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Diaspora Day

By Tzvi Fishman
5/13/2009, 12:00 AM

I want to thank DACON9 and other talkbackers for rebuking me for getting down on Diaspora Jewry. Of course, my love for the Jewish People includes Diaspora Jews. It is precisely out of my love for them that I have been trying to awaken them to the incomparable superiority of Jewish life in the Land of Israel.

My gripe is not with them, but with the superficial understanding of Judaism that is taught throughout the Diaspora, which lauds Diaspora Judaism as in end in itself, and not what it really is - a  punishment of exile amongst the gentiles until we return to our own Land. Instead of teaching their communities that the goal of each and every Jew should be to live a Torah life in Israel, as explicitly expressed in our daily prayers, Jewish leaders and educators in the Diaspora work toward the strengthening of Jewish life in the exile itself. So the Jews there don’t know any better. In their innocence, they believe they are doing the right thing. If not for Arutz 7, and a few others snorkels of genuine oxygen, they would be entirely DOA by the time they got to Israel.

Fishman visiting relatives in America

The truth is that Diaspora Jews are a lot stronger than I am. I can’t be there more than a few days before I start to feel sick. I start to feel dizzy, confused, suffocated, as if there is no air to breathe. But the Jews who live there don’t seem to be affected by the lack of holiness in their surroundings at all. It wasn’t for naught that the Rabbis of the Talmud declared the lands outside of Israel impure. Someone who is accustomed to the holiness of the Land of Israel can actually feel the spiritual vacuum of the Diaspora if he should have to visit there, or go there on some type of shlichut.

So I have great respect for my brothers and sisters in the Diaspora who have the stamina to endure and to strengthen the Jewish communities there. They are also much braver than I. Walking the streets in the Diaspora, whether it be on Broadway in Harlem, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, or the Boulevard Montparnasse in gay Paree, I’m frightened to death by all the goyim, with their cold stares and their clean, razor-shaven faces of Roman gladiators. “Get me out of here!” I silently pray every second I’m there. “Even though I walk through the valleys of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me,” I repeat like a mantra, again and again.

So, kol hakavod, chevre! I lift up my kippah to you in esteem. Your passion for Judaism is a lot stronger than mine. If I had stayed in the Diaspora like you, I would have given up the mitzvot and gone back to my old rancid ways. Your fierce attachment  to Judaism, in a foreign place, in an impure environment, in a vapid, non-Jewish culture, surrounded by danger every minute, it’s just incredible to me! How you have the fortitude and courage to observe the Jewish holidays, and walk to shul on Shabbat, and send your children to Jewish Day schools, it’s all baffling to me. Truly, we need to establish an annual Diaspora Day to honor the Jews in the exile for keeping the flame of Judaism burning in the darkness.

Yes, my brothers and sisters scattered all over the globe, I am sorry if I have offended you. I am proud and honored that you are readers of this blog!