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A Trunk Load of Excuses

By Tzvi Fishman
1/24/2008, 12:00 AM
A reader writes that he won’t come to live in Israel as long as the political leadership is corrupt.

Imagine that our forefather Avraham said to G-d, “I won’t come to Israel as long as there are idol worshippers in the Land.”

Or, if Joshua had said to G-d, “I won’t bring the Jews to Israel as long as I have to fight the Canaanites.”

The point is that we don’t pick and choose what mitzvot we do because they are pleasing to us or not. That is Conservative Judaism.
To cling to the exile, holding on to an aging trunk filled with paltry excuses, while others do all the work – may the All Merciful One have mercy on us all.

We don’t say, “I won’t put on tefillin because they cost too much money.”

We don’t say, “I won’t wear tzitzit because they make me look funny.”

We don’t say, “I won’t eat matzah because it makes me constipated.”

Or, “I won’t keep kosher because not all kosher supervision is on the level.”

Or, “I won’t keep the laws of family purity because I want to kiss my wife whenever I like.”

Or, “I won’t pray because there are people in shul who talk during davening.”

We do the mitzvot because Hashem commanded us to do them. Especially when it comes to the mitzvah that the entire Torah is based on – the mitzvah of living in the Land of Israel.

Thank G-d that the brave and holy pioneers that returned to settle Eretz Yisrael in the last century did not say, “We won’t come as long as there are Turks, and swamps, and mosquitoes in the Land.”

More than a hundred years ago, the unsurpassed Torah giant, The Gaon of Vilna, sent his students to settle the Land even though the journey was filled with danger, on sea and on land. He sent them even though the Turkish rulers in Israel were corrupt through and through.

Yes, the politicians leading today’s government in Israel are corrupt. But thank G-d there are Jews ruling here, and not Christians, Moslems, and Buddhists. Thank G-d that G-d has brought us back to our homeland, out from the exile of foreign lands. Thank G-d that we have the opportunity to fix things that need fixing.
 
Trunk load of excuses

But to cling to the exile, holding on to an aging trunk filled with paltry excuses, while others do all the work – may the All Merciful One have mercy on us all.