1. Jews are “compassionate, bashful, and kind.”1 These attributes are intrinsically good, and with Jews they are G‑dly. When Moshe Rabbeinu, the nasi of the Jewish people and the lover of the Jewish people,2 interceded on their behalf, he said, “for they are a stiff-necked nation.”3 At first glance that description is surprising. Does it sound positive?!

The answer is that the above three good attributes ought to be expressed in a way that is stiff-necked. One needs to be compassionate insistently. So, too, the other two positive attributes should be expressed insistently and vigorously, not merely in order to formally discharge one’s obligation.

2. The Sages teach4 that a person should conduct himself according to the custom of his current location. We learn this from two precedents: the angels who visited Avraham Avinu [and there “they ate”5 ], and Moshe Rabbeinu when he ascended the mountain. However, concerning Moshe Rabbeinu it is written that “he ate the bread of the mighty ones” [i.e., the angels],6 whereas concerning the angels it is written that “they feigned eating.”

This means that one should make “the custom of his current location” match his own location, and not leave one’s own location in order to adapt to the custom of his current location. Enough said.

All this applies to us and the customs of America. The customs that are not in harmony with the Torah should be utterly uprooted, and the others should be made to conform to the spirit of the Torah and its mitzvos.

3. The current world situation is awesome. Every individual worries now about the welfare of the public, and when many people gather together we should certainly keep the public in mind.

At home in the Old Country a child didn’t have to learn in cheder that a Jew is obligated to put on tefillin or wear tzitzis or observe Shabbos. He simply saw what his father and his melamed did, and he did the same. But in this country the fathers are busy “making a living.” The fathers who do keep up their davenen do so when their child is still asleep, and the entire burden of education is left in the hands of the melamdim. Rabbis and fathers are therefore obligated to enroll their children only in schools that provide a kosher education.