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An Etrog Tree Doesn’t Grow in Brooklyn

By Tzvi Fishman
9/22/2010, 12:00 AM

If you planted an etrog tree in Brooklyn it wouldn't grow. If it did, it would die. Just the way the Diaspora is destined to die. The etrog tree doesn’t belong in Brooklyn. The climate isn’t right for it. It’s the same with the lulav, hadasim, and aravot. The four species are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, just as the Torah is indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, and the Jewish People are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael.  We belong in Eretz Yisrael. All of the holidays are intrinsically connected to Eretz Yisrael. The Torah was designed and fashioned by the Almighty to be observed in Eretz Yisrael, not in America, Canada, Australia, or Timbuktu.

How wonderful to be in the Land of Israel where you hear hammers pounding away the week before the holiday and see sukkah booths wherever you look!

I remember living in New York City and walking the length and width of the city on the holiday of Sukkot and not seeing even one sukkah on the street. Finally I found a mini sukkah, the size of a telephone booth, in the back alley of a kosher dairy restaurant, adjacent to the bathroom.

How wonderful to be in the Land of Israel where you don’t have to be embarrassed or afraid to sit in your sukkah out on the street! Where apartment buildings are built with terraces designed for the Sukkot holiday! Where the Kotel and the place of the Temple are a short walk or car ride away! Where there are sukkah booths outside of every restaurant! Where it’s a national holiday with school vacation, and not some strange  mumbo-jumbo practice of the Jews.

How wonderful to be in the Land of Israel where you can be proud to walk down the street adorned in your tallit and proudly carrying your arba minim in your hand!      

Thank G-d for having brought us back to the Land of Israel!

Hag samaoch!