We were in my dining room and I was setting the Shabbat table last week when my sister walked in and remarked how nice the weather was, the sun was out, it was warm, and it was the end of November. I answered her without thinking and said, "Yah, it's nice outside, but it's still a curse. We need winter, we need the rain." And then something clicked immediately in my head and I said out loud, "Living in America is also nice, but it's still a curse too."
Let's not forget that we are scattered all over the globe because G-d deemed us not deserving anymore of the Land because of our transgressions and baseless hatred. We chased after the cultures of the world, wanting to be 'in' with it. We wanted to blend in and adopt the way of the world, their fashions, idol worship, bath houses, promiscuity, and assimilate. But of course it all backfired, and the Land of Israel vomited us out.
We weren't brought out of Egypt to Israel to be like the other Nations - the 'Goyim'. We were brought out to be a light unto them.
You are a blessed people to be home in Israel.
When I grew up in America in the 60's, it was a time of posterity. Living was good, materialism was abound and we enjoyed the relative easy life, as compared to other countries around the world who lived harder lives. We grew up thinking we were Americans, or French, or British, or Australian, Jews. We forgot that we didn't belong there, that it was only a pit stop in history, until that nation too turned on it's Jews. And so it was good for a while, and then came the pogroms, the burning at the stakes, ..and then the ovens. Through these tragedies, we finally came to a point in history today, where we saw great miracles. We were able to return home, renew spoken Hebrew, and wake up the soil of the desert that now engulfed the Land of Israel. And we succeeded with G-d's help. Today, Israel is a thriving country that grows, prospers, and exports food, flowers, medicines, technology and emergency aid to the world. One only has to stand here and breath the holy air, and realize that this is all a miracle, a gift, an impossible super-natural gift!
But not enough Jews around the world have woken up to this yet. And those who should know better, reject aliyah an opt for an easier life in the West.
Let's consider though, if the economy in the USA finally went flat broke , and life was harder there than in Israel, the Jews would flock back to Israel. The reason that so many remain behind now in the Exile, shows that it is mostly (though not entirely of course) due to financial comfort.
And so my answer to my sister was, yes, it's nice outside, but its still a curse. We need the winter." A wise person knows that each season has it's place, and that each is important to ensure a proper balance in nature. 365 days of sunshine without rain may be nice for a year, but after that, it is a disaster.
How then is it that Jews are known for being so smart, but this Gentile listener knows more about the miracles of Israel than some Jews? This righteous goy ('goy' here means a man from the nations, it is NOT a derogatory term.) wrote me his impressions after visiting Israel, and it was so refreshing to read, that I wanted to publish it (with his permission).
Dear Tamar, Jay, and Walter,
You are my three favourite hosts at Israel National Radio (I download your podcasts each week), so it seemed a good idea to let you all know of my recent trip to Israel.
Being an Australian gentile, I have always had a soft spot for the Jewish people (having made friends in the Jewish community here in my home town of Sydney). However, since visiting the homeland of the Jewish people my affection and admiration for the children of Israel has only multiplied a hundred fold.
Being in your country was an experience I shall never forget. The architecture, the history, the food (!!), the music, the natural beauty of the landscape, and most of all the people of Israel left me in a state of wonderment each day. You are a blessed people to be home in Israel.
For the first week my friends and I stayed in a very nice Jerusalem apartment (Ottoman style, very interesting) situated on Agron Street opposite Independence Park, so it was easy to walk to Kikar Zion and Mamila and the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. The phrases "ata medaber Anglit" and "Sliha" came in handy many times. "Toda" was easy to remember.
One of the many highlights was watching the IDF aircrafts roar mightily overhead while we stayed in the Tamar desert to help with an archeological dig. Watching these powerful, beautiful jets, and witnessing the gutsy personalities of the Israelis I met and spoke to, gave me confidence that you are a determined and strong people. I could sense the self-respect and resolve you have when it comes to your home land.
If only the citizens of Europe, Britain, the USA and my own country Australia would likewise take pride in their countries, instead of constantly appeasing those who wish to do harm.
If it is God's will, I will visit your great nation again.
Take heart, you are the apple of God's eye.
Shalom, Be'ahavat Yisrael,
P.S. I placed some photos up from the trip to Israel at my blog: http://mikestriptoisrael.blogspot.com/