The People of the Coin in the Empty Jar

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Miketz 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]

The people of the "coin in the empty jar" are a large public the world over, transcending ethnicity, religion, and social status. Their slogan is: "A coin in an empty jar rattles" (Baba Metzia 85b). That is, shaking a small coin in an empty jar will make a lot of noise, as opposed to a jar full of coins, which is silent. Since these people are empty, they find consolation in making noise, putting on airs, and spouting their nonsense in every direction.
In every society they constitute a small but loud minority, and the media loves and nurtures them, seeking them out the way a fly loves dirt. Those noisemakers are a constant, never disappointing source of fascinating news at all times. They make news, but they don't make history. Those who make history are the mainstream, who eschew extremism, working steadily, quietly and assuredly, bringing the world a blessing. This being the case, they are happy with their lot and busy with their work.
The empty people however, since they will not produce, are sunken in anger. Surely, Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook taught us: "The source of danger derives from their lack of spiritual creativity." (Orot Ha- Kodesh 3:246). And therefore: "When we see any faction or party always expressing itself in anger, that's a sure sign of its mindlessness, of its having no content with which to fill up its emptiness, and it harbors sincere anger at itself. Nonetheless, its own ego emerges and forces it to impose its anger on others" (ibid. 245). The empty-jar rattlers are empty himself, so they make noise. Otherwise, nobody will know they exist. Perhaps they, themselves, will not know that they exist. So, they make empty noise.
Yet 99% of people make history. Obviously, not everybody is the commander-in-chief of the army, but every soldier has a place in history. Not everybody built the country, but if somebody lives in it and works in it, he has a portion in that great enterprise. Therefore, all those people feel good. They feel complete. They rejoice in the joy of doing mitzvot.
Still, the empty-jar rattlers earn no living for anyone but the newsmen, and, of course, themselves. Sometimes they cast a pall upon their whole group, which is composed of fine, upstanding people. For example, there are Charedim who express their bitterness by burning trash containers, to the chagrin of almost the entire Charedi public, which finds itself horribly blemished. Indeed, I am not a Charedi, but I appreciate Charedim and love them. As far as the burners of trash containers, however, I don't appreciate them.
But why should I be sorry about other people's coin rattlers, be they Charedim, secular, or leftists? Every public has its own rattlers. We, too, have got a few rusty coins spouting unending slogans in their empty jar: We are against the state (of the heretics), against the (criminal) government; against the (corrupt) army, we won't enlist, because in any event, the Army does nothing all day (except for uprooting settlements) and we shall refuse orders (true, we are not enlisting, but we will still find some way to refuse orders). I forgot the chronic opposition to the police (who behave like Nazis) and to the whole centrist stream (who are not serious people).
You've got to realize, however, that this is an unsolvable problem. There are always going to be people who rattle their coins in their empty jars. Since life is never going to be totally attuned to what we want, we have to understand that various reactions are likely.
Therefore, our relationship to the rattlers' party has to have two aspects: 1. Not to get excited.
This is a childhood illness – albeit involving a prolonged childhood. 2. We have to love and
respect our fellow Jew. After all, he is our flesh and blood.