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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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      Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.


      Cheshvan 10, 5770, 10/28/2009

      Little Old Ladies and Rain

      The talkback attacks on our distinguished women’s choir must stop immediately. Please. You have to remember that our Matriarch, Sarah, was a little old lady too.

      Without Sarah, we wouldn’t be here today. After all, she shares the credit with Avraham by having agreed to abandon her birthplace and make the long trek to Israel with her husband. Remember, in those days, there weren’t jets to whisk you here in a few hours. The journey took months. Yet Sarah didn’t worry about leaving her mother, her beautician, and her Cadillac behind; nor her walk-in closet with a wardrobe of designer dresses and shoes, and her golden tiled bathroom with its wall-to-wall mirrors. She didn’t regret that she had to say goodbye to her bingo games, Lhasa Apso, and psychiatrist. Sarah threw a few suitcases onto the back of a camel and trudged off with her husband, a happy smile on her face, knowing that she was doing the Almighty’s will.

      In addition, it was Sarah who taught the world about modesty, keeping modestly inside her tent, out of sight, when strangers appeared. If not for her, and Jewish mothers after her who taught their daughters, generation after generation, about the supreme importance of modesty and dressing like an angel of G-d, we wouldn’t have made it through the onslaughts of exile. For, as the Chofetz Chaim, and many great rabbis have stated, it is modesty which has protected the Jewish Nation from its inception until today. It is modesty which brings down the Divine blessing that safeguards the Nation. And, as the Chofetz Chaim teaches, it is breaches in modesty, may G-d have mercy, which bring all of the disasters upon us.

      Thank G-d for our little old ladies. I am not talking about those sad and misguided perversions of beauty, little old Los Angeles ladies, who parade around in undersized teen fashions with their wrinkled krinkles jiggling like gefilta-fish jelly on a plate. I am talking about the paragons of modesty, Jewish women throughout the ages, who have resisted all of the seductions of “enlightenment” and modern fashions designed to transform the pinnacle of creation into a cheap object of animal lust.

      So three cheers and a hearty “Yasher Koach!” to our little old ladies. They are the true women of valor. Not the misguided imposters who strive so hard to compete with and outdo the females of the heathen. It is they, the loyal daughters of Sarah, who are the guardians of the Nation, careful to cover their bodies and their hair, inside the house and out, without screaming colors and tight-fitting fabrics, according to the guidelines of Jewish Law.

      Therefore, gentlemen, leave the little old ladies alone.


      Take your umbrellas and galoshes out of the closet! Get ready for the rain. Yesterday, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi and a group of sixty students journeyed up north to the forests of the Hermon to pray for rain.

      Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi

      Everyone kept a “taanit debor,” a fast against speaking. After finishing to recite the Book of Psalms, everyone recited the “Tikun HaKlali,” the “Tikun HaYesod Yeshuat Eliahu,” and the “Pitom HaKetoret Al Pe HaSod” to clean up the channels of national blessing that have been damaged from sexual wrongdoing. The pages of my book were splattered by a gentle preview of raindrops as I prayed along with the holy group.

      Rain-splattered prayers

      Rabbi Leon cried and cried like a baby, saying that if we repented and changed our ways, then G-d would surely answer our supplications. He cited overwhelming temptations of our times, sent by the followers of Bilaam and Balak, to weaken our connection to G-d; and the abominable parades in Jerusalem that openly flaunt the commandments of the Torah, in defiance of G-d and everything holy, just as in the days of Noach.

      Raindrops keep falling on my head...

      In the merit the prayers of all the Jewish People, the Torah learning of the men, and the modesty of the women, may G-d transform the Rabbi’s tears into raindrops of blessing, and fill up the dry shores of the Kinneret to overflowing.  Amen.     


      Cheshvan 8, 5770, 10/26/2009

      The Second Commandment

      The first commandment that G-d gave to Avraham was to live in the Land of Israel. What was the second commandment? To guard the holiness of his sexual life, as it says:

      “This is My Brit that you shall safeguard, between Me and you, and your seed after you, every male among you shall be circumcised” (Bereshit, 17:8-10).

      The meaning of safeguarding the Brit, as the Zohar explains, is not merely the obligation to circumcise our male children, but to guard our sexual holiness as well.

      These two commandments were to be the foundation of the Jewish Nation, in the great Divine plan of establishing G-d’s Kingdom on earth, whereby all mankind would come to know and serve its Creator.

      This Divine goal is to be achieved through the holy life of the Jewish Nation in the Land of Israel. Thus, G-d first brought Avraham to the Holy Land. Then, to build Avraham’s offspring into a Holy Nation, G-d gave Avraham the Covenant of the Brit.

      The third phase of this Divine process transpired generations later, with the giving of the Torah, the holy constitution of the newborn Jewish Nation, so that the Jewish People could conduct both their private and national lives in the holy fashion that the Holy Land demands.

      This NATIONAL sanctification of G-d, by the holy Jewish Nation, in the holy Land of Israel, is what brings G-d’s Presence into this world, bringing the nations to declare that the G-d of Israel is King over all the earth.

      Thus we see what an important role the laws of modesty and proper marital relations play in building the holy Jewish Nation and establishing G-d’s Kingdom on earth! How important it is to review these laws again and again so that we all can do our share in furthering this great holy enterprise, and not, G-d forbid, hamper its actualization in our time. For, as the Zohar repeatedly teaches, no transgression does more damage in removing G-d’s Presence from the world than transgressions to the Brit of sexual holiness.

      Therefore, adult readers are encouraged to review the detailed Laws of Marital Relations as explained by Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu; and the articles, the "Holiness of Marital Relations" by the Ramban, and “Keys to a Holy Union,”  by the Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi, posted on the jewishsexuality.com website.    

      Cheshvan 7, 5770, 10/25/2009

      Why Not Save Yourselves the Pain?

      Like I have written, I am only pointing out what any eight year old knows. Give the Torah portion of “Lech Lecha” to any eight-year old to read, and then ask him where Hashem wants Abraham and his descendants to live. Ten out of ten kids will answer, “In the Land of Israel.”   

      After all, Hashem could have arranged things so that Avraham was born in Israel, and not in the Diaspora. But by having Avraham born outside of the Land, and then  telling Avraham to leave his birthplace for the Land of Israel, G-d is setting forth an example for The Jewish People for all generations to come, making it clear that even if a Jew is born in the Diaspora, he is supposed to immigrate to Israel, just like his forefather Avraham.

      Did I say eight-year old? I think that even a six-year old can understand that.

      Besides, the Land of Israel is such a wonderful place. I shouldn’t have to convince people, or sell its attractions. For someone who really wants to live a Jewish life, this is the address. How can you compare a few Jewish bakeries and falafel shops in a dirty neighborhood in Brooklyn with an entire Jewish Land? You can’t.

      And if the positive attractions of being in G-d’s chosen Land are not enough for you, then please realize what’s in store for you if you settle down (and sink) permanently in the Diaspora. If you hope to be a part of the resurrection of the dead, then your bones are going to have to roll through a painful underground tunnel, thousands of excruciating miles to get to the Land of Israel, because the resurrection of the dead is only going to happen here.

      Don't wait till the last minute!

      As the Zohar teaches: “For when the days comes on which the Holy One Blessed Be He raises the dead to life, He will physically recreate all of those dead who have been buried in strange lands. But G-d will not restore their souls to them save in the Land of Israel,  as is written, ‘Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people, and I will bring you into the Land of Israel,’ (to which they will roll through subterranean passages, and then) ‘I will put My spirit in you, and you shall live’ (Ezekiel, 37:12-14; Zohar, Bereshit 69A).

      The description of that painful underground journey is too gory to quote in this blog.

      So why come here the hard way when you can fly here now in air-conditioned comfort and avoid all of the ugly bruises and broken bones?



      Cheshvan 6, 5770, 10/24/2009

      The Lords of Flatbush

      What were Hashem’s first words to Avraham? “Get thee forth OUT OF THY COUNTRY, and FROM THY BIRTHPLACE, and FROM THY FATHER’S HOUSE to the Land that I will show thee.”

      G-d didn’t tell Avraham to put on tefillin. He didn’t tell Avraham to keep Shabbos. G-d didn’t explain to him the laws of kashrut. G-d told him to go to Israel. If you want to serve Me, if you want to come closer to Me, if you want to be a holy Jew, go to Israel.

      This was G-d’s very first teaching to Avraham, the father of the Jewish People. G-d wants His People to be in the Land of Israel. G-d doesn’t want the Jewish People to be gentile lands. G-d told Avraham, and all of his descendants who were to come after him, if a Jew really wants to serve Hashem, he has to be in the Land of Israel. If a Jew really wants to get closer to Hashem, he has to be in the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel is step Number One. The Jewish People can only be the “great NATION” that we are supposed to be in the Land of Israel.

      That’s right. G-d’s plan for Avraham is to make a great NATION out of his descendants, not a bunch of gefilta-fish eaters scattered all over the globe, as G-d told Avraham, “and I will make of thee a great NATION.”

      Remember classes in Citizenship? A nation needs a land. Its own land. You cannot be a great nation if you are unwanted steppinfetchits in someone else’s land. And a special HOLY NATION needs a special HOLY LAND.

      "We ain't goin nowhere!"

      Lucky for us that G-d first spoke to Avraham, and not to the lords of Flatbush. Imagine what the conversation would have been like, if G-d had first spoken to some of our talkbackers.

      “And the L-rd said to the talkbacker, Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.”    

      “No way, G-d. I’m an American.”

      “And the L-rd said to the talkbacker, Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.”    

      “No way, G-d, I’m a Canadian.”

      “And the L-rd said to the talkbacker, Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.”    

      “No way, G-d. I can’t leave my parents.”

      “And the L-rd said to the talkbacker, Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.”    

      “No way, G-d, I don’t want to have to fight in the army.”

      “And the L-rd said to the talkbacker, Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.”

      “No way, G-d, I don’t like the government there.”

      “And the L-rd said to the talkbacker, Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.”    

      “No way, G-d, I don’t want to give up my 60-inch screen TV.”

      Lucky for us that G-d first spoke to Avraham, who immediately packed up his belongings and followed G-d’s command without whining and pounding his fists in a tantrum. Avraham believed in G-d. He believed that G-d would take care of him, as G-d promised: “and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great,” meaning that G-d would provide for his livelihood as well.

      Lucky for us that G-d first spoke to Avraham, and not to the lords of Flatbush. If He had, we’d still be in Ur Chasdim today.

      Cheshvan 4, 5770, 10/22/2009

      They Scoffed at Noach Too!

      They ridiculed him. They laughed. No one paid any attention to his warnings. For 120 years, he worked on building the ark, so that people would pass by and ask what he was doing, giving them a chance to repent.

      "Hey, Noach! What a cornball you are!"


      “Hey, Noach, what the heck are you building?”

      “An ark?”

      “A what?”

      “An ark.”

      “Why the heck are you doing that?”

      “Because Hashem is planning to destroy mankind because of its rampant sexual immorality.”

      “Ha ha ha,” they laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

      “I’m not kidding at all,” Noach answered.

      “What a joker!” they scoffed. “Stupidest thing we’ve ever heard!”

      In the end, no one took Noach’s warning seriously. No one changed his evil ways. The rest of the story is known to everyone – all of existence was wiped out in the flood, except Noach’s family and the animals he brought into the ark. 

      In deference to readers who don’t like discussions of sexual themes on this blog, the more detailed continuation of this essay can be found on our www.jewishsexuality.com website.