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Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Land of Israel

By Tzvi Fishman
7/20/2009, 12:00 AM

Believe it or not, chocolate chip cookies were one of the things that made me realize that a Jew’s true place is in Israel. When I started to learn about Judaism in Hollywood, someone told me that a Jew has to say a blessing before and after eating, in order to thank G-d for the sustenance He gives us. For instance, after eating a chocolate chip cookie, one says the following:

“Blessed art Thou, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, for all of the nourishment and the produce of the field, and for the lovely and spacious Land which You didst grant to our fathers as a heritage to eat of its fruit and enjoy its good gifts….”

My friend explained to me that the Land which G-d had given to our forefathers was the Land of Israel.

That’s strange, I thought. I mean, since I was in America, wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to thank G-d for California, or for the wheat fields of Kansas? But that’s not what the blessing said. A Jew was to thank G-d for Eretz Yisrael. The blessing said we were “to eat of its fruits and enjoy its good gifts.” That was funny, I thought.

The blessing after eating cookies continues:

“Have mercy, L-rd our G-d, on Israel Your nation, on Jerusalem Your city, on Zion the abode of Your majesty, on Your altar and on Your Temple.”

Hmm, I thought. That’s interesting too. Why didn’t it say, “Have mercy on America Your nation, on Los Angeles Your city, on Hollywood the abode of Your majesty, on MGM Studios and on Grauman’s Chinese Theater?”

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The blessing after eating cookies continues:

“Rebuild the holy city of Jerusalem speedily in our days. Bring us there and gladden us with the restoration of our Land; may we eat of its fruit and enjoy its good gifts; may we bless you for it in holiness and purity.”

Wow! That was really a mindblower. I mean, be honest. Look what the blessing says. After eating some chocolate chip cookies in LA, or a slice of pizza in Toronto, or one of those big salty pretzels off a push cart in New York, we ask G-d to rebuild Jerusalem and to bring us to the Land of Israel! We ask G-d to make us happy “with the restoration of our Land.”

Wow, I thought. America isn’t my land. My Land is the LAND OF ISRAEL.

As far as I knew, no one had put any hashish in the chocolate chip cookie, but it blew my mind all the same!

A Jew was supposed to eat the fruits of the Land of Israel and enjoys its good gifts – not the gifts of America, Australia, Canada, or France! Israel was our Land. America, Australia, Canada, and France were meant for the goyim.

Also, I couldn’t help but notice, a Jew was also supposed to bless the L-rd in holiness and purity, in the Holy Land – not in the impurity of foreign countries!

And if the message wasn’t clear, the end of the blessing repeated it another two times, “Blessed are You, O L-rd, for the Land of Israel and for the food.”

All that I learned from a chocolate chip cookie!