In this past week’s Parashat Shemot (Exodus 2:13), Moses refers to one of the two Hebrews that were fighting (Dathan) as “wicked,” even before he actually hit his brother-in-law (Aviram)—Dathan’s hand was raised in the air. Interestingly, the wicked one quickly became two, when both joined efforts in telling Pharaoh some Lashon HaRa about Moses killing the Egyptian a day earlier, which nearly led to Moses’ execution. The fact that Moses killed the Egyptian for the sake of saving Dathan’s life was likely “misremembered.” Indeed cutting parts of the true story, and intentionally misunderstanding or misinterpreting its details is the expected outcome of Lashon HaRa. This is very much the same type of Lashon HaRa being spread about one of the leading Kiruv Rabbi’s of our generation, Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi. Was the description in the Parasha of being wicked an indication of the Lashon HaRa that followed the fight, or was the Lashon HaRa a product of the wicked?
In today’s politically correct world, it’s become common practice for some people to challenge the holy Torah and its laws as outdated, irrelevant, and politically incorrect in order to justify carefree lifestyles or choices. For those who have actually studied the Torah, and have chosen to follow the words of HaShem, these assessments couldn’t be further from the truth. One popular way to challenge the Torah is by going after those who speak the uncensored truth, just as HaShem wrote it in the Torah He gave Am Israel at Mt. Sinai. As hard as it is for this generation to hear about reward and punishment for our actions, HaShem was more concerned about providing us eternal clarity of our purpose in life, rather than political correctness we’ve become addicted to today. This is why reading the Gemara, Sotah 49b is literally like reading a newspaper today that discussing our current generation.
In Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-28), Moses speaks on HaShem’s behalf and says to the Jewish nation “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. A blessing… And a curse if…” The Ramban writes that Moses was speaking in general terms in order to simply clarify to the nation that these are the only two possibilities—meaning that those who observed the commandments would be blessed, and those who did not would be cursed. This may not be the most pleasing thing to read for some people, but it’s obviously what HaShem wanted us to hear, or else He would not have included it and many other verses like it in the Torah. In fact, the entire Torah is full of verses and nearly the entire book of Deuteronomy is filled with rebukes of the nation of Israel for past and future misdeeds against HaShem. The Gemara says that HaShem was saddened when Moses died because who could rebuke the nation like he did?
Teaching the divine words of the Torah in order to help Jews and Non Jews fulfill their purpose in the world, do teshuvah, and become righteous with HaShem is what Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi has been doing for over 21 years—helping over one hundred thousand Jewish people do Teshuva and improve their lives in countless ways. A quick view at Alexa.com shows that the Rabbi’s www.DivineInformation.com website is amongst the top 1% of overall websites in the world. In case you’re unaware of the world we live in, this is not common for a religious Jewish websites today. So it’s no surprise to see that the Rabbi’s Facebook profiles have over 107,000 dedicated followers enjoying his lifechanging posts each day. Even more impressive is that there are over 15 million (15,000,000) total views of his page and videos on youtube and Facebook “each month.” My personal favorite is the knowledge that over 1000 of the Rabbi’s students have decided to dedicate 100% of their lives to Torah, by learning at Yeshivot full time. Many have become famous and successful Rabbis around the world. Clearly, despite what many naysayers say about Rabbi Mizrachi’s “aggressive” strategy of mussar and rebuke, no one can dispute the long term results.
Unfortunately, instead of listening to the Torah and the Rabbi, some prefer to exhaust all efforts just to defame and destroy his public image. You don’t see those people making websites against Hamas, ISIS, BDS, Christian missionaries trying to convert naïve Jewish souls to their idol worship, or the countless number of public enemies of Am Israel. Instead, they use all of the energy of the Yetzer HaRa just to go against someone who’s dedicated their life to save Jewish souls. The public misrepresentation of a lecture from 2013, where a 3 minute video clip (out of 90 minute lecture) was made showing Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi teaching a biblical law (Halacha) pertaining to the horrific events during the Holocaust was just another infestation of Lashon HaRa at its best. In order to tarnish his public image, and thereby negatively impact his Kiruv work with klal Israel, the video was cut in a way where Rabbi Mizrachi’s words could be twisted, turned and misinterpreted in a way that made him seem equivalent to the enemies of Am Israel. Anyone that watched the full lecture (click link here), or even just familiar with his work and endless mesirut nefesh for Am Israel knows clearly how far these erroneous claims are from the truth. The fact that this is a 3 year old lecture, which no one commenting negatively about it cared to watch completely, is a great proof of how hard the Yetzer HaRa is working here to hurt the Rabbi now when our nation needs him and others like him, most. Again, refer to Gemara, Sotah 49b for End of Days prophecy to see another divine prophecy unfold: “and there shall be no rebuke…and those who dread sin will be despised….and truth will be absent”
Anyone that watched the full lecture with a command of the Hebrew language would easily understand that the Rabbi’s intention was to discuss both the actual Biblical Law of intermarriage—Halacha in accordance to the Jewish code of laws, Shulchan Aruch—and the overall risk of intermarriage we face today. In no way, did Rabbi Mizrachi minimize the horrific events of the Holocaust that both Jews and Non Jews alike suffered. In fact, he clearly stated that regardless of how many Jews and non Jews were killed, it was a huge and unbearable number. As HaShem would have it, the very same Parashat Shemot noted earlier regarding Lashon HaRa, is also the Parasha where we see the official birth of widely practiced “Anti-Semitism,” when Pharaoh announced his intentions to overcome Am Israel by fooling them into slavery (see Exodus 1:10). Rabbi Mizrachi fans know that among the countless amazing proofs of the Torah’s divinity he’s shown in past lectures is Torah codes detailing the holocaust, and even Nazi Germany looking to destroy the world being referred to in the Gemara as “Germanya of Edom” (Megillah 6b), nearly 1800 years before Germany was even created.
Among many other issues taught in this particular lecture, Rabbi Mizrachi explained the Jewish Biblical Law (Halacha) regarding intermarriage, whereby its widely known that a child of a non-Jewish mother is not considered Jewish in any way. This is the case even if the father is a Jewish, and his lineage goes all the way back to the Jews of ancient Egypt. While the father’s bloodline decides priesthood and tribe, the bloodline of the mother has always decided whether or not the child is Jewish. Further, unlike other religions and cults, there’s no such thing as a partial Jew based on Biblical Law (Halacha). One is either 100% Jewish or 100% gentile with no exceptions. Again, there’s no such thing as half Jewish in Torah Judaism. This is not the case with other religions and cults, as it’s very common to find people that consider themselves part of 2, 3, 4 or more nations. This is an important point to understand, since the evil German Nazi’s counted any person that had any relation whatsoever to a Jewish bloodline as a 100% Jewish, and murdered and documented them as such.
Although this intermarriage Halacha is not a favorite among the secular, conservative and reform Jews that are constantly changing the divine biblical law to suit their trendy desires, the reality is that even they, and the world at large, acknowledge the validity of this Halacha without even adhering to it. A simple proof is the fact that most people agree that there are approximately 14,000,000 Jews in the world today. If they truly believed their own erroneous, yet convenient, ruling about where Judaism stems from—saying that it could be the father, and, perhaps, even other family members other than the mother—they would have concluded that the Jewish population is much larger than stated. Since the Torah states that all of mankind restarted after the flood from Noah’s three sons (Genesis 10:1), that should “logically” mean that at least 33-50% of the world’s 7.3 billion people are Jewish. Since Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in history, this faulty human logic can conclude incorrectly that at some point each family had a Jewish relative. Maybe, eventually even arrive at the outrageous notion that the entire world is Jewish. Clearly the sarcasm and exaggerations are for illustrative purposes of how outrageous things could get if we leave it to ourselves to dictate what’s Divine and what’s not. One can never underestimate the imagination of the evil inclination. This is why those of us that stay true to the divine Torah law, know that changing a Halacha, and creating a new one that contradicts the Torah and its sages, is just not possible without ultimately destroying it all Chas VeShalom.
Lastly, it is well known through history and tradition that assimilation amongst the Jewish people skyrocketed over the last couple of hundred years, peaking at the time immediately preceding the Holocaust. A paper written by the well known Holocaust memorial organization, Yad Vashem, states: “Thus, in 1927, 54% of all marriages of Jews were contracted with non-Jews, and in that year one thousand Jews are estimated to have opted out of Judaism, about half of them by conversion to another faith.” Clearly, this is before anti-Semitism reached its peak, and became widely acceptable. Therefore, it’s only logical that with a 54% assimilation rate as a starting point, the numbers could’ve easily increased much further to agree with what Rabbi Mizrachi states in the lecture—peaking at close to 80% at some point over the next 10 years. It should be noted that Rabbi Mizrachi is not the first or last person to state such numbers.
With that being said, Rabbi Mizrachi still repeatedly stated in the lecture and publicly to media that the number of Halachically Jewish people that died a horrible death in the holocaust is an unknown, and could’ve been between 1 to 5 million out of the 6 million that were murdered. Again, to the evil German Nazi’s, any Jewish connection whatsoever led them to murdering the innocent, and documenting the person as a 100% Jewish. How many people died and suffered is not being discounted in any way, shape or form by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi. The whole point he was trying to embellish was that based on the divine Halacha, there could’ve been less Jews than we believe. This does not mean that its okay in any way, or it’s any less of a crime against our people and HaShem’s other creations. It’s simply educating the Jewish people about the Torah, and stating a possibility based on an educated guess that involves both historical facts and Biblical law. Nothing more! Nothing less!
Why do we need this type of education? Even more so, why would Rabbi Mizrachi take such a reputational risk by stating this and many other difficult to hear facts that could be viewed so negatively? As Rabbi Mizrachi often states, “the truth is above everything.” A nation that does not learn from and connect to its past, does not have a future. This is why Hashem obligates our people to study Torah daily. As the book of Jeremiah states in verse 33:25: “Were it not for My covenant (i.e. the study of Torah), day and night I would not have appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth (i.e. the world would cease to exist).”
The key point here is that if we compare the assimilation statistics of days preceding the Holocaust (when Jews were prospering financially and politically in Germany) to our own days in the United States, it’s hard to argue that we are doing much better religiously than our grandparents. This means that even those who choose to ignore HaShem’s promises of inevitable judgment from heaven, and the countless prophecies in the Torah for such behavior, should still be terribly concerned about future of our people if we don’t wake up now. Whether you are currently religious or not is irrelevant. If you care about the Jewish people, the current all-time high assimilation rates of the Jewish people in the U.S. should make you lose some sleep tonight. This is what Rabbi Mizrachi said in that lecture, and hundreds of other lectures for the last 21 years, day after day.
Whether you like, agree, or possibly hate and detest the kiruv strategy that Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi uses is irrelevant. Your main concern should be the Rabbi’s kiruv strategy’s results. One must be objective when they think about what’s best for the Jewish people’s future. Should they continue to assimilate and disconnect from the source, by acting out against the Torah, only disaster could be ahead. If you love the Jewish people, then you would obviously want them to stay Jewish and become much more Torah observant than they are today. Rabbi Mizrachi has been excelling at helping tens of thousands of people do Teshuva for over 21 years. Those that choose to remain ignorant and wicked by getting in the way of the Rabbi in Zikuy HaRabim of Am Israel, are nothing less than a Machti Et HaRabim (one who influences the masses to sin). This is why the Mishna in Pirkei Avot 5:21 connects the two when it states: “Whoever influences the masses to become meritorious (Mezakey HaRabim) shall not be the cause of sin; but one who influences the masses to sin (Machti Et Harabim) will not be given the means to repent.”
To conclude with the Parasha we began, one must learn from the Patriachs by connecting the actions of the 3 most recent leaders we met in the past month—Jacob, Joseph, and now Moses. When Jacob told his wives about his decision to gather everyone and leave their father Lavan’s house, he told them about how Lavan has been cheating him for the last 21 years (Genesis 31:7). Everyone knew Lavan was a cheater, except his two daughters Rachel and Leah? Further, when Jacob blessed his sons before he died (Genesis 49:1), he also took the opportunity to rebuke some of them for past misdeeds, but never mentioned that they were wrong for selling their brother Joseph nearly 40 years earlier. Did everyone know about the sale of Joseph, except his own father Jacob? The answer to both questions is yes. Since both Jacob and Joseph refrained from saying Lashon HaRa—Jacob about being cheated by Lavan, and Joseph about being sold by his brothers—the people around them got to benefit in this world and the next. Unfortunately Dathan and Aviram (Exodus 2:13) did not learn about Lashon HaRa from their past ancestors, and therefore nearly got their Savior, Moses, Killed!“The Truth is Above everything” ~Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi