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A Day in the Life of a Jew

By Tzvi Fishman
4/6/2008, 12:00 AM

Chodesh tov! The Midrash teaches that the first day of Nissan, when the Mishkan was erected in the wilderness, was the happiest day in Heaven since the Creation of the world.

In Jerusalem, you certainly feel a heightened joy, as the holiday of Pesach draws near. Last night the Kotel was crowded with people, including a large group of Breslov Hasidim who came to recite the Tikun Clalli, to dance, and to sing songs in honor of the new month and the birthday of Rebbe Nachman. Like every Motzei Shabbat, I joined the group that came to recite Tehillim and special Rosh Chodesh prayers with the holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi. What an incredible high!

HaRav Eliahu Leon Levi
Crowd in the Kotel Chamber
Like Father Like Son

Then, first thing this morning, after the mikvah and davening, I took my young sons to a garden down the street to recite the blessing over newly budding trees, with the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu. The blessing, said once a year in the month of Nissan, thanks G-d for creating a world in which nothing is lacking for our enjoyment.

HaRav Mordechai Eliahu
Teach your children well

Then we went off to bake matzahs with Rabbis from the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva. Just a page turn of history backwards, Jews in Russia weren’t allowed to make matzot. Today, these same Jews, now Israeli immigrants, have replaced the Arab worker in the matzah factory in Jerusalem. What a joy it is to see this clear sign of the Geulah in front of your eyes!

Russian Jews
Here they come!
Checking the machine for chametz

Later in the day, we hope to join a joyous procession that will bring a new Torah scroll to the Mercaz HaRav High School Yeshiva in honor of the eight boys that were murdered, symbolizing that their love of Torah and the Land of Israel will go forth with an even greater flame.

From there, we have to hurry to a wedding of family friends. It’s a lot of events and happiness to squeeze into one day, but that typifies life in Israel. The Holy Land is the center of the world, and Jerusalem is its vortex. Here, everything spins so fast that it is impossible to keep up with the dizzying pace. This is life in the fast lane. As the complete Redemption draws closer, the spinner gets faster and faster. I am sure that my fellow Israeli readers will agree that here in Israel, ten, twenty, a hundred lifetimes are compressed into one. Things happen so quickly, we undergo daily life changes at a centrifugal pace. It is a totally different experience than Jewish life in Diaspora, on the circumference of the circle, where things moves so very slowly. In the Diaspora, people don’t seem to change at all. You can go back for a visit after ten years and the people seem exactly the same, like figures in a wax museum.

In simple terms, this is where it is happening, brother. Chodesh tov!