Tzvi FishmanBefore making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter....
Today’s blog, and the next few which shall follow, are only for Diaspora Jews who truly want to know what Judaism is really all about. If you really want to know what it is to be a Jew, and who we are as a People, then read on. If you really want to know what our mission is as G-d’s chosen People, then take the time to understand the Haftora we read on Shabbat.
As we have written on several occasions, Judaism is more than eating bagels and keeping the Sabbath. Judaism is not a private, individual religious practice, like other religions. Judaism is the national constitution of the Nation of Israel. The Torah is filled not only with private commandments, such as which foods we can eat, and what actions are forbidden on Shabbat, but also with national commandments about conquering the Land of Israel, establishing a State, a Sanhedrin, a Jewish army, a Divine legal system and economy, as well as the laws of national worship, centered around Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. Only in the Land of Israel can the Jewish People fulfill its Divine mission of “From Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem.”
Any child can readily understand that in order to have your own nation, you have to have your own land. For example, you can’t have the country of France in America or New Zealand. Likewise, to be true to our national Jewish essence, G-d has given us our own Land, the Land of Israel. The Torah, and the national essence of the Jewish People, can only be fully realized in the Land of Israel.
In the exile, we are castrated Jews with a castrated Torah. Only in the Land of Israel, can the Jewish People and the Torah be complete.
The Haftorah, from the Book of Ezekiel, which we read on Shabbat, speaks about the terrible Chilul Hashem of the exile. Chilul Hashem means the Desecration of G-d. It is something that brings great dishonor to G-d. For instance, when a Jew is caught stealing billions of dollars, because he is a Jew, the international headlines create a grave Desecration of G-d, since everyone knows that we are His People. Simply put, it makes G-d of the Jewish People look bad.
So too, on a national level, when the Jewish People live in foreign lands amongst the gentiles, this causes a terrible Desecration of G-d, because the gentiles say, “Look at all the Jews here. G-d gave them the Land of Israel, but He was powerless to keep them there, so we were able to conquer their land and scatter them all over the globe.” Other gentiles say, “Look at the Jews here in America (Australia, England, France….). G-d gave them their own land, but they prefer ours!” This shameful situation brings great dishonor to G-d.
This is what the Prophet Ezekiel declares about the exiled Jews:
“And when they came to the foreign nations into which they came, they profaned My Holy Name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the L-rd, and they are gone out of His Land’” (Ezekiel, 36:20).
This means that just the fact that Jews are living in foreign lands is a Chilul Hashem, a terrible dishonor to G-d. Now the time comes when G-d puts an end to this disgrace and sanctifies His Name:
“And I will sanctify My great Name, which was desecrated amongst the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them, and the nations shall know that I am the L-rd, says the L-rd G-d, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes” (Ezekiel, 36:23).
How does G-d brings this sanctification about? Read on:
“For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and I will bring you into your own Land” (Ezekiel, 36:24).
Thus, the Prophet teaches that, as opposed to Jewish life in the Diaspora which brings disgrace upon the Jewish People and G-d, the ingathering of the exiles to the Land of Israel sanctifies G-d and elevates His honor in the eyes of the world.
Now that you understand the difference, I ask you the simple question: Do you want to be a part of the disgrace, or a part of the great sanctification? Do you want to be a castrated Jew, or a whole Jew? The choice is yours.