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Why Diaspora Jews Love the Exile

By Tzvi Fishman
2/5/2009, 12:00 AM

By being alienated from the recognition of the secrets of Torah, the holiness of Eretz Yisrael is understood in a foggy, unfocused fashion.

By alienating oneself from the secrets of G-d, the highest treasures of the deep Divine life become extraneous, secondary matters which do not enter the depths of the soul, and as a result, the most potent force of the individual's and of the nation's soul will be missing; and the exile is found to be pleasant in its own accord.

For to someone who only understands the superficial level, nothing basic will be lacking in the absence of the Land of Israel, the Jewish Kingdom, and all of the facets of the nation in its built form. For him, the foundation of the yearning for Salvation is like a side branch that cannot be united with the deep understanding of Judaism, and this itself testifies to the poverty of insight which is found in this juiceless perspective.

We are not rejecting any form or contemplation which is founded on truthfulness, on sensitivity of thought, or on the fear of Heaven, in whatever form it takes; but rejecting only the specific aspect of this perspective which seeks to negate the secrets of Torah and their great influence on the spirit of the nation – for this is a tragedy which we are obligated to fight against with counsel and wisdom, with holiness and with valor.

By Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, from his book, “Orot,” 1:2. To read a commentary on this essay, click here.