that is needed for Hashem Himself. We – yes, you and I – will announce to the world, through our thoughts, words and actions that Hashem is the King and we will demand that the world will acknowledge this. It is possible to happen… but only if it starts with us.
Allow me to conclude with an email that I received this week from a non-Jewish woman. As Shemitta approaches, I was very busy trying to raise money for Israeli farmers to plant up until the last possible day according to Halacha. I sent emails, wrote articles and even placed ads. Read this response and then tell me if there are people out there ready for our message:
“Shalom! I am a single mother of 2 small children and I do not have a monetary seed that I can sow into you. But I cannot let this opportunity pass me by either. So I would like to offer you a prayer … that your barns will over flow with blessings so large that you cannot contain them. That you are so blessed that all your store houses continually stay full and you have enough to give into every good work and that you be blessed in the city and in the fields. That your vines do not cast their fruit before their times and that your tree’s leaves may never wither … even if there be a drought … and everything that you set your hands is blessed. That your families be protected and that your seed would never beg bread and great be the peace of your children… This is all that my natural mind can contrive to pray for you … I pray that you be blessed and multiply… and I hope that my prayer has been felt by you and that you have mercy and compassion compelling your thoughts and driving you to action when necessary.”
Yes, there are billions of people in the world and they are waiting for the tiny Jewish nation to lead them and open their eyes. Make this your “new year’s resolution” and may we all be blessed with a sweet, happy, healthy new year living in the palace with the King Himself!