<I>Devarim</I>: Finding the Diamonds

I have merited to see the holiness of Eretz Israel

Aloh Naaleh,

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aliyah-r.jpg
Arutz 7
The book of Devarim consists of the final words of Moshe Rabbeinu to the people of Israel. Thirty-seven days before his death, he delivers his charge to a nation about to enter Eretz Israel. This coming week, we bridge the gap, so to speak, between Shabbat Chazon, reliving the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, and Shabbat Nachamu, its
The Rebbe ran home, locked himself in his study and did not emerge for several weeks.
consolation and reconstruction.

Rabbi S. Y. Zevin tells of a tzaddik known as the Bat Ayin who was the rabbi of a city in Russia. A meshulach from Eretz Israel came and described the beauty and majesty of the Land. In summation, he said, "Rebbe, what more can I say; the simple stones of Israel are mamash yahalomim (truly diamonds)." Very inspired, the Rebbe decided to make aliyah. After much travail and effort, he arrived in Tzfat and was immediately recognized as a rabbinic leader and tzaddik.

Years later, the Rebbe met the meshulach and thanked him profusely: "I see with my own eyes that your praises of the Land are true, except what you said about the stones being diamonds."

The meshulach's response: "Nu, when one is zocheh, one sees."

Taken aback and quite agitated, the Rebbe ran home, locked himself in his study and did not emerge for several weeks. Finally, in a state of great joy, he came out and requested that a banquet be prepared. At the feast, the Bat Ayin retold the events precipitating his Aliyah and his recent encounter with the meshulach.

"I am certain," he said, "that this was a message from above that I had not yet been zocheh to a true appreciation of our Holy Land. I fasted and implored God to open my eyes. Today, I can finally say, in truth, that I see the simple stones of Israel as diamonds."

The holy stones already exist. We merely need the eyes to appreciate them.

The Talmud relates: "All who mourn over Jerusalem will merit and see its rejoicing." Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook asks: Why isn't it sufficient to say he will "see" its rejoicing? He explains that many people will one day see Jerusalem in its glory, but only those with the "eyes" and special merit will experience and appreciate its splendor.

In these past ten months, I have merited to see the holiness of Eretz Israel in four ways.
The holy stones already exist. We merely need the eyes to appreciate them.
My davening and learning have been enhanced and intensified with a "booster shot" of spiritual vitamins. The chesed performed by "regular" people leaves me speechless. And, finally, the range of skin tones, languages, cultures and hashkafot leave me breathless. May we all merit quickly to see the diamond inside every stone of our Land and in every Jew.
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Rabbi Harry Greenspan and family made Aliyah through Nefesh B'Nefesh last September. He directed the Adult Torah Programs at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles for almost 14 years, and is currently seeking employment in avodat hakodesh. He can be reached at rabbispan@yahoo.com or at 02-995-1485.




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