Sh'fot Hashoftim -- this well describes the period before the crowning of Am Yisroel's King -- Dovid Melech Yisroel. It was a time of chaos, a time when respect for the leaders of the Am was at a terrible low. But from this sad situation G-d's Kingship was established through a Moavite princess and a judge of Israel.
Today this much lower generation that we live in finds itself in a similar situation. Sh'fot Hashoftim is a common deficiency among observant Jews. The non-observant population to a much greater extent suffers from this malady and they have reached very low levels of disrespect for true justice, human feelings and life itself.
But we will not deal now with the terrible situation that prevails among the non-observant Jewish population in Israel. Instead we will focus on the so-called religious segment of the population. There are many types of Jews today that call themselves frum. Each one of these groups is sure that they have found the true way. But we are not going to investigate the pros and cons of each group's claim to eternity. No, we will go straight to the center of all of these outer circles and zero in on the ultra-Orthodox Jewish population.
Respect for our Torah scholars is the most basic concept in Judaism. Those who (heaven forbid) lack respect for our chachomim will (heaven forbid) soon not respect the words of their Father in Heaven. Sadly we are witnessing just such a time. Shfot Hashoftim, we judge our holy scholars and accept their judgments only when it coincides with our own desires. Yes, I am talking to the so-called Tzaddikim. Our bitachon is sadly lacking and one of the major reasons for this is our lack of trust in G-d's representatives. Even the words of Torah have become ideas to say amen to, but not to become our reality in life. Troubled people declare in their misery, "There is no Rav to speak to. I have been to so many and have not gotten an answer. No one can help me." The answer they most certainly got, but just didn't want to accept it because it went against the tendency of their hearts.
The heart is the key. If the heart desires the truth then man can achieve total bitachon. But the heart of even the frum man is lusting after the delights of this world. Mild as his desires may seem in comparison to his non-religious counterpart, still they separate him from his Torah.
We must educate the heart as well as the mind to G-d's truth. We are failing in our efforts to educate our children's hearts. We live in a generation that considers a boy who learns Torah with diligence and wants to continue learning Torah after his marriage, the only kind of boy that most girls and their families want for a choson. A generation with so many Kollels, Yeshivos, and cheders, why then is the respect for our Rabonim, our gedolim, so low? Because we are educating the minds of our children to Torah but the heart we ignore. We have a dor that speaks holy words of Torah with a heart that desires the opposite.
Fathers and mothers, look into your hearts. Try to discern if the true desire of your heart is to serve your Father in Heaven. If not, then go to your Rav and tell him that you want to make your heart's desire Truth. Beg him to give you a program to achieve this goal. Then accept what he says and do it even if it goes against your opinion or desire. The Rav, the Godol Hador is G-d's representative on earth and if you ask him for help then your puny opinion of what he tells you means nothing. Stop criticizing the Rabonim of other groups of Jews. Woe to the dor whose children openly tell jokes about Rabonim, Rebbes and other Gedolei Hador, all with parental approval. How can you hope to educate your children in such an atmosphere of disrespect?
Pitiful generation, raise yourself up, unite yourselves with your Gedolim and lust after Divine Truth. Humble yourself before the world of men so that eventually you will be able to reach the ultimate humility when you stand in front of the Divine Court on the day of judgment. If (Heaven forbid) you fail to achieve this great humility, even the fearful knowledge of Divine retribution will not help you to repent. The heart will be hardened by years of neglect and even the threat of oblivion will not soften it.
B'nei Torah, humble yourselves. Bring Torah into your hearts. If you fail (Heaven forbid) the Torah that you have learned will only work against you in Shomayim. Because Torah without heart is not Torah.
Only a generation that accepts G-d's chosen representatives will one day witness the crowning of Moshiach.