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The Sound and the Fury

By Tzvi Fishman
10/15/2009, 12:00 AM

Rashi lived one thousand years ago. He begins his famous commentary on the Torah in a startling and prophetic fashion by quoting a teaching of Rabbi Yitzhak.

Rabbi Yitzhak poses an interesting question. Why, he asks, does the Torah begin with the account of Creation? After all, the Torah is the book of Jewish Law. This being the case, it should begin with the first commandment that was given to the Jews. Nevertheless, he explains, the Torah begins with the story of Creation so that, in the future, when the nations of the world accuse the Jews of being robbers for having conquered the Land of Israel from the gentiles who lived there, the Jews will be able to answer them that He who created the world, and parceled out its lands as He saw fit, decided to take the land from the gentiles and give it to us.

This is the answer we should give to Obama, to the Jew haters in Europe, and to the Arabs. The world belongs to G-d, and He gave the Land of Israel to us!

This is all well and good, but the problem is that there are many Jews in Israel whose commitment to the Land of Israel isn’t what it should be. They look upon the Land of Israel as a Monopoly deed that can be bartered away for practical purposes. This sad state of affairs derives from their lack of true understanding of the Torah. Rather than viewing the Land of Israel as an integral oneness bonded with an eternal unity with the life of the Jewish Nation, they view it as some external acquisition that can be chopped into negotiable pieces. As Rabbi Kook taught:

“Eretz Yisrael is not a peripheral matter, an external acquisition of the Nation… Eretz Yisrael is an independent unit, bound with a living attachment to the Nation, bound up with an inner “segulah” with the Nation’s existence” (Orot, 1:1).

This means that just as a person needs his heart and his head to be a whole, living person, so to the Torah, the Jewish People, and the Land of Israel are one, in an eternal, indivisible wholeness.   

Therefore, every believing Jew, no matter where he lives, should be willing to fight and die, if need be, defending the right of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel. After all, the Arabs are willing to fight and die over the Land of Israel, and it isn’t even theirs. How embarrassing!

Instead of clinging to the Land of Israel with all of our might, with a readiness to sacrifice everything to keep it in our hands, we offer all kinds of excuses like:

“I wasn’t born there – it’s not my fight.”

“Peace is more important.”

“We survived 2000 without the Land of Israel – as long as we have the Torah, we will be all right.”

"The unity of the army is more important than the unity of the Land."

Others hide their cowardice and lack of commitment to all of the Torah by saying, “If things in Israel were run according to my liking, then I would do my share in defending the Land.”

Blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum.

To preserve the wholeness of the Land of Israel, the wholeness of the Torah, the wholeness of the Nation of Israel, and to preserve the honor of G-d in the world, every Jew, no matter where he or she lives, has to actively demonstrate that we love and want the Land of Israel more than the goyim.

Otherwise, all of our shuckling and shaking in prayer, and all of the talkbacks, are just a lot of “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”