by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
Judaism has gone through fire and brimestone phases. Rebuke due to our terrible aveyrot (sins) and being distant from Hashem is part of our tradition and an active part of the past.
The problem with threats and punishment, as any parent knows (especially those with large families), is they lose their effectiveness. Either because the child challenges you (so do it), or because you apply the punishment - at which point the threat to repeat may be problematic (especially if the punishment is severe).
The Jewish people have been through generations of hard times. The Holocaust, the massacres, poverty and pogroms of the generations before. The rebuilding of Israel on Jewish blood, war every generation in Israel with generation after generation of existential threats (threat to very existence).
So if I shout at you DO TESHUVA or else, well, been there done that. Frankly the miracle is that the Jewish people are still here AND are still connected to Hashem. That Torah is NOT a memory, and synagogues still exist. That Jews are stepping out of the inner city and small towns, out of mountain villages and seaside cities, and returning to Torah and the path to Hashem.
The time of the smack down has passed. No one is paying attention to the hysterical rebukes. Even worse, not only is that approached ignored, it's counter productive - people turn off from it.
It certainly doesn't work outside the Jewish religious community, and it's not working anymore within the religious community (particularly with the young people). This is a lesson from the Baal Shem Tov returned to our time. Fire and brimstone leading to terror and depression are not successful long term strategies for motivating a positive relationship with Hashem.
Chassidus arose to take people OUT of the depressive path to one of serving Hashem with JOY. To loving our fellow, appreciating ourselves for the gifts of life and creation from Hashem, and focusing this live on the positive.
In a time of chaotic world events and information overload, when madmen declare their intention to destroy Israel and even former safe havens seem to be turning (slowly but not imperceptibly) against being a comfortable place as Jews, it's easy to fall into depression. It's also easy to stand up and scream TESHUVA, REPENTENCE, it's all because we're not perfect!
Indeed, we're not perfect. But given what the Jewish people have been through, we're doing pretty darn good!
World events are turning chaotic and downright frightening. But as it says in Yalkut Shimoni (Yishayahu Remez 499), and quoted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, "do not fear, for all that I've done I've done for you." Events are being lined up for the Geulah, and it's all for our good.
Lets do our part, and have a little faith in our Father in Heaven to give us a little credit and make it happen in a way we all recognize as revealed good.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא