He wrote this during the Holocaust, fully aware of everything happening & everything about to happen—no denial, no rose-colored glasses, no "that can't happen here"—just crystal-clear vision.
He & his yeshivah were murdered by Lithuanian Nazis in 1941.
So here is an excerpt of Epoch of the Mashiach, pages 28-29 (any boldface or underline are my own addition), written in Europe in the 1930s:
The Holy Scriptures record only those prophecies which apply to all generations.
There is no record of such prophecies which were merely of temporary significance (Megillah 4).
Hence all that is recorded in Scriptures is of an eternal nature and has a bearing upon all times, including even our own.
Let us examine then the statement, "The Lord has commanded that Jacob be surrounded by enemies."
Periodic persecution and hostile treatment of Jacob are a necessary evil in the Divine scheme of things.
Whenever, in the course of history, the Jew loses consciousness of his heritage and mission in life, it becomes necessary that his enemies rouse him and restore him to the possession of his faculties.
The magnitude of his enemies and the severity of the methods they employ in awakening the Jew depend entirely on the intensity of the latter's lethargy.
An analogy may be found in the case of a man who is asleep in a burning house.
If he sleeps lightly a gentle nudge may suffice to make him aware of the danger.
However. if he has sunk into an extremely sound and deep slumber, it may be necessary to strike him hard in order to save his life.
Similarly, when the Jewish people are, on the whole, conscious of their Jewishness, anti-Semitism expresses itself in minor annoyances which suffice to prevent the Jew from his forgetting his destiny.
However, when the Jew completely ignores the covenant which G-d made with his ancestors and desires to live like other peoples of the earth, then hordes of beastly anti-Semites swoop down upon him with terrific force and fury, as is the case in our own day.
[Isaiah 42:24] This verse in Isaiah makes mention of two classes of sinners:
a) those who sin involuntarily, and
b) those who voluntarily rebel against the Lord -- "They would not walk in His ways."
Both of these classes are to be found among Jews today.
A great many of us are misguided by those wearing the mantle of leadership, and they sin through sheer ignorance.
Many others declare arrogantly to G-d, "Away! We will have nothing of Thee and Thy ways!"
This latter group organizes schools for the dissemination of the denial of Torah, where Jewish children are trained to declare, "We have no portion in the G-d of Israel."
It is this class that is referred to in the verse in Deuteronomy: "And G-d saw this and He was angry because of the provocations of His sons and daughters."
They are the true cause of all that besets us today.
Rav Wasserman didn't make this up; it's found throughout Torah scholarship and, as noted above, the Prophets spoke of it with that attitude.
Having said that, a Jew certainly has the right to self-defense.
A Jew may also utilize the laws of the country & the ears of authorities to carry out derech-hateva efforts to curb violent Jew-hatred or acts of discrimination against Jews.
But to completely ignore the underlying reason for Jew-hatred?
Ignoring the real reason only makes things worse.
So what should our response be?
Ideas for the Ideal Response
It's there within your neshamah.
If you feel pulled toward & energized by grand gestures, then that's well & good.
But what if you don't? Or what if you're already feeling swamped (whether practically or emotionally) or totally lethargic?
So as always, please PLEASE remember that BABY STEPS COUNT.
BABY STEPS MATTER.
Rav Avigdor Miller often provided ideas for baby steps.
(You can search on the Toras Avigdor website for his ideas.)
Say why you're doing it (to revive your commitment to Torah, your devotion to Hashem, etc.) and do whatever you'd like.
Here are some suggestions:
- You can bring Shabbat in a few minutes earlier or take it out a few minutes later.
- You can write down or say 10 aspects of Judaism for which you are grateful.
- You can take 1 moment on Shabbat to feel happy about the gift of Shabbat.
- You can take 30 seconds to close your eyes & find an inner happiness of being a Jew.
- Read one paragraph (or even just a sentence) from a book of mussar or Chassidus.
- Learn one halacha of a subject like shemirat halashon, tsniyut, Shabbat, etc.
But let's say you're feeling emotionally dry...
It happens to the best of us. Literally. Rav Levi Yitzchak Bender spoke of times when talking to Hashem feels totally dry & devoid of any meaning. (He advised to keep doing it until the feeling came back, even if it takes days or weeks, because it's a rough patch, and not a negative reflection on you.)
You can make or buy an extra salad or dessert l'khvod Shabbat, and say, "Hashem, I'm just not feeling it, but I wanted to do something to let you know that despite everything, I really do care."
And yes, you can say this in a totally blah manner. It's still considered an effort in the right direction.
Also, you can just read this out loud with whatever emotion you can muster (and even if you can't muster any):
Rav Dessler explains this at length in Michtav M'Eliyahu/Strive for Truth. Even if we don't achieve a high level in this lifetime, the bare fact of starting out on that path sets off an eternal chain reaction that continues to bring us to that level in the Next World.
Here's a summary of that process:
And here are more ideas on the topic: