"Behold a people that dwells alone and they're not counted among the nations."
It goes against modern society's cherished ideas of pluralism, egalitarianism, and democracy.
However, it's essential for Jews to maintain their Torah identity.
What most people—whether Jewish or not—don't realize is that by Jews fully embracing their Jewish identity and separating from anything non-Jewish, this itself brings the Redemption with compassion to the entire world.
Meaning, the more Jews keep themselves apart according to Torah stipulations, the better it is for the entire world—both for Jews & for non-Jews.
This is the way to achieve world peace, abundance, and all other good things.
Divine Diversity—The Truly Beneficial Kind
Hashem created each creation for a reason. He WANTS there to be a variety of different things.
Hashem doesn't want a world populated with ligers (lion-tiger offspring).
He wants there to be beautiful lions with classic lion traits & He also wants there to be beautiful tigers with classic tiger traits.
That's WHY He created them as lions & tigers.
We also see this with personalities. Hashem WANTS different personalities in the world.
That's why among the unity of Am Yisrael, Hashem orchestrated 12 different Tribes with different character traits, styles, and different ways of participating.
This is real diversity. And it's healthy.
Making Good in the Ye Olde Ghetto
Avraham Avinu & Lot split up.
Yishmael separated from the family.
Esav separated from the family.
And much later, Am Yisrael spent 40 years in the Midbar to learn how to be a Nation that dwells alone.
In Eretz Yisrael, the Am Yisrael remained with each other.
Non-Jews could only live there in certain roles & according to specific standards—they needed to undergo a circumcision, plus keep kosher & Shabbat. (Outside of Eretz Yisrael & outside of that particular role, non-Jews needn't keep kosher or be circumcised, and it's harmful for them to keep Shabbat.)
Current politicians in Israel not only ignore these ancient standards, but even run roughshod all over them—to the detriment of all.
After the Jewish Dispersion, Rav Miller mentions Hashem's sending of Paul & Mohammad to keep Jews separated.
Christians & Muslims sequestered their Jewish citizens in ghettos, where Jewish life thrived & some of our best Torah literature came to fruition.
At the same time, Rav Miller offers perspective on the negative side of Christian & Muslim discrimination (page 12):
Of course we’re not going to say yasher koach to the goyim for all their decrees against us.
They did it not to help us and in the next world they’re getting what they deserve.
But Hakodosh Boruch Hu is the One who deserves that yasher koach from us, because it was His guiding hand pulling the strings from behind the curtain.
The Slow Demise of "Pareve"
He first starts off with a seemingly unrelated Gemara (page 13):
It’s like the Gemara says in Kiddushin (72b): “Im raisa shtei mishpachos – If you
find a that two families are constantly fighting with each other you have to know that – shemetz psul yesh b’achas meihem – something is wrong with one of the families.
Something is wrong with their lineage, their pedigree, and Hakodosh Boruch Hu
doesn’t want the good family to be adulterated by intermarriage with the inferior
So what do we learn from this?
That hatred is sent by Hakodosh Boruch Hu for a purpose.
And the function is to cause a wall to be erected where there is danger of overstepping the boundary.
(A lot of good lies within the original American values, based on values found in Tanach. However, they still are not purely Torah values as applicable to Jews.)
Then a non-Jew throws a banana peel at the Jew or shouts something at the Jew, and all of the sudden, the Jew doesn't feel so comfortable.
The hostility reminds the Jew that he is not really a part of America (though a Jew should be a loyal, grateful citizen of America).
But the Jew is not really a part of American society.
A Jew is a Jew—a Nation apart.
And this separation is good for everyone—both Jews & non-Jews.
On pages 13-14, Rav Miller discusses the time period leading up to the Holocaust, including his own positive experience in German during that time. He also examines Holocaust studies, explaining why they're misguided in the light of authentic Torah hashkafah.
We've seen this recently in Eretz Yisrael.
In Lod, people who formerly enjoyed friendly relations with their Yishmaelite neighbors found themselves viciously & mercilessly attacked.
The Democrat party in America, traditionally favored by assimilating Jews & considered a pro-Israel party, has increasingly turned against Israel.
Democrats produce more & more politicians who hate Israel and who don't like Jews or Torah values much either.
The liberal side, embraced overwhelmingly by the assimilating Jewish population in America, increasingly opposes Torah ethics by embracing euthanasia, abortion, same-gender marriage, gender confusion & gender manipulation, wanton "relationships," unwed single motherhood, extremely immodest dress (for women only of course; men still need to wear suits & ties), and atheism...while opposing circumcision & anything religious.
Many Jews, rather than taking the cue to get out of the muck, seek instead to find within Torah support for these harmful views.
And the pareve-neutral areas keep shrinking.
For example, America formerly enabled the concept of "neutral" or "pareve."
Magazines, newspapers, and sports games used to be considered perfectly acceptable among the majority of frum people.
But with formerly conservative family magazines now promoting inane or immoral values, plus sports games presenting truly appalling half-time shows, frum Jews need to wean themselves off these formerly "neutral" pastimes.
Standard popular newspapers now promote every kind of bad thing, regularly publish fake news & deceptive headlines (humpback whales CANNOT physically "swallow" a grown man & his scuba tanks), and consistently present in the worst light religious Jews & Jews living in Eretz Yisrael.
For example, one respected newspaper manipulated its language to deceive readers into thinking that ambulances cannot enter ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods on Shabbat or they risk getting stoned.
As everyone knows, the opposite is true.
The ultra-Orthodox Jews themselves call the ambulances to tend to their needs of pikuach nefesh on Shabbat.
In one formerly conservative family magazine—one of America's most popular & snubbed by the holier-than-thou liberal readers of the New Yorker—I wanted to read some of their inspiring stories.
I found stories lauding same-gender relationships, gender confusion, a same-gender-attracted man who adopted a Downs syndrome girl (poor girl!), and a dog profiled as a hero because of all his blood donations to other dogs.
(Dogs lack bechirah & cannot choose or refuse to donate blood. Why is the DOG heroic? The dog had no say in the matter.)
One of the century's most popular weight loss programs promotes its support of same-gender lasciviousness on the landing page of its website.
A formerly clean magazine geared toward family women once hosted a regular feature of the cute things children say.
10 years later, the same magazine had eliminated that feature and replaced it with a fictional serial glorifying an unfaithful wife.
And yes, this is also a sifting process.
The current culture in modern society forced frum Jews to take stock of themselves.
Clues for the Clueless
Their children are often not Jewish & their way of celebrating Jewish holy days lacks meaning.
The tide turns against them too as their beloved Democrat party supports leaders who dislike Jews in general (and not "just" Israel).
In the non-Orthodox community in which I grew up, the cantor's wife complained to me that the Jewish boys davka did not want to marry Jewish girls.
I also noticed they lost their permanent "rabbi" & have been stumbling along with temporary "rabbis" who leave after a year or so.
Their congregation's "rabbi" used to earn 6-figure salaries for doing shockingly little.
One "rabbi" they hosted for years rarely showed up for weekday Shacharit or Shabbat Mincha; there was no weekday Mincha or Maariv. Often, they lacked a minyan for weekday Shacharit, which led them to include women in the minyan count—and even that wasn't enough to reach 10.
As a preteen, I remember a handful of elderly congregants (who'd attended cheider in their early years in Eastern Europe) complaining, "Some rabbi! He doesn't even show up for Shachris during the week!"
The inclusion of women in the minyan also ruffled their feathers, but the more "progressive" congregants always overruled their objections.
When one of these elderly men discovered I was becoming frum, he gave me a tarnished pair of copper Shabbos candlesticks, saying there was no one to use them and he didn't want to throw them out.
Another elderly congregant was desperate for his 30something son to marry a Jewish girl, offering an expensive home & lots of money for the privilege.
I'm still haunted by the pain emanating from his face as he faced leaving no Jewish grandchildren behind him.
These guys should've gotten a clue & joined a real synagogue more in line with their standards.
Their pintele Yid was so evident, but they never managed to get their religious act together.
Anyway, that "rabbi" used to just hide in his office pretending to do stuff—earning 6 figures in the 80s & 90s!
Has their shrinking congregation left them unable to pay a "rabbi" who either does almost nothing or who produces lots of programs, but cannot rescue the sinking ship of intermarriage & disinterested Jews?
Or are there no more "rabbis" who wish to board a sinking ship for any price?
I'm not sure.
In contrast, the frum community there grows in leaps & bounds.
Chabad went from 2 little shuls to branching out all over the place.
An active kollel exists, as do plenty of Torah programs & shiurim.
A surprising percentage moved to Eretz Yisrael to settle in frum neighborhoods.
The contrast is so obvious.
The Jews who lack frumkeit but care about whatever Judaism they recognize—why can't they see the only way to keep Judaism alive is to actually live it according to Torah?
The truth is, many have already defected to the Orthodox congregations, baruch Hashem.
But here's the crunch for American Jewry:
In general, Jews are either heading toward frumkeit or drifting loose completely.
The non-Orthodox congregations in existence are increasingly filled by non-Jews (some of whom think they're Jewish & some of whom know they are not).
Only the frum communities show any growth.
Accessing Our Treasure
We should dwell apart with as much joy & enthusiasm as we can muster.
With unprecedented access to anti-Torah values encapsulated within an appealing shell, plus the captivating allure of the outside world, it's harder than ever to fully appreciate the treasure that sparkles within our souls.
But it's so important & ultimately so rewarding to invest in this as much as we can.