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Effective Vaccine
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

Over 33 million people worldwide test positive for the HIV virus, which is believed to cause AIDS. Doctors are searching for a vaccine against the HIV virus, but so far have been hampered by its high mutation rate. Since the virus changes form so rapidly, a vaccine designed for one form of the virus will not be effective against another.

Spiritually, we must also combat various deadly "diseases," but with a difference: There is a vaccine! The Yetzer Hara, the evil inclination, is very clever, and has the power to confuse us and lead us astray. It can morph into many different forms, according to the mode of the generation and the individual. Even within an individual, the evil inclination will modify its approach according to the situation at hand. For example, the idols that our ancestors were drawn to worship are now nothing more than archeological curiosities. Today, we may be tempted by salacious content on the internet and other forms of media. However, in time this enticement will pass as well and the computer chip will be looked upon as a harmless piece of silicon, with no power to arouse temptation.

The tactics used against the evil inclination in one generation are no longer effective in the next. The vaccines that a child is given at a young age are no longer sufficient at a later age. However, there is one cure that will fight off the evil inclination at all times, in all its forms: "And they believed in G-d, and in Moses His servant." In every generation, G-d sends a special soul into the world, an "emanation" of the soul of Moses. It is enclothed in the body of the Jewish leader of the generation, who serves the same role as Moses did in his time. This leader serves as a conduit of divine blessing and inspiration to all the people of that generation. He teaches Torah to all the people in a manner that inspires them to make personal changes in their lives and bring the Torah's ideals into practice.

The teachings of the Torah, particularly as elucidated by the leader of the generation, serves as a vaccine against the evil inclination in all its disguises. Whatever new challenges arise in the culture around us, the Torah contains directives that can be applied to help us meet them. In particular, the teachings of Chassidism reveal the inner dimension of Torah and cause the truth of Torah to radiate within our souls.

We live in the final generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption. The spiritual battles of our time have already been fought by the Moses of our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. We are fortunate to have been given a chance to take part in those final battles. Now, as the final generation of exile, we expect at any moment to witness the final victory over evil with the immediate revelation of
Moshiach.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.

 

 


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