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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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      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.


      Adar 8, 5770, 2/22/2010

      Jews in Drag

      The decree of destruction fell upon the Jews of Shushan because they wanted to stay loyal Persian citizens instead of returning to Israel to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash when the prophesied seventy years of exile drew to an end. They wanted to rub shoulders with the goyim, attend the gala parties of Achashverus, holding up their goblets of kosher Manischewitz wine, while feasting their eyes on the king’s harem of half-naked women.


      Unlike on Hanukah, we don’t say the joyous recitation of Hallel on Purim because even after the great salvation, we were still subject to foreign rule in a foreign land – as King David teaches us, “How can I sing the L-rd’s song in a foreign land?”


      A Jew cannot really be happy in a foreign land. He can find material comfort, physical pleasures, and egotistical highs, but he can’t find true joy of the soul. True joy for a Jew can only be found in the Land of Israel.   


      That’s why the Psalm continues: “How can I sing the L-rd’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem!”


      The Jews in the time of Mordechai wanted to forget Jerusalem and stay right where they were in the flesh pot of Shushan.


      Sound familiar?


      One of the reasons that we dress up in costumes on Purim is to remind ourselves that a Jew who lives in a foreign land is like a person who dresses up in a costume. Whether he dresses up in the costume of being an American, or a Frenchman, or an Englishman, he is living a masquerade. We can try to pretend that we are loyal Persians, or Germans, or Americans, but the Hamans and Hitlers of the world will always eventually come to power to remind us that we are Jews, strangers in a strange land.


      And if Hamans don’t arise to save us by reminding us that we don’t belong in a foreign land, the lavish parties and loose women and career opportunities and open arms of the gentiles devour us all the same.


      The fact is that a Jew doesn’t belong in a gentile land. It is like a man dressing up as a woman. It’s unnatural. Even perverted. It is against G-d’s will for the world.


      You don't have to dress up anymore


      Dear friends in the Diaspora, why continue the masquerade? Why continue pretending to be Americans and Canadians and Englishman and Australians?


      Come home to Israel and discover the joy of being yourself!