It sounds truly awful because as Rav Schwartz notes, these three were "only" one-third of previous generations.
But in later generations (like now), they're ALL coming back — together. Simultaneously.
And that explains so much of what's going on today.
But I admit that I'm not sure how to put it all together exactly.
On the other hand, it's still possible to draw parallels.
Dor HaMabul — The Generation of the Flood
Dor HaMabul was all about corruption in every sense of the word.
Theft ruled the day, although the Pele Yoetz notes that it was also steeped in the same sin that Er & Onan stumbled, along with other sins against chaste behavior, including extramarital sins.
I heard that abortion was also practiced.
They committed idolatry, which basically means that they indulged in occult practices.
The occult has made a massive comeback in today's world. Wicca is considered a cool feminist system, plus the whole goddess aspect has been a prized part of being "progressive."
Eastern religions with all their idols have become popular.
There are many indications of occult even within seemingly secular aspects of society.
I also read somewhere animal cross-breeding went on during Dor HaMabul, which was included in the overall corruption of that time. Hybrids are often sterile and rather than being the best of both kinds, hybrids often display the genetic faults of both.
Finally, according to the Kli Yakar, Dor HaMabul was plagued with moral relativity. Even the tzaddikim reassured non-tzaddikim that "we're all same." (Kamoni, komocha.) "I'm okay, you're okay."
A sinner stood among tzaddikim and said, "I'm a tzaddik like you."
It was the "feel good" generation.
Sort of like now.
(For more on this generation, please see The Kli Yakar on Parshas Noach: Why Did Hashem Destroy the World with Water? And What is the Connection to Hurricanes? & The Hidden Sin of the Flood Generation: What We Can Learn From It Today — AKA The Kli Yakar on Parshat Noach.)
By the way, there is a LOT more to say about that generation. The commentaries, Talmud, and midrashim are full of insights.
Dor HaPlagah — The Generation of Dispersal
Meaning, Shem & Ever & Avraham Avinu were around, plus there were people learning from Avraham Avinu even as Hashem was re-orchestrating the language people spoke (source).
Nimrod was ruling then and our forefathers mentioned above found a place to thrive where the long arm of Nimrod's reign didn't reach them.
It also seems like it was a more scientific generation.
People focused on the science of astrology, which explained a lot to them, and they scientifically decided against a Supreme Divinity.
Then they scientifically concluded that a tower was needed to channel the astrological abundance due their way, and so with the science of architecture, they designed a tower for this purpose.
(There is also the fascinating explanation of Rav Yonatan Eibeschutz, who explains the tower as a propulsion system to launch a ship to sail through the atmosphere to find refuge on the Moon, thereby avoiding any future global Flood. They clearly had no idea of the need for terrafirming first — not to mention the hostile environment of space — but the idea of lunar or Martian colonization has enjoyed renewed popularity in our times.)
In As in Heaven, So on Earth, Rav Ezriel Tauber noted that Dor HaPlagah resembled Communism, with its emphasis on the work over the worker (people died building the tower and that was okay). A brick was more important than a person.
Communism is infamous for its atheism, pseudo-equality, its attitude of a human being as an easily replaceable cog in society's greater wheel, and its science (both pseudo-science like Lysenkoism, and real science like its space program).
Dor HaPlagah was also known for its pseudo-unity — gathering together under the auspices of peace. But in reality, the leaders of this great global union only craved power, honor, and fulfillment of their base desires.
(You can read more about what Chazal says of that generation in The Malbim in English on Parshat Noach & The Kli Yakar in English - Parshat Noach.)
Again, this was a predominantly non-Jewish generation. The father of the Jewish people (Avraham Avinu) and his guides (Shem & Ever) were alive & active at that time, but not part of that generation from a philosophical standpoint.
It was an externally beautiful & advanced society that condoned terrible cruelty under a system of terribly distorted morals.
Toeva was also fine with them.
Also, I do not know if this was part of Sodom, but the hymn of a Sumerian priestess from Avraham Avinu's hometown of Ur survived until today. (If the dating is correct — and accurate dating is much harder to pinpoint than scientists like to admit — the hymn predates Avraham Avinu.)
The self-lauding priestess is under the delusion that she is the wife of a moon "god" and she boasts of her ability to have "changed men into women!"
Meaning, she successfully accomplished this.
And she is mighty proud of it. She views it as a good thing.
Experts in that time like to debate exactly what she meant, but with all the meshugas of today, it's becoming clearer that she likely meant what a lot of people mean today:
Even if one is clearly of a particular gender, one has the right to define themselves & be treated as the opposite gender — with the truly bizarre results promoted today, including completely irrational consequences within the medical field.
(Like when a woman who insists she is a man comes in complaining of abdominal pain, the doctor must pretend she doesn't have a uterus or ovaries and instead focus on something else, like her appendix. And vice-versa. I don't know if this has happened yet, but this is what they're promoting.)
Is this connected specifically to Sodom? Or to the surrounding occult systems?
I'm not sure.
But such a similar re-awakening cannot be incidental in an era in which 3 ancient corrupt generations return.
Also, speaking of Sodom justice...
When we were 16, a friend of mine went to court in order to be transferred into the custody of her divorced father, who'd been banished from her life.
She'd recently found him & discovered what she'd sensed all along: He wasn't the monster her abusive mother always insisted he was.
After enduring years of physical abuse by her mother and 2 years of abuse by her stepfather (who was an elder in their Mormon church & told her that he would no longer abuse her because at age 14, she was now "too old for him"), my friend decided to utilize the law that allows 16-year-old children of divorce to decide with which parent they want to live.
The judge deciding the case fulfilled the great feminist ideal: She was female.
According to feminists, all the inequalities in society are due to there not being females in charge.
Men are misogynists and incapable of providing fair & equal treatment...or so goes the feminist claim.
Anyway, the oh-so exalted female judge ruled that it's best for children to be with their mothers, especially in a nuclear family situation (as opposed to living with a single father) and so my friend needed to stay in her toxic environment.
Ooh, it's best for the child! It's in the child's best interests to remain in a family with a stable marriage and a mother and a (step) father!
It doesn't matter that they're abusive creeps! Family first! It's best for the child!
And so much for the wiser & more compassionate authority of a female...
(And no, the judge didn't have a bias, like being a Mormon herself. She was apparently stupid & immoral all on her own.)
I admit that knocked a pretty deep chink in my own ideal as a self-proclaimed feminist at that time, plus crushed my perception of the American justice system as "fair." (Although certainly, it is much fairer than almost any other justice system in the world and in human history.)
Anyway, it was a ruling truly worthy of Sodom.
(In case you're wondering, our high school guidance counselor discovered an underground foster care system that operated beneath the law. So my friend hugged me good-bye and then literally raced off to be smuggled out of state to an unofficial foster home. She kept on the move during that time, shifting between 3 states until she could re-emerge on her 18th birthday & finally go live with her father.)
I was left seething, THE WORLD CANNOT WORK THIS WAY! THIS IS ALL WRONG!
I felt like my friend, the victim, shouldn't be the one who needs to go into hiding.
And that's Sodom: Welcome to Sodom — where we punish the victim.
All Mixed Up
And all this explains why things are increasingly & intensively crazier than ever.
People don't seem to know what is right or wrong, and there is tremendous pressure to empathize with people who do bad things or who are extremely misguided & trying to drag society down with them.
As far as I can tell, Europe has lost its conservative religious faction. Yes, there may be conservative religious people in Europe, but they've lost their voice.
Let's face it: When your big hero of conservatism is a toeva atheist, the game is over. (I'm looking at you, England.)
When the leader of one of your most conservative parties must apologize on behalf of a representative who merely states that he opposes toeva unions, the game is over. (England again.)
Yet in American where the religious conservatives still wield influence, they are still a far cry from the norm that existed (whether conservative or liberal) only 2 generations ago.
American conservatives — even the religious ones — have basically given up promoting abstinence before marriage. Instead, they focus on avoiding abortion via contraception or adoption.
Many conservative women pundits dress in an undignified immodest manner, and nearly all of the American conservative leaders, whether men or women, use foul language.
They formulate excuses for why they allow themselves to watch movies that trash their self-proclaimed values, read books that trash their self-proclaimed values, and watch TV that trashes their self-proclaimed values. (So they end up immersed in all the things they claim to fight.)
It's increasingly confusing, especially when you see frum people (including VERY frum-looking people) involve themselves in aspects of the non-Jewish world that aren't so appropriate for them (or for any frum Jew, actually).
And they receive enormous accolades for this, including the impression that they are creating a big kiddush Hashem.
It's very, very confusing.
So what's a person to do?
The Great Spiritual Chaos
Sodom is back.
Dor HaFlagah is back.
Dor HaMabul is back.
The Erev Rav are back & mighty powerful.
In the non-Jewish world, it's easy enough to figure that almost anything promoted probably reflects an agenda of those 3 ancient generations, whether it's a value system promoted in mainstream science or media, novels, social science bestsellers, political movements, movies, TV, and so on.
In the Jewish world, it's easy enough to see that a secular Jew fighting Torah is Erev Rav, but much harder when the Jew looks frum and seems to be on the side of good.
For example, in Surviving Spiritually Today, Rav Itamar Schwartz relates the story of the daughter of an avreich who attends a charedi seminary where she learns that she must get a job to support her husband in Torah.
Rav Schwartz notes that the seminary taught a lot of good Torah & hashkafah from well-known speakers, but one of the "charedi" teachers also encouraged this girl to find a job working in the Israeli government because those jobs are the steadiest and bring the best pension — all for the sake of supporting the husband in Torah, of course.
Rav Itamar Schwartz responds:
Anyone who can say such a thing to another Jew has a soul from ‘Erev Rav’!!
Nobody else would be able to say such a thing; only someone who wishes to take away the purity of a Jew’s soul can say such a thing!
Rav Schwartz strongly opposes working in "impure" places because it affects one's Torah.
As he mentions regarding the famous Chazal, "If there is no flour, there's no Torah," if the flour is wormy, then the Torah learned will also be wormy.
So it's genuinely confusing.
As Rav Schwartz notes:
Things that used to be simple to a Jew as unthinkable are no longer so simple anymore; nowadays, a person freely pursues things without stopping to think.
The Great Disconnect
They both contained the same message: Disconnect.
That is so, so hard to do nowadays.
Even if you've physically isolated yourself into a frum neighborhood, you still have your gadgets.
In many places throughout the world, you can no longer carry out certain necessary functions without Internet access.
So in some areas, even very sincerely frum people have some sort of Internet gadget (with the best filter available, of course).
And even if you've got a strong filter and read only "frum" sites, a lot of mixed hashkafah still gets through.
Also, a lot of frum people work in spiritually difficult environments. The environment might be non-Jewish, secular Jewish, or frum with secular hashkafot.
And something else that isn't spoken of much is family members who aren't on the level.
The most obvious is a secular family who does teshuvah later, but one of the spouses or kids never makes the switch, yet lives in the frum home.
However, there are frum people who got married in the frum way, but are stuck with a spouse who lacks integrity or looks for loopholes and finds the outside world attractive.
Also, a lot of teens who teeter still live at home and they bring in their cell phone, their clothing styles, their secular music, and new attitudes into the home.
(Sure, the parents can tell them not to...and watch how that doesn't work either.)
In some cases, they even bring a girlfriend (but it's usually temporary & secretive, so the family doesn't know about it).
Parents often try to find another living situation for them, but it often either doesn't work out, the child refuses to go, or the child still comes back for vacations and the like.
Pop psychology, which infiltrated the frum community, placed the blame squarely on the parents.
I used to buy into that too.
But over the years, I couldn't help noticing families in which the mother strove with everything she had (even if it wasn't much) to be a good parent while her husband was dysfunctional in some way.
Despite the motto "A child needs only one good parent!", I soon realized that often wasn't true.
Children need fathers. They need GOOD fathers. They just do. That's how Hashem set things up.
So the mother, who was actually killing herself to parent healthily in an unhealthy situation, still suffered at least one child going off the derech (at least temporarily) while also being shoved into the same "problematic parent" box as her truly problematic husband.
Furthermore, even two very good parents often cannot overcome an overall poor school experience.
And I even know couples who get along very well and attended chinuch classes (which they took very seriously), strove to find the school to best fit their kids, kept an Internet-free home, and still ended up with problems with a couple of their kids.
So a lot of stuff gets into the home regardless of what you do.
How to Protect Yourself from the Onslaught
So...you disconnect as much as you can from Dor HaMabul, Dor HaFlagah, Sodom, and Erev Rav.
And you do so not just by sur me'ra (turning from evil), but also aseh tov (doing good).
You make up a schedule to learn some authentic Torah everyday, whether that's Rashi on Mishlei or Pele Yoetz or Mesillat Yesharim — and even if it's only 5 minutes or 1 paragraph a day.
Spending time reading or listening to Rav Avigdor Miller's shiurim can also have a profound effect.
Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus's books also provide tremendous influence in an enjoyable way.
If you have more time, you can even make a whole project out of it — yes, even if you're limited to English only.
For example, let's say you wish to really imbibe the Pele Yoetz. So you go to the first chapter (Love of God) and read it in English HERE.
Then you go to the page where all the chapters are arranged (HERE), and you click on the arrow on the left side of the shiur by Rabbi Eli Mansour to listen on the spot or you click on the right download it.
Then you mosey on over to Torahanytime.com, where you find Rabbi Noach Oelbaum's shiur on that same chapter (HERE) and you listen to that.
With all that, you are well on your way to being positively & profoundly influenced by the authentic Torah of the Pele Yoetz.
Personally, I'm very into filling up our minds & hearts with good and pushing out the not-good that way. It's much more natural and more effective.
Things work best when you simply DON'T WANT the bad stuff.
(I wrote about my personal experience with that here: What is the Most Painless Path to True Teshuvah?)
Needless to say, I'm still working on this all myself.
Many posts result from my own struggles in these areas.
And finally yet most importantly: real tefillah from your heart in your own words.
Even a few minutes a day can reap rewards.