Yud-Alef Shvat is the yahrtzeit of the well-known teacher and
mentor. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Lipskier, of blessed memory, affectionately known
as Fitzy, who was taken in his prime in a car accident several years ago. The
following is an excerpt of a talk he gave at a farbrengen less than two weeks
before the tragedy.
The Gemara gives a whole list of the signs of Moshiach – when
you see such and such, Moshiach is about to come. One of the things mentioned is
chutzpa. There is no word in English for "chutzpa." Insolence,
audacity... Chutzpa – there is no word like it. Another way of saying it
is "no respect," lack of respect for elders, and the like.
So the question is like this: If that’s the case – that one
of the signs of the coming of Moshiach is chutzpa – shouldn’t we strive
to excel in chutzpa? Obviously the answer is NO! Why not? The answer is
simple: Chutzpa is one of the signs of the coming of Moshiach;
it’s not a preparation for Moshiach. In other words, if you see
chutzpa... For example, if you see a young shmendrik, a young punk,
if you see his lack of respect towards an older person – what are you supposed
to feel? It’s a disgrace. But, at the same time, don’t despair. Take it as a
sign that Moshiach is about to come.
When you see that the world has basically gone completely
crazy, as we see today, you might despair, get depressed. "It’s hopeless! This
is the end of the world!" You look around and you could literally get depressed.
That is, if you don’t have a Jewish outlook.
Look around. What do you see? Corruption is the way of life.
There are some straight people in the world, but corruption goes all the way to
the top. Decency, morals, and values, are a thing of the past. If you know a
little bit about what’s going on in our times, you see meshugas
If you look at it just from a secular perspective, there is
no future, there’s no hope in sight There is a total decay of values.
Governments are corrupt, there are no laws, there’s no decency, no values, and
so on and so forth. The world is filled with corruption, and it is in control,
it is in charge.
...The Gemara says that when you see these signs, don’t
despair – Moshiach is coming. This is the Jewish attitude: to read between the
lines, not to focus on the negative. And on the contrary, the negativity itself
is a sign that Moshiach is coming, and that things are about to get a lot better