If you are tired of hearing the same old aliyah message from me, here’s a little something from the renowned Torah scholar, Rabbi Nachman Kahana – Rabbi Meir’s brother – who has come out with a new book on the weekly Torah portions.
May his Torah message be in memory of Izzy Kaplan, during the week that his family is sitting shiva in Israel. I am sure that Izzy would agree with everything that Rabbi Kahana writes:
Please rise for the Star Spangled Hatikva
“Yesterday, I met a close friend who is a well-know rabbi presently living in the States. He was in a hurry, but stopped just enough to call out, ‘Continue your writing and don’t be intimidated by your critics.’ He ran on without my being able to reply.
So the following is my answer to my friend, to myself, and to any other interested parties:
If the box seats in Yankee Stadium were filled with all the rabbis, Chassidic rebbes and roshei yeshiva in all the lands of our present-day galut [exile], and the grandstands and bleachers were filled with 100,000 of their disciples, I would not hesitate to stand at home plate and announce the following:
You are all aware of the tragic sin of the meraglim [scouts] and its aftermath. Yet, you continue in their ways.
You are all aware that our exile from Eretz Yisrael into galut was a punishment for our sinful behavior in the Promised Land. Yet, you voluntarily choose to remain in this state of punishment.
You are all aware of what we have suffered at the hands of our Gentile ‘hosts’ in the lands of our galut. Yet, you repeat the time-worn mantra ‘it can’t happen here.’
You were wrong 100 years ago, when you did not call upon your disciples to leave the mudholes of the shtetlachs [Eastern European villages] and return to the Land of our fathers.
You were wrong 80 years ago, at the rise of Nazism, when you did not listen to the forebodings in Europe and call upon your disciples to return to the Land of our fathers.
You are wrong again now, when you call upon your disciples to wait for a personalized handwritten calligraphic invitation from the Mashiach [Messiah] to return to the land of our fathers.
No, (I want to assure my rabbi friend from America,) I am not intimidated, nor would I retract anything I believe in, regardless of who my critics are!"
[People wishing to receive Rabbi Kahana’s weekly Torah insights by email can send a request to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
People interested in purchasing Rabbi Kahana’s new book can write to: Michael@gefen publishing.com]