Defense/Security 10:05 PM 3/8/2014
Defense/Security 9:00 PM 3/8/2014
Defense/Security 7:48 PM 3/8/2014
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
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.
I would like to clear up any confusion about my being a rabbi or not. I am not a rabbi. Whenever people are misled by my beard and call me “Rabbi,” I immediately correct them, by saying that I am not a rabbi.
True, I have been studying Torah for the last 30 years, but I am not a rabbi. I have written, and co-written, and ghostwritten a number of books on Jewish Studies, but I am not a rabbi. I have written scores and scores of articles and thousands of pages on Judaism, read by hundreds of thousands of Jews all over the world, but I am not a rabbi. I have learned with and counseled numerous initiates to Judaism, but I am not a rabbi. I have dedicated thousands of hours to Jewish Education, but I am not a rabbi.
I suppose I could study for and pass the test that would grant me the certified status of a rabbi, but I have never liked tests, not in high school nor college, so I have never made an effort in that direction. I don’t need the title of rabbi to make a living, so why should I become a rabbi?
Additionally, the holy Torah giant, the Ohr HaChaim, writes that, in the time to come, the rabbis will be brought to judgment for not encouraging the Jews to abandon the exile and go to rebuild the nation of Israel in Eretz Yisrael at the time of the awakening of the Redemption (Parshat “Behar,” end of Ch. 25).
Accordingly, I am afraid that perhaps I don’t do everything that I should do to encourage Jews to come on aliyah, so it’s better not being a rabbi, since they hold the brunt of the responsibility.
Also, regarding “Shmirat HaBrit,” the holy Zohar teaches that it is the rabbis who will be held to account for not warning the people about the necessity of guarding the sanctity of their sexual lives, as it states:
“The leaders of the nation who know this, and yet do not actively protest, are the first to be punished… The leaders of the people are deemed responsible in every generation for transgressions to the sexual covenant, if they know of such, yet are not zealous in stamping it out. For they are required to be zealous in G-d’s behalf against this transgression, for this is the Covenant” (Zohar, Shemot, 3B).
So, in case I haven’t done my part in teaching my fellow Jews about the importance of safeguarding the Brit, I’d rather not be a rabbi.
I hope this is clear.
May the Almighty grace all of our Torah leaders with courage and wisdom, and bless their efforts to inspire our People to lead holier lives – in Eretz Yisrael.
and for those of you who like politics....
I WONDER WHO'S SIDE HUSSEIN OBAMA IS GOING TO TAKE?
Here's a photo of him bowing down to the King of Saudi Arabia. Later he claimed that it was just a spontaneous reaction, wanting to shine the King's shoes.
And here's a blog sent to me this morning by Yocheved Miriam Russo, http://bagelnosher.blogspot.com/, an accomplice in the trade:
Before Tzvi Fishman moved to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He also wrote one of my favorite books, the delightful “Tuvia in the Promised Land” which takes up where “Fiddler on the Roof” left off.
Fishman now writes a blog on Israel National News called, “Hollywood to the Holy Land”.
Back on November 19, 2007, Reb Fishman asked an interesting question, “What will happen to Ehud Olmert?”
At that time, as you may or may not remember, Ehud Olmert was Prime Minister of Israel and was intent on punishing Jews who lived in Judea and Samaria, and was trying as hard as he could to give away parts of Israel to its most dedicated enemies.
In Fishman’s words, Olmert had “… ordered a stop to all settlement, and (was) scheming to divide Jerusalem and surrender all of the heartland of Biblical Israel to murderers, liars and thieves.”
“What will be with Ehud Olmert?” Fishman asked, and then set forth a concise chronicle of what had happened to former Israeli Prime Ministers who had tried to alienate Jews from their homeland.
Menachem Begin, he noted, razed the Jewish settlement of Yamit and surrendered Sinai to the Egyptians. After that, Begin’s beloved wife passed away and he ended his days a broken man, in a deep and terrible depression.
Yitzhak Rabin, Fishman noted, had given guns and chunks of the Holy Land to arch terrorist Yasser Arafat. Following that, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
Ariel Sharon -- who to this day lies in PVS (permanent vegetative state) – had his brain destroyed after the disastrous “disengagement” in which he gave Aza to the Hamas terrorists and destroyed settlements in Samaria.
So back in November, 2007, as then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plotted to divide Jerusalem and turn over Judea and Samaria to our enemies, Fishman wondered: So what will happen to Ehud Olmert?
Well, now we know.
At this writing, Ehud Olmert is in a US hospital undergoing cancer surgery. Not only that, but his corrupt dealings during his political career have not been forgotten. Just the other day, his attorneys petitioned the court to have further hearings on just one of his nefarious schemes delayed while Olmert is hospitalized, but this time the court ruled no, the hearing could no longer be deferred.
Suffering from cancer and knowing that for the rest of his life, however long he lives, he will either be in prison for his misdeeds, or daily facing a cadre of lawyers as he struggles to stay out, Olmert has joined his predecessors. The chickens have come home to roost for Ehud Olmert, too.
So now I wonder: What will happen to the mighty Barack Obama, as he too tries to savage little Israel, and demands an end to settlements?
You’d think that by now, world leaders would be a little wary, wouldn’t you?
You’d think they could learn from history, even if they’ve never heard of Genesis 12:
“And those who bless you, I will bless; and those who curse you, I will curse—and blessing and goodness will come to all the families of the earth, through you."
Food for thought. Maybe we should sign her up at Arutz 7?
While we are still talking about Shavuot, I want to let everyone know that the Jerusalem Splat Team has begun it modesty patrols of the streets of the Holy City.
That’s right. Splat Team. Not Swat Team. Splat Team. Me and a group of friends will be using paintball guns to clean up the streets of the city.
Let me explain. Now that summertime is upon us, there are lots of confused woman who seem to think that showing off their b%bies in public is the best way of attracting attention. Poor things. I’m not blaming them. Most of them just want to get married. And the ones who already are married just want their husbands to look at them. But whatever the reason, it isn’t a good thing for the Holy City, because, as our Sages teach us, the G-d of Israel hates licentiousness. Besides bringing great spiritual harm on themselves, these misguided women cause the multitudes to sin, since unwary men are drawn to violate the Torah commandment, “You shall not stray after your hearts and your eyes which lead you astray.”
So we have invested in some professional paintball gear, and our all-volunteer Splat Team is out on daily patrols.
Any woman who is spotted on the streets of Jerusalem wearing immodest apparel is a target. We figure that after getting blasted with a fast-moving ball of paint, Sheila will think twice before leaving her house again looking like a Times Square hooker.
We know we’ll get apprehended by the police sooner or later, but our arrest will bring us great publicity, and that’s why we’re doing it. We are hoping to stimulate a public debate that will lead the religious parties to push through a modesty bill in the Knesset. We want women to be fined for dressing immodestly in public. After all, it’s no less a danger than reckless driving and cigarette smoking. In fact, according to a long list of great Rabbis, including the Chofetz Chaim, most of the Jewish People’s hardships stem from immodest behavior. We are even hoping to give the legislation real teeth so that repeat offenders will be imprisoned in special lock-ups for immodest women.
What does this have to do with Shavuot? Well, on Shavuot we stayed up all night studying Torah to show G-d how thankful we are that He gave His great treasure to the Jewish People. At the end of the learning, before immersing in the pre-dawn mikvah, which represents the fiftieth gate of holiness, we say a Kabbalistic prayer praising G-d and asking His forgiveness for the occasions when we strayed from the Torah.
Toward the end of the prayer, we say:
“May we be among those who merit life in the World To Come, and in the grace of Your Holy Name may all evil decrees be erased for us and for our children, and may Your benevolent eye always watch over us. And may the hardship we experienced in keeping our eyes open this sleepless night act as a rectification for the blemishes we caused to the “Divine Eye” in the highest spiritual worlds when we gazed at immodest things, behaving in an evil manner in Your Eyes, so that through this rectification we will be spared our souls being reincarnated in the bird called “Roeh” because of the transgressions we did with our eyes. And thus may we be spared the pains of burial, and from the cruel and destructive angel that smashes the eyes of the wicked in the grave. May our resisting sleep from our eyes this night in learning Your Holy Torah spare us from these punishments, so that we may go to our final rest in peace.”
If you want proof that Eretz Yisrael is the place where the commandments are meant to be performed, just take a look at the holiday of Shavuot.
The holiday of Shavuot has only two Torah commandments, both of which can only be performed in Eretz Yisrael. One is the bringing of the first fruits, “HaBikorim,” as is written: “And you shall take from the first of every fruit of the ground, which you shall bring from your Land” (Devarim, 26:2). Only fruits from the Land Of Israel (your Land) may be brought to Jerusalem on the Festival.
You can try bringing fruit or bread from Brooklyn, but it won’t be accepted. Not even fruit from Monsey, NY.
While Shavuot in the Diaspora is characterized by the emphasis on Torah study, in Israel, in addition to the intensive all-night Torah study which takes place all over the country, the days leading to the holiday are marked by songs of Eretz Yisrael on the radio, agricultural exhibitions in school, and parades celebrating the new harvest and the fruits of Eretz Yisrael, in the joyous spirit of the pageant bringing of the first fruits to Jerusalem in days of yore.
Thus, the Festival of Shavuot is intrinsically bound with the praising Hashem for the agricultural bounty of Eretz Yisrael. This praise and sense of gratitude is highlighted in the speech that every Jew must make to the Kohen when he brings his first fruits to the Temple:
“I profess this day to the L-rd thy G-d that I am come to the country that the L-rd swore to our fathers to give us… and He brought us to this place and gave us this Land, a Land flowing with milk and honey” (Devarim, 26:1-15).
Additionally, the bringing of the Omer, upon which the Counting of the Omer is based between Pesach and Shavuot, can only be brought from Eretz Yisrael, as the Torah commands: “When you come to the Land… and reap its harvest, then you shall bring an omer of your first harvest to the kohen” (Vayikra, 23:10), meaning only “its harvest” from the Land of Israel. In fact, the Mishna teaches that: “Any mitzvah involving land applies only in Eretz Yisrael” (Kiddushin, 1:9).
The centrality of Eretz Yisrael to Jewish life can also be seen in other aspects of the Shavuot holiday. For instance, in Megillat Ruth, when Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, and two sons, Machlon and Kilyon, abandon the Land of Israel and go to Moav, they are stricken to death in Divine punishment for leaving the Land.
Also, we honor King David, who was born and died on Shavuot day, by reading from the Book of Psalms. King David was so fervently attached to Eretz Yisrael that he looked upon leaving it as if he were forced to worship idols. When he had to escape to the land of the Philistines in order to escape Saul, who was pursuing him in murderous wrath, David moaned, “For they have driven me out his day from being joined to the inheritance of the L-rd, saying ‘Go serve other gods’” (Shmuel 1:26:19). The Talmud asks, “Did someone really tell David to serve other gods?” In answer, the Talmud states: “Rather, it comes to teach you that anyone who dwells outside the Land of Israel is like someone who worships idols” (Ketubot 110B).
To be continued.
Like I wrote yesterday, the young American kids that come over to our house for a Shabbat meal know practically nothing about Jewish history and Judaism. So, while they are chomping my on my wife’s delicious cooking, I try to give them a crash course in world history from a Torah point of view.
You’ll have to settle with a condensed version, because it’s still early in the morning, and without the etrog liquor of Shabbat, it’s hard to get inspired.
So here goes….
“In the beginning, the L-rd created the heaven and the earth.”
This means, guys, that the world has a King. Our lives are dependent upon Him. We may think everything happens automatically by nature, but in fact, we can only speak, and see, and talk, and walk, because of Him. Every second of our lives come from Him. The minute He turns the switch off, it’s curtains. So when the King of the World gives a command, it’s our job to obey.
That’s the whole story of the Garden of Eden. It isn’t an historic, scientific account of Creation, but a simple moral lesson. G-d is the Creator and King, and we are His servants. When He gives us a command, He wants us to do it. It’s as simple as that. Adam and Eve blew it, so they were expelled from the Garden. History Lesson #1.
Now you guys know the story of Noah and the Ark, right? Noah was supposed to take Adam’s place and teach the world the very same lesson, that G-d is the King and that mankind is here to serve Him, but when he left the ark after the floodwaters subsided, he got a little too pickled, and he ended up blowing it too, just like Adam before him.
Usually, in deference to my wife, who sits like an angel at the other end of the table, I don’t go into the details about how the sexual immorality of the generation bought on the flood, and how, on a Kabbalistic level, the Covenant of the rainbow represents the Brit. Instead, at the end of the meal, I give each guest a present of my book on Jewish Sexuality, where they can find everything they wanted to know about Jewish sexuality but were too embarrassed to ask. (Hee hee hee hee hee!)
Then comes the Tower of Babel when people started shooting arrows at G-d, hoping to kill Him, because they didn’t want anyone interfering in their lives and telling them what they could do in their bedrooms and out on the street.
So, in punishment, mankind was scattered to the four corners of the globe, just like they had been scattering their you-know-what all over the place, and matters kept getting worse until Abraham appeared on the scene and began teaching the world’s heathens that there was only one G-d who ruled over the world and expected people to do His bidding. Of course, no one wanted to hear about that, so they threw him into a burning furnace. Seeing that there was finally someone on earth who could take Adam’s place, G-d miraculously saved Abraham and commanded him to go to a special holy location, the Land of Israel, that had been especially created for holy souls like his. There, in the HOLY LAND, Abraham and his offspring would teach the whole world the message of G-d, not as scattered individuals around the globe, but as a unique, HOLY NATION, in its unique HOLY LAND.
Once again, in deference to my angel of a wife, who patiently puts up with hearing the same old story, because she knows how important it is for these kids to hear the truth at least one time in their lives, in deference to her, I don’t go into the details of the Brit between G-d and Abraham, trusting that they will read about it in my book on the plane ride back to Babylon.
After popping open a new bottle of wine and mixing it with a few beers, I tell them about the famine in the Land and the bondage in Egypt until finally G-d had mercy and commanded Moses to take the Jews out of Egypt and bring them back to Eretz Yisrael.
Which brings us to Shavuot, commemorating the giving of the Torah, which is just a few days away. G-d freed us from bondage in Egypt, I tell them, but we didn’t yet know who we were. For over 200 years, we had been slaves to Egypt, surrounded by their perverse and immoral culture, which screwed up our brains, just like growing up in the immoral culture of America screws up our brains today. But now we left Egypt and were a newborn nation on our own – who were we? What kind of nation were we to be? We were to be G-d’s CHOSEN NATION, his messengers in the world, by being a HOLY NATION in our special HOLY LAND, as it says, “From ZION shall go forth Torah, and the word of the L-rd from JERUSALEM.”
But before we could get there, there was a stop on the way, at Mount Sinai, to pick up the Torah, which was going to be our national constitution, just like every nation needs a constitution and charter. For the Jewish People to live in our special HOLY LAND, we needed a special holy culture and way of life, so the Land wouldn’t spit us out, like it was about to spit out the heathen savages that were dwelling there when we arrived with Joshua and his trumpets.
Believe me, the story is a lot more exciting when I tell it in person, because the etrog liquor goes to my head and I begin to march in circles around the table, singing “Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho. Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down!”
But, even though we had just witnessed the spitting of the sea and the greatest miracles in the world in Egypt, and even though we just heard the voice of G-d booming out to us from a cloud on the mountain, we blew it, like Adam and Noah of old, first with the golden calf, and then with the greatest transgression in Jewish history, the devastating sin of the Spies who discouraged the Jews from journeying on to Israel. For this act of rebellion, G-d killed the entire generation, except for the women and children, and we had to wait forty years for a braver generation to arise, a generation of free men, who were not slaves to a foreign culture, just like you-know-who today in America, England, South Africa, Australia, and France.
L’chaim! Drink and be merry! While their mouths are stuffed with shnitzel and chulent, and their heads are swirling with wine, I make a swift, painless incision in the back of their skulls and remove their duped and pasteurized brains.
“We’d rather sit and learn Tooooorah in the desert!” the Spies proclaimed. “In Israel, we’ll have to fight in the army, and work hard to make a living, while here we’ve got it made with air conditioned shuls and swimming pools in our backyards.”
So G-d wiped them out for rebelling against His word in refusing to make aliyah to Israel. Obviously, they hadn’t learned the lesson of Adam. They wanted to do what they wanted to do – not what G-d commanded. They wanted the “good life,” rather than journeying on to the Promised Land.
But it doesn’t work that way, guys. Cause, just like if you fill a car engine with the wrong kind of gas, the motor goes kaput, if you fill up a Jew’s head with a foreign culture, or with a water-downed Torah that pretends a Jew isn’t supposed to live his life in Israel, the motor is going to die out.
So my good friends, from the time of the Exodus from Egypt and that first Shavuot with the giving of the Torah until today, G-d has commanded us to be the People of Israel, “Bnei Yisrael.” Not the people of America, and not the people of France, but the “Children of Israel,” because the Torah is supposed to be lived in Israel, just like G-d says over and over and over again in the Torah, chapter after chapter after chapter, to make sure that everyone gets the message.
Now it’s time to bring the special bottle of etrog liquor to the table. If I am already too smashed, I ask one of my teenage sons to read our guests some verses in the Torah in their funny, Moses Brown-sounding English, commanded the Jews to observe the Torah in Israel.
As Sholom Aleichem would say, “To make a long story short,” the Jews finally got to the Promised Land, but we blew it again when we strayed from keeping the Torah. Just like G-d had warned, He kicked us out of our Land, just as He had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden.
But when the time came to return home from Babylon, we still hadn’t learned the lesson. Most of the Babylonian Jews preferred to stay in a foreign land with their businesses and riches, just like today, rather than return to rebuild the Jewish Monarchy and Temple. And even though G-d gave us another chance, we blew it once again with our transgressions until G-d kicked us out of the Holy Land again, this time for 2000 years, when we were scattered amongst the nations, a hated minority in other people’s lands, persecuted and plundered, until we thought that we could escape the “Jewish Problem” by being good Spaniards and Germans, until that backfired on us too when the goyim sooner or later reminded us that we were Jews who didn’t belong in their countries. If it wasn’t the Christian slaughtering millions of us, and the Moslems trying to slaughter the rest, it was the Nazis and the Leninists and the Americans with their bear hug of assimilation that is eating away at our ranks like a silent, but deadly flu.
In the beginning, we clung faithfully to the Torah, because G-d commanded us to keep observing the mitzvot even though we were exiled to foreign lands – so that we would remember how to do them when we came back to Israel to live once again as a proud Jewish NATION in our special HOLY LAND, because the Torah can be complete only in Israel, and not in gentile lands where it is but an amputated, truncated reminder, which many abandoned, or tried to homogenize in order to blend in with the goyim, so that finally guys like you know nothing about your history and heritage at all.
Get up off the floor, you innocent babes who have been kidnapped from the noble inheritance of your Forefathers and raised up amongst the imposters who claim to have taken our place as the chosen of G-d! You want to know about your birthright?! Well, you’re hearing about it now! Listen to what I have to say, or you won’t get any of my wife’s homemade, parve ice cream and cake.
You are not Americans! You are Jews. Children of Israel! You don’t belong in America. You belong in Israel. But nobody ever told you the true story before, so all you think about is the latest movies, getting stoned, and what kind of jobs you are going to have.
And don’t think that this is just the ranting of some crazy religious long beard who doesn’t know what the world is really about, cause take a look at this picture from my Hollywood days when I was living the great big American lie, chasing after money and fame in order to be accepted like one of the goyim.
I’m a guy who’s been there and back, with battle scars all over my body, so listen good when I tell you that there’s no escaping being a Jew, cause there’s no escaping G-d! It’s all in the Bible, fellas. It’s all in these hundreds of books on the shelves of this house, books that you won’t find in your gentile universities, or in your Americanized homes, because no one wants you to discover the truth. But open your ears and open your eyes, and see for yourselves! G-d promised to bring us back to Israel, and He is bringing us back! And now you have become a part of it!
Have a little more liquor, guys, and let’s take a flight into outer space. Imagine you’re in a space station looking back down toward the Earth. Imagine that all the Jews are little lights. What do you see?
For the last hundred years, you’d see lights from all over the world slowly congregating to the Land of Israel. Little by little, the lights in the Diaspora flicker and fade, and a great beacon of light shines out of Israel. G-d is bringing us back! That’s what’s happening, Mr. Jones, whether or not you know what it is! “When the L-rd brings back the captives of Zion, we were like those who dream!” And now you guys are part of this colossal historic undertaking. You too have come back to Israel. The door has been opened. Your eyes have been made to see. The Almighty G-d of Israel has chosen you three guys and brought you here to this house so that you can hear the truth, and see what’s really going on, baby, to get hip to what the life of a Jew is all about, to learn who you really are and what your real mission is in this world.
And if you want to know the real reason why the whole world goes nuts when a handful of Jews start to live in a caravan on top of a deserted hillside in the middle of nowhere, it is because when G-d kicked the Jews out of Israel 2000 years ago, the Christians began teaching that G-d had abandoned the Jews and chose the Christians instead, Heaven forbid. So when we return to the Land of Iasrael and build a superpower in 60 short years, the Vatican and the Christian world freaks out because it’s a slap in the face to their founding doctrine, exposing the lie they have been peddling over the world. And when Israel returns to its homeland, the Arabs go wild, cause Islam was founded on the claim that Allah abandoned the Jews and the Christians and chose the Moslems instead, Heaven forbid, so that when we smash them to smithereens in war after war, their prophet and doctrines are exposed for the utter falsehoods they are, so the Moslems and Christians go bananas when Jews with yarmulkes and tzitzit return to the cities and hilltops of the Bible,
So the nations do everything in their power to stop the settlers and divide up our Land. Cause they know that if the Jews return to settle all of the Promised Land and rebuilt the ancient Temple, then their religions are finished, and if they acknowledge the G-d of Israel as the one and only G-d, then they are going to have to give up their corrupt and adulterous ways, and live according to the rules of the Garden.
So my dear young friends – the choice is before you. You can return to your make-believe lives as Americans and read my blogs on Arutz 7, or you can hop on the spaceship Enterprise of Jewish destiny and become a partner with G-d in bringing the Jewish People back to Israel and rebuilding the HOLY NATION OF ISRAEL in its HOLY LAND.
As it says in the Blessing after Meals, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the L-rd your G-d for the GOOD LAND he has given you,” and it ain’t talkin about Brooklyn or LA, my friends, no it ain’t talkin about Brooklyn or LA.
Happy Shavuot from the Fishman house in Jerusalem!
Yesterday, at our Shabbat morning meal, we hosted three college-age boys who are visiting Israel for ten days on a Birthright trip. We live near one of the Jerusalem hotels that Birthright uses, so we are often asked to give these young students an Israeli family experience. I’m not sure the experience they encounter at the Fishman house with the fanatic IsraelNN blogger is what the organizers of the program have in mind, but they keep sending them over, so I guess no one has complained.
Like a anesthesiologist before an operation, I usually get them a little drunk at the beginning of the meal, so I can begin to work on transplanting their brains. It is always sad to see how growing up in America has lobotomized these innocent souls from a Jewish point of view. They don’t know Jewish history, they don’t know anything about Judaism, and usually they only know a few words of Hebrew, at best how to pronounce the letters without understanding what they read.
“Are they really Jewish?” my children ask in amazement, not understanding how a person can be Jewish and not even speak Hebrew.
“Yes, they are Jewish,” I answer, “But they grew up in America amongst the gentiles, and no one ever taught them anything about Judaism, so they think they are Americans like everyone else there.”
At least they think that way when they first show up at our door. But after three hours of my wife’s delicious cooking, my ranting and raving, and a knock-out combination of Kiddush wine, beer, Arak, and a devastatingly potent etrog liquor from the Golan Heights, they stagger out of our home back to their hotel with a new way of looking at the world.
The sad truth is that even when we host young religious visitors from America, the situation isn’t much different. True, they know more about Jewish history and Judaism than their non-religious counterparts, but their heads are still screwed on backwards nonetheless. They too believe that they are American, which reveals just how little they truly understand about Judaism.
As we have stated many times, in many different ways, Judaism is more than eating gefilte fish and observing the Jewish holidays. True Judaism, the Judaism that Moses taught the Jewish People, is not merely a religion, but a NATIONALITY. The Torah is not just a list of precepts, but the CONSTITUTION of the JEWISH NATION. Judaism means building a Torah NATION in ERETZ YISRAEL. Yes, the citizens of that Nation eat gefilte fish and observe the Jewish holidays, but they also are also charged with serving in the army, settling the Land, establishing a Jewish judicial system, building the Temple, keeping the agricultural laws indigenous to the Holy Land, in order to show the world that not only are individuals supposed to be moral and G-d fearing, but that entire NATIONS are supposed to serve G-d as well.
By definition, a Jew cannot be an American, or a Frenchmen, or a Mexican. He can possess a piece of paper, or an identity card, saying that he holds American citizenship, but that is just some superficial, bureaucratic paperwork. In his essence, a Jew is a “Bnei Yisrael,” a “Son of Israel.” He cannot be anything else. Yes, he can dress like a Frenchman, and talk like a Frenchman, and act like a Frenchman, but he isn’t a Frenchmen. He is a “Bnei Yisrael.”
What is a Jew? A Jew is part of a HOLY NATION. He has his own Jewish homeland. He has his own Jewish constitution and laws, that include his own form of religious government, and Jewish monarchy. A Jew has a Divine Jewish destiny and calling that separates him from the other peoples of the world, just as the heart is separated from the other organs of the body, but serves as its power source and center.
A Jew may adopt, out of compulsion or habit, the dress and language of some other nation, but it is by nature a passing, temporary, costume during the exile, in the lands of his captivity, before he returns to his true self – as a “Son of Israel,” living a Torah life in the Land of Israel.
The problem is that we forget. We forget who we really are. After years and years in exile, we become so used to the foreign costumes and ways, we come to believe in the charade. Nobody informs us otherwise. Not our parents, not our teachers, not our rabbis.
Until they innocently wander into the Fishman house for a Sabbath meal and POW! Fishman lets them have it smack in the face! While the Birthright program has good intentions, their organizers and guides are afraid to tell the truth about being Jewish, lest parents get angry and the program gets canceled for turning kids on to being TOO Jewish and wanting to live in Israel.
What do I tell them? I tell them about the history of the world according to Moses. And about Shavuot. But you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to hear the story yourselves. Meanwhile, get a few bottles of beer ready and some whiskey, or whatever it takes you to get in the mood to hear about the one and only Magical Mystery Tour of the Jews.