Middle East 5:43 AM 3/7/2014
Inside Israel 1:14 AM 3/7/2014
Middle East 3:13 AM 3/7/2014
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.
The truth is that the anti-Israel mongers don’t reject Israel – it is the Land of Israel that rejects them.
Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, of blessed memory, used to explain the phenomenon of yeridah (abandoning Israel to live in gentile lands) with a parable of a girl who was fixed up with a shiduch. Before meeting the boy, she realized that she knew who he was. Because of his obnoxious character traits, she wasn’t interested in him at all. But because she was a very kind person, she didn’t want to hurt his feelings by canceling the date, so she dressed up in dirty clothes, and met him looking like a mess, so that he wouldn’t want to meet her again. Thinking that she was a loser, the boy rejected her, but in reality, it was she who was rejecting him.
So too, Rabbi Kook said, with Jews who don’t want to live in the Land of Israel. Hashem, in His kindness, doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so He brings things about that they see everything in Israel in a negative light and think that they are the ones who are rejecting life in Israel, when it is really Israel that is rejecting them.
I am not talking about Jews who would like to live in Israel, but for whatever pressing reason, can’t work it out. Rather, I am referring to those angry bitter souls who are constantly criticizing life in Israel and who discourage others from coming.
Let me give you another example. To meet the demand for Pesach, matzah factories in Israel are working around the clock. All over Jerusalem you can smell the invigorating fragrance of matzah on the wind. Every year, I join a group of rabbis to supervise over our own baking shift. As the matzot come out of the oven, matzot that are too thick, cracked, or curled over, are plucked out of the conveyor belt and thrown into trash cans lest there be some unbaked dough and chametz in the batch. These rejected matzot are set aside for pre-Pesach consumption by the inhabitants of the Jerusalem zoo.
Our Sages compare chametz to arrogance. They tell us that arrogance (not to mention other abominable traits) drive a person from the world. Hashem and arrogant people can’t get along side-by-side. A person who thinks that he knows everything there is to know about the world is abhorred by the Master of Heaven and Earth. This type of person places his own thinking and intellect over the will of Hashem. His only hope is to do tshuva, lower his head in humility with the understanding that he is nothing without Hashem, and put his life in line with the Torah instead of spouting off against it.
The truth is that Israel is a magnificent place. Come Purim time, the joy of Purim overflows unabashedly into the streets. As Pesach approaches, the aroma of matzah fills the air. There is more Torah learning by far in Israel than anywhere else in the world. There are more Torah Sages in Israel than anywhere else in the world. In Israel, you see kippot and tzitzit everywhere. There are more organizations of Jewish charity and chesed in Israel than anywhere else. There is more Jewish bravery on the part of the settlers of the land, and more self-sacrifice on the part of Israeli soldiers, putting their lives on the line, night after night, in quiet, unpublicized missions. There is Jerusalem, the Kotel, Hevron, Safed, Meron, Tiberias, and an endless list of holy places. There is more Jewish genius, creativity, scientific and medical advancement, and economic growth in Israel than anywhere else.
Wherever you look, there is so much good to see, so much holiness, so much beauty, so much joy, so much hope. May Hashem have mercy on those twisted unhappy souls who see only the bad, and may He help them, in His infinite compassion, to remove the chametz from their eyes.