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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.
Like I wrote yesterday, the young American kids that come over to our house for a Shabbat meal know practically nothing about Jewish history and Judaism. So, while they are chomping my on my wife’s delicious cooking, I try to give them a crash course in world history from a Torah point of view.
You’ll have to settle with a condensed version, because it’s still early in the morning, and without the etrog liquor of Shabbat, it’s hard to get inspired.
So here goes….
“In the beginning, the L-rd created the heaven and the earth.”
This means, guys, that the world has a King. Our lives are dependent upon Him. We may think everything happens automatically by nature, but in fact, we can only speak, and see, and talk, and walk, because of Him. Every second of our lives come from Him. The minute He turns the switch off, it’s curtains. So when the King of the World gives a command, it’s our job to obey.
That’s the whole story of the Garden of Eden. It isn’t an historic, scientific account of Creation, but a simple moral lesson. G-d is the Creator and King, and we are His servants. When He gives us a command, He wants us to do it. It’s as simple as that. Adam and Eve blew it, so they were expelled from the Garden. History Lesson #1.
Now you guys know the story of Noah and the Ark, right? Noah was supposed to take Adam’s place and teach the world the very same lesson, that G-d is the King and that mankind is here to serve Him, but when he left the ark after the floodwaters subsided, he got a little too pickled, and he ended up blowing it too, just like Adam before him.
Usually, in deference to my wife, who sits like an angel at the other end of the table, I don’t go into the details about how the sexual immorality of the generation bought on the flood, and how, on a Kabbalistic level, the Covenant of the rainbow represents the Brit. Instead, at the end of the meal, I give each guest a present of my book on Jewish Sexuality, where they can find everything they wanted to know about Jewish sexuality but were too embarrassed to ask. (Hee hee hee hee hee!)
Then comes the Tower of Babel when people started shooting arrows at G-d, hoping to kill Him, because they didn’t want anyone interfering in their lives and telling them what they could do in their bedrooms and out on the street.
So, in punishment, mankind was scattered to the four corners of the globe, just like they had been scattering their you-know-what all over the place, and matters kept getting worse until Abraham appeared on the scene and began teaching the world’s heathens that there was only one G-d who ruled over the world and expected people to do His bidding. Of course, no one wanted to hear about that, so they threw him into a burning furnace. Seeing that there was finally someone on earth who could take Adam’s place, G-d miraculously saved Abraham and commanded him to go to a special holy location, the Land of Israel, that had been especially created for holy souls like his. There, in the HOLY LAND, Abraham and his offspring would teach the whole world the message of G-d, not as scattered individuals around the globe, but as a unique, HOLY NATION, in its unique HOLY LAND.
Once again, in deference to my angel of a wife, who patiently puts up with hearing the same old story, because she knows how important it is for these kids to hear the truth at least one time in their lives, in deference to her, I don’t go into the details of the Brit between G-d and Abraham, trusting that they will read about it in my book on the plane ride back to Babylon.
After popping open a new bottle of wine and mixing it with a few beers, I tell them about the famine in the Land and the bondage in Egypt until finally G-d had mercy and commanded Moses to take the Jews out of Egypt and bring them back to Eretz Yisrael.
Which brings us to Shavuot, commemorating the giving of the Torah, which is just a few days away. G-d freed us from bondage in Egypt, I tell them, but we didn’t yet know who we were. For over 200 years, we had been slaves to Egypt, surrounded by their perverse and immoral culture, which screwed up our brains, just like growing up in the immoral culture of America screws up our brains today. But now we left Egypt and were a newborn nation on our own – who were we? What kind of nation were we to be? We were to be G-d’s CHOSEN NATION, his messengers in the world, by being a HOLY NATION in our special HOLY LAND, as it says, “From ZION shall go forth Torah, and the word of the L-rd from JERUSALEM.”
But before we could get there, there was a stop on the way, at Mount Sinai, to pick up the Torah, which was going to be our national constitution, just like every nation needs a constitution and charter. For the Jewish People to live in our special HOLY LAND, we needed a special holy culture and way of life, so the Land wouldn’t spit us out, like it was about to spit out the heathen savages that were dwelling there when we arrived with Joshua and his trumpets.
Believe me, the story is a lot more exciting when I tell it in person, because the etrog liquor goes to my head and I begin to march in circles around the table, singing “Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho. Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down!”
But, even though we had just witnessed the spitting of the sea and the greatest miracles in the world in Egypt, and even though we just heard the voice of G-d booming out to us from a cloud on the mountain, we blew it, like Adam and Noah of old, first with the golden calf, and then with the greatest transgression in Jewish history, the devastating sin of the Spies who discouraged the Jews from journeying on to Israel. For this act of rebellion, G-d killed the entire generation, except for the women and children, and we had to wait forty years for a braver generation to arise, a generation of free men, who were not slaves to a foreign culture, just like you-know-who today in America, England, South Africa, Australia, and France.
L’chaim! Drink and be merry! While their mouths are stuffed with shnitzel and chulent, and their heads are swirling with wine, I make a swift, painless incision in the back of their skulls and remove their duped and pasteurized brains.
“We’d rather sit and learn Tooooorah in the desert!” the Spies proclaimed. “In Israel, we’ll have to fight in the army, and work hard to make a living, while here we’ve got it made with air conditioned shuls and swimming pools in our backyards.”
So G-d wiped them out for rebelling against His word in refusing to make aliyah to Israel. Obviously, they hadn’t learned the lesson of Adam. They wanted to do what they wanted to do – not what G-d commanded. They wanted the “good life,” rather than journeying on to the Promised Land.
But it doesn’t work that way, guys. Cause, just like if you fill a car engine with the wrong kind of gas, the motor goes kaput, if you fill up a Jew’s head with a foreign culture, or with a water-downed Torah that pretends a Jew isn’t supposed to live his life in Israel, the motor is going to die out.
So my good friends, from the time of the Exodus from Egypt and that first Shavuot with the giving of the Torah until today, G-d has commanded us to be the People of Israel, “Bnei Yisrael.” Not the people of America, and not the people of France, but the “Children of Israel,” because the Torah is supposed to be lived in Israel, just like G-d says over and over and over again in the Torah, chapter after chapter after chapter, to make sure that everyone gets the message.
Now it’s time to bring the special bottle of etrog liquor to the table. If I am already too smashed, I ask one of my teenage sons to read our guests some verses in the Torah in their funny, Moses Brown-sounding English, commanded the Jews to observe the Torah in Israel.
As Sholom Aleichem would say, “To make a long story short,” the Jews finally got to the Promised Land, but we blew it again when we strayed from keeping the Torah. Just like G-d had warned, He kicked us out of our Land, just as He had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden.
But when the time came to return home from Babylon, we still hadn’t learned the lesson. Most of the Babylonian Jews preferred to stay in a foreign land with their businesses and riches, just like today, rather than return to rebuild the Jewish Monarchy and Temple. And even though G-d gave us another chance, we blew it once again with our transgressions until G-d kicked us out of the Holy Land again, this time for 2000 years, when we were scattered amongst the nations, a hated minority in other people’s lands, persecuted and plundered, until we thought that we could escape the “Jewish Problem” by being good Spaniards and Germans, until that backfired on us too when the goyim sooner or later reminded us that we were Jews who didn’t belong in their countries. If it wasn’t the Christian slaughtering millions of us, and the Moslems trying to slaughter the rest, it was the Nazis and the Leninists and the Americans with their bear hug of assimilation that is eating away at our ranks like a silent, but deadly flu.
In the beginning, we clung faithfully to the Torah, because G-d commanded us to keep observing the mitzvot even though we were exiled to foreign lands – so that we would remember how to do them when we came back to Israel to live once again as a proud Jewish NATION in our special HOLY LAND, because the Torah can be complete only in Israel, and not in gentile lands where it is but an amputated, truncated reminder, which many abandoned, or tried to homogenize in order to blend in with the goyim, so that finally guys like you know nothing about your history and heritage at all.
Get up off the floor, you innocent babes who have been kidnapped from the noble inheritance of your Forefathers and raised up amongst the imposters who claim to have taken our place as the chosen of G-d! You want to know about your birthright?! Well, you’re hearing about it now! Listen to what I have to say, or you won’t get any of my wife’s homemade, parve ice cream and cake.
You are not Americans! You are Jews. Children of Israel! You don’t belong in America. You belong in Israel. But nobody ever told you the true story before, so all you think about is the latest movies, getting stoned, and what kind of jobs you are going to have.
And don’t think that this is just the ranting of some crazy religious long beard who doesn’t know what the world is really about, cause take a look at this picture from my Hollywood days when I was living the great big American lie, chasing after money and fame in order to be accepted like one of the goyim.
I’m a guy who’s been there and back, with battle scars all over my body, so listen good when I tell you that there’s no escaping being a Jew, cause there’s no escaping G-d! It’s all in the Bible, fellas. It’s all in these hundreds of books on the shelves of this house, books that you won’t find in your gentile universities, or in your Americanized homes, because no one wants you to discover the truth. But open your ears and open your eyes, and see for yourselves! G-d promised to bring us back to Israel, and He is bringing us back! And now you have become a part of it!
Have a little more liquor, guys, and let’s take a flight into outer space. Imagine you’re in a space station looking back down toward the Earth. Imagine that all the Jews are little lights. What do you see?
For the last hundred years, you’d see lights from all over the world slowly congregating to the Land of Israel. Little by little, the lights in the Diaspora flicker and fade, and a great beacon of light shines out of Israel. G-d is bringing us back! That’s what’s happening, Mr. Jones, whether or not you know what it is! “When the L-rd brings back the captives of Zion, we were like those who dream!” And now you guys are part of this colossal historic undertaking. You too have come back to Israel. The door has been opened. Your eyes have been made to see. The Almighty G-d of Israel has chosen you three guys and brought you here to this house so that you can hear the truth, and see what’s really going on, baby, to get hip to what the life of a Jew is all about, to learn who you really are and what your real mission is in this world.
And if you want to know the real reason why the whole world goes nuts when a handful of Jews start to live in a caravan on top of a deserted hillside in the middle of nowhere, it is because when G-d kicked the Jews out of Israel 2000 years ago, the Christians began teaching that G-d had abandoned the Jews and chose the Christians instead, Heaven forbid. So when we return to the Land of Iasrael and build a superpower in 60 short years, the Vatican and the Christian world freaks out because it’s a slap in the face to their founding doctrine, exposing the lie they have been peddling over the world. And when Israel returns to its homeland, the Arabs go wild, cause Islam was founded on the claim that Allah abandoned the Jews and the Christians and chose the Moslems instead, Heaven forbid, so that when we smash them to smithereens in war after war, their prophet and doctrines are exposed for the utter falsehoods they are, so the Moslems and Christians go bananas when Jews with yarmulkes and tzitzit return to the cities and hilltops of the Bible,
So the nations do everything in their power to stop the settlers and divide up our Land. Cause they know that if the Jews return to settle all of the Promised Land and rebuilt the ancient Temple, then their religions are finished, and if they acknowledge the G-d of Israel as the one and only G-d, then they are going to have to give up their corrupt and adulterous ways, and live according to the rules of the Garden.
So my dear young friends – the choice is before you. You can return to your make-believe lives as Americans and read my blogs on Arutz 7, or you can hop on the spaceship Enterprise of Jewish destiny and become a partner with G-d in bringing the Jewish People back to Israel and rebuilding the HOLY NATION OF ISRAEL in its HOLY LAND.
As it says in the Blessing after Meals, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the L-rd your G-d for the GOOD LAND he has given you,” and it ain’t talkin about Brooklyn or LA, my friends, no it ain’t talkin about Brooklyn or LA.
Happy Shavuot from the Fishman house in Jerusalem!