May 27, 1994

In our Perasha we read that Benai Yisrael complained that they wanted the goodness of Egypt. These complaints started from a bunch of rabble-rousing troublemakers.

We remember the fish which we ate in Egypt for free, the cucumbers, the melon, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. And now our souls are dry, nothing other than this Man which fills our eyes.

The Jews are probably the only people who are always ready to give up there autonomy in return for spicy fish and watermelon. In those days they were prepared to give it up for food in Egypt. Today they are ready to give up everything for the hope of exporting fish and watermelon. These problems also started from a small group of troublemakers.

The Nation of Israel in those days were led by a small group not to appreciate what G-d gives us and the minority government in Israel certainly is not thankful to G-d for what G-d gave to us today.

Let’s discuss for a moment our Perasha and this might reflect on current issues.

The Jews were wandering in the desert. All of their physical needs were taken care of. They had clouds on top of them to protect them from the heat and a cloud went in front of them to clear and flatten the path. Their clothing did not wear out. A well of spring water followed them wherever they went. G-d sent them Man every day. This was really the perfect food. It had all of the vitamins and minerals needed. Unlike our healthy food it tasted good. It had a delicious olive oil flavor. It is also said that it was beautiful and was used as jewelry by the women.

A group of troublemakers called the Asafsuf got together. I think that they just wanted to make trouble for Moshe Rabbienu. They broadcast their discontent. Discontent is contagious. When a small group of people are discontent they cause everybody else to complain. This is exactly what we see in our Perasha.

I have seen it in politics, yeshivahs and synagogues. It is present in any institution. It does not matter if anything is really wrong.

I will give you another example from Israeli politics other than the giving back of territories: When the first Ethiopians came to Israel they were more than happy to take on the customs and rules set by our Rabbis. They even thirsted for this. They really wanted to be part of main stream Israeli society.

They were told by certain left wing groups that they must preserve their heritage and customs. These customs do not follow our rabbis of blessed memory. What was the real reason behind this latter day Asafsuf? The anti religious wing would like to have official government recognition of the Reform and Conservative. They realize that they have been unsuccessful at this for many years. In forcing the government to recognize the Ethiopians they would also have a precedent for recognizing the other groups. They could care less about Ethiopian culture, just like they tried to abolish the Sepharadim and the Yemenites. They are only doing it to make trouble.

Just like in our Perasha the complaints started with a small number of troublemakers the Ethiopian problem started out as a small number of white complainers.

Those who would like to start a revolution against anything have a very good method. Those who would like to avoid inadvertently starting a sea of problems should use this to learn their lesson.