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Next Year in West Jerusalem Only!

By Tzvi Fishman
4/1/2010, 12:00 AM

Unlike the one night Seder in the Land of Israel, Jews in the Diaspora need to go through the Passover Seder on two consecutive nights in order for its message to sink in. And even then, a majority don’t internalize the Seder’s main teaching, which is “Next Year in Jerusalem (or “Next year in West Jerusalem Only” if Obama and the other Jew haters of the world have their way, G-d forbid.)


Diaspora Jews can stuff themselves with gefilte fish, and flavor it with horseradish until it drips out of their noses like blood, and chop away at matzot all Yom Tov long,  constipating themselves until Shavuot, another seven weeks away, and still the message of the holiday doesn’t penetrate their macarooned-out brains. Why? Because no one teaches them the truth. No one teaches them that the goal of Passover, and of Judaism, is to live a life of Torah in Eretz Yisrael, as it says in the Haggadah: “It was not only our fathers that G-d redeemed, but He also redeemed us with them, as is written: ‘And He brought us out from there, so that He might lead us and give us the Land which he had promised to our forefathers.’”


The Land that the Haggadah is speaking about is not America, or Canada, or Australia, or South Africa, but Eretz Yisrael. But instead of teaching their congregants the true understanding and goal of Judaism, educators in the Diaspora teach that, in order to fight the tzunami of assimilation, Diaspora Jews have to strengthen Jewish observance and the Jewish communities in the exile. This approach made some plausible sense before G-d established the State of Israel. But now it is no longer relevant. In fact, it only lengthens the punishment of exile and leads to greater assimilation, because the longer we sink in the quicksand of exile, the more intermarriage there will be. This is a clearly discernable tragedy.


True Jewish life is impossible outside of the Land of Israel. Yes, Jews can eat gefilte fish to their heart’s content, but they can’t observe the commandments of the Land. They can’t experience the beauty of raising children to speak Hebrew from grade one. They can’t have the pride of a Jewish army. They can’t perform the Torah command of coming to Jerusalem on the Festival and seeing the Temple Mount. They can’t have a Sanhedrin, not the Beit HaMikdash, or any of the national elements of true Jewish life.


Just like the backbone has been taken out of the carp in making gefilte fish to make life easier for the Jews, so too has Diaspora Judaism taken the national backbone of the Jewish People out of the Torah.


Only in Israel


It is impossible to compare the joy and magnitude of the holidays in Israel to their mini celebration in exile. For instance, only in Israel can a mother and father experience the incomparable joy of having a son come home on a holiday furlough from the army. In the Diaspora, Jews don’t serve in the army. Why should they? The places they live aren’t their real country. Why should a Jew go to war for the goyim?


In America, Smokey the Bear won't let you


Take burning chametz as another example. Years ago, when I tried to burn my chametz outside of my apartment building in New York, within a few minutes a police car showed up and I was given a fine. In Israel, wherever you go on Erev Pesach, the streets are filled with the smoke of burning chametz, and the police are there to help you to make sure you do a thorough job.


Planet Hollywood


And going to the Kotel on the holiday! There is nothing like it anywhere in the world! Even though in Israel, the Kohanim bless the congregation every day (only on the Festivals in the Diaspora because of the absence of holiness there) the sight of hundreds of Kohamim raising their prayer shawls in blessing, and the unified chant of their prayer, is an incredible spiritual high.


And the presence of Torah Sages is staggering. Nowhere is there such an abundance of holy tzaddikim and talmedei chochamin as in Israel today!


Rabbi Leon Levi at the Kotel


So, this time around, act on your words, make “Next Year in Jerusalem” a reality. Even if Obama and all the goyim in the world insist that we change our Haggadahs to read “Next Year in West Jerusalem Only!” the hell with them all. May the fate of Pharoah and his evil kingdom be their fate as well.