<i>Matot-Masei</I>: We Need Jews

"I can no longer watch from afar as our brothers in Israel daily risk their lives for our future, and not be a part of them, and so, I am fulfilling what must be the destiny of every Jew. I hope you will join me."

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7
As I write these words, the rockets continue to fall on Israel's northern cities, even as our brave IDF forces battle the terrorists of Lebanon and Gaza.

How and when this latest chapter in the struggle for a secure Israel will end is unclear. But what is clear is that our enemies - north and south - are totally united in their Amalekian obsession to destroy us; we must therefore be no less united in our complete determination to sustain and support our precious homeland.

As I read through the words of our double sedra, my mind takes me back many years to an event indelibly imprinted upon my soul. The entire student body of our yeshiva in Skokie has gathered to hear an address by Dr. Yosef Babad, z.l., dean of students. It is the last time he will speak to us, for the dean, a man of 70 years, has decided to fulfill his lifelong dream and make Aliyah.

He opens a Chumash to our parsha and slowly recites Moshe's biting response to the tribes of Reuven, Gad and Menashe, who have petitioned Moshe to stay east of the Jordan, rather than join the rest of the nation in Israel proper:

"Ha'acheichem yavo'u l'milchama, v'atem tayshvu po?" - "Will your brothers then go out to battle, and you will remain here?"

Says Dr. Babad, "I can no longer watch from afar as our brothers in Israel daily risk their lives for our future, and not be a part of them, and so, I am fulfilling what must be the destiny of every Jew. I hope you will join me."

I am sure that he was - and still is - talking directly to me. That speech had a direct and profound effect on my life; from that moment on, I understood that my place was in Israel. Though the road was long and circuitous, I thank HaShem that I ultimately arrived at my chosen destination.

Each time hostilities break out in Israel, be it war or terror attacks, this "split personality" of the Jewish People - one foot in Israel, one foot in the Diaspora - emerges. While it is gratifying to know we are all together in our hearts - many people are praying for us and have sent donations to our cause - how much better it would be were we united with both our souls and our bodies. One people in one land.

The tribes east of the Jordan would heed Moshe's words and fight alongside their brethren. But then they would return to their "greener pastures" and what they thought was the good life. Alas, they would be the first of the tribes to go into Exile.

But the Exile's time has passed; now, it is time to come home. We need you. Chazak chazak v'nitchazek.

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