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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.
Once again, we are not speaking about our well-intentioned brothers who would like to come on aliyah, but who cannot for justified reasons. We are speaking about our brothers, the bed wetters, who could come on aliyah but don’t because they lack emunah (belief in Hashem,) just like the Spies in the wilderness.
The Book of Devarim begins with a recount of the tragedy of the Spies, whose sin of not wanting to live in Israel brought about the death of the generation in the wilderness, and laid the foundation for the destruction of Jerusalem and the bitter exile that has followed (Yalkut Shimoni 1:743). The Torah calls them rebels for not obeying Hashem and for murmuring in their tents against the Land of Israel. The Midrash explains that the Spies spread their deadly report in the following manner: they would go into the tent of a Jew and describe the fearsome giants they had seen in the Land, instilling fear in his heart until the whole family cried out in the fear. Hearing the loud weeping, the neighbors would hurry to the tent to find out what was happening. When they heard the frightening report, they too broke out in weeping when they returned to their homes. Their next-door neighbors, in turn, rushed over to discover the source of the great lamentation. In this manner, the Spies succeeded in spreading their poison from tent to tent, weakening the hearts of the Jewish People, in order to discourage them from making aliyah.
The bed wetters of today use the very same strategy, hoping to spread their poison home to home via the Internet by opening websites like “Excuses.com,” and “Aliyah Dodgers.com,” and “Non-believers.com.” There are even cyberspace Svengalis who pretend to be the true Jewish warriors with wordy websites called “Lions of Judah.com,” and the like.
We understand that aliyah is a demanding and difficult mitzvah. We, who are fortunate to be living in the Land of Israel, feel genuine sympathy for our Diaspora brothers who don’t join us here. Our sympathy extends even for the bed wetters. We understand that fear is a difficult emotion to master. The Torah itself allows frightened soldiers to return home from the battleground, lest they melt the hearts of their brothers.
Bed wetters, do the same. Either be honest and admit that you are afraid, and we, and organizations like Nefesh B’ Nefesh, will do our best to help you overcome the obstacles standing in your way, whether they be material, psychological, or spiritual, or just shut up. Why discourage others? Why rebel against Hashem, like the Spies in the wilderness, and lead others astray? Why spread your lack of belief to other Jews who may be taken in by your evil counsel?
Behind the bed wetter’s whining is a simple lack of belief. That’s the source of their fear, as it says in the Torah, “Yet in this thing (making aliyah to Israel) you did not believe in the L-rd your G-d (Devarim, 1:32). Sure they keep kosher. Sure they keep Shabbat. But when it comes to the mitzvah of living in Israel, they suddenly get cold feet.
To have complete belief in Hashem, and to “follow after Hashem completely” (Devarim, 1:36,) a Jew must live in Israel, whether or not there are giants, or idol worshippers, or corrupt leftist governments in the Land.
That’s what it says in the Torah.