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Torah Tidbits Audio
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.
Friday morning, I was walking down the street when a Jewish helicopter flew overhead. I still react with a happy shiver whenever I see a Jewish helicopter soar by up in the sky.
“Baruch Hashem,” I said. “Thank you, Hashem, for giving us helicopters and rescuing us from the lands of the gentiles.”
I spent over thirty years in New York, and New England, and California, and an assortment of other places in America, and I never saw a Jewish helicopter. Moments later, as if to reward me for my enthusiasm and gratitude, Hashem sent three Israel Air Force jets streaking through the sky over Jerusalem. “Thank you, Hashem,” I said once again, “For giving us Jewish fighter planes and Jewish pilots.” After all, as I mentioned, I spent over thirty years in New York, and New England, and California, and an assortment of other places in America, and I never saw a Jewish fighter plane. It just isn’t possible. Why? Because America isn’t Jewish. America belongs to Esav, our arch enemy.
These past few weeks, we have been reading in the Torah a capsule blueprint of world history. First, we met Avraham, the father of the nation chosen by G-d to bring G-d’s word to the world through our living a life of holiness in the Land of Israel. Then we met Yishmael, the wild beast of a man, whose descendants, the Arabs have been contesting our right to the Land of Israel, right down to this very day. Then, we met the hairy ape, Esav, or Esau. From the very womb, he has been contesting our place as the Divine chosen nation, doing everything in his power to usurp us from our G-d given role. Esav is Edom. His descendants became the Romans, and the Germans, the Russians, and the Americans.
Edom is Christianity and the whole Christian world. America is a Christian country. How can Jews live there?
So when a Jewish helicopter flies overhead, I get goose pimples, and remember to thank G-d for all of His kindness and goodness that He has rescued us from the lands of Edom and returned us to our own Promised Land. To me, that’s the greatest miracle there is. To me, that’s the greatest revelation of Hashem in the world. Just as He promised our forefathers, He has returned us to our Land. There is no greater historic evidence of G-d’s existence than this. The State of Israel is the greatest sanctification of G-d in the world.
Some people just don’t seem to have caught on to the idea that the main goal of Judaism is to build the NATION in the Land of Israel, in all of its earthy facets, agricultural, political, industrial, technological, military, scientific, jobs, hospitals, electric companies, police, highways, sewage, supermarkets, firemen, etc etc etc ad infinitum. They act as if it is enough to write talkbacks, or sway back and forth in prayer, and trust that cities and highways and the Beit HaMikdash will all appear miraculously from out of the sky without them having to get their hands dirty in the nitty gritty job of building and oiling the rifles needed to protect them against the descendants of Yishmael who are drooling to slit their throats. In the meantime, the “shabbos goys” of Medinat Yisrael, which they reject, are doing all the work for them, and their children, if they have any, in building the foundations of Malchut Hashem in the world, and supplying those who already live here with water and electric and sewage and medical care and protecting Jewish lives from the daggers of Yishmael.
This simpleminded mentality is shared by all of the critics of Medinat Yisrael with all of their Peter Pan schemes for replacing it with something else that fits their fancy like Medinat Yehudas and Shmahudahs.
With great sadness, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook would often speak about this shameful situation, how segments of the Torah world rejected Medinat Yisrael. He said the very same blindness and small mindedness took place at the time of the Second Temple:
“When we returned from Babylon in the time of Ezra, Israel did not return to the full glory of its past, but even so, prophecy flourished on a minor scale with Haggai, Zacharia, and Malachi. Similarly, Israel was not on the same exalted level as King Shlomo’s Beit HaMikdash. From all over the Land, people came to see it, but in the eyes of elders who still remembered the magnificence of the First Temple, the Second Temple seemed to be an affront. They would weep and express criticism, saying, ‘This is the Temple??’ The Prophets scolded them for this attitude, saying, ‘Who has despised the day of small things?’ (Zachariah, 4:10). The Gemara answers: ‘The small minded among them who didn’t have faith in the Almighty’ (Sotah 48B). You are disbelievers, the Prophet told them. Ezra called the exiles to come back to Zion and many didn’t listen. In our days also, there are Torah scholars and ‘Tzaddikim’ who criticize the Almighty for the way He is returning the Jewish People to Zion.
“Is all of this great rebuilding and renaissance of our Land mere happenstance? It is Nature’s wanton anarchy? No! This is all Hashem’s doing! The Prophet Isaiah exclaimed, ‘Hear O deaf, and look O Blind, that you may see! Who is blind but My servant, or deaf as the messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the L-rd’s servant? (Isaiah, 42:18-19).
“There are so many things to see and to hear! Be quiet, pensive, and listen. Then you will see the Almighty who disguises Himself in the events which unfold in the world.”
So my dear friends, and all of my blind brothers and sisters, instead of impulsively reacting with a flood of loud and angry talkbacks - be quiet, pensive, and listen. Then you too will see the Almighty who disguises Himself in the events which unfold in the world.