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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
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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.
Nissan 3, 5768, 4/8/2008
It saddens me when Talkbackers accuse me of lambasting Jews in the Diaspora. The truth is, except for those unfortunates who discourage people from fulfilling the tremendous mitzvah of living in Israel, I have great respect for the Jews in Diaspora. They have far more bravery and endurance than I do. I could never survive in the spiritual and cultural cesspool of exile the way they do, day after day, year after year. Their ability to keep going in the Egypts of today is beyond my comprehension. Once I realized that the Diaspora was for the gentiles and the Land of Israel for the Jews, I had to escape. If I had remained in the quicksand of exile, I would certainly have drowned, but they cling to their Jewish identities with a superhuman strength that I admire.
The problem is that they haven’t yet realized they don’t belong amongst the goyim. That’s why I badger them, to try to help them see the error of their ways. To what is their situation analogous? Let me give an example. As I mentioned, the other night, I went to a wedding. It was held outdoors on the verdant windswept lawns of a religious kibbutz. To everyone’s surprise, the Rabbi who came from Jerusalem said he couldn’t say the wedding blessings because of the smell.
“The smell?” asked the local Rabbi. “What smell?”
“From the cow stalls,” the city Rabbi said, referring to the pungent, choking oder wafting on the wind.
“I don’t smell anything,” the Rabbi of the kibbutz responded, shrugging his shoulders.
The point is that when you live on the farm, you don’t smell the manure of the cows. You get used to it. It’s the smell of the kibbutz, that’s all. You even come to like it.
"I don't smell anything, do you?"
So too regarding the exile. When you live in a sewer, you don’t notice the stink. The stench seems natural. That’s the way it is. You don’t even notice the stink at all. The foreign culture, the foreign language, the foreign customs and values, the unholy air and soil, they all seem natural to you.
Like I have written in the past, if I have to travel to the Diaspora for some pressing reason, I have to wear a space suit and helmet, and bring along my own air supply from Israel. People may think I am crazy, but I can’t survive otherwise. For me, it’s like being on the moon or some other oxygen-free planet. Somehow, the creatures there can live without air, but I can’t.
Fishman Visits America (Reuters)
I guess that’s why, when it comes to this blog, a lot of people out there in the outhouse of exile don’t seem to grasp what I am talking about. What stinks to me smells good to them. In fact, they think I am crazy, or simply nasty. “What stink?” they say. “It smells perfectly fine to us.”
Here and there, some lucky ones catch on. Inhaling a whiff of pure holy air over the Clal Yisrael cyberspace waves of Arutz 7, they suddenly realize that life can be different, that it doesn’t have to be goyish, that a Jew can truly live as a Jew in the Jewish homeland, and send his kids to schools where Hebrew is the language, and not English, or Spanish, or French. That in itself makes all the difference in the world. As the Psalmist sang, “When the L-rd returned he exiles to Zion, we were like those who dreamed,” meaning that the whole exile nightmare dissolved like a dream when we saw our children growing up in the Jewish homeland speaking Hebrew, instead of being schizophrenic, half breeds in a foreign land, always trying to be like the goyim.
If it’s too hard to scrape the @@@@ off your shoes, then throw them away and get a new pair. Life doesn’t have to stink. Come up to the real taste and flavor of being a Jew. Come to Israel.