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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.
Fabulous Prize to Tzvi Fishman’s Millionth Clicker
Sometime between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, a lucky blog reader will become the millionth visitor to our blog “Hollywood to the Holy Land.” First, I would like to thank everyone who has participated and helped to make the blog a lively and popular forum. This thank-you also goes out to the great silent majority, who regularly read our postings without sending in talkbacks. I hope you have all gained new insights into Judaism and into our true mission as the Children of Israel.
As you are well aware, we have focused on two primary issues over the years. First, we have tried to make our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora realize that Judaism is much more than eating bagels and lox in Brooklyn, Toronto, London, Melbourne, Mexico City and Timbuktu. Judaism is the living the holy national Torah life of the holy Jewish People in the Holy Land which the Creator of the Universe bequeathed to our forefathers and to us. We are not the Children of America, or the Children of France, or the Children of Germany and Russia. We are the Children of Israel. The Jewish People belong is Israel. The exile is a curse which is meant to come to an end. Baruch Hashem, that end arrived with the establishment of the State of Israel, and it has since become the obligation of every Jew to return home to Eretz Yisrael and do his or her share in the rebuilding of our holy ISRAELI NATION. Diasporinians who are aged, or ill, or who cannot come on aliyah for any valid reason, can do whatever they can to help those who can come, and certainly everyone, including parents, teachers, rabbis, Jewish organizations and the like must totally revamp their agendas to make aliyah education their main goal, with the cry, “Let My Children Go!”
Secondly, we have stressed that the uniqueness of a Jew is in his, or her, holiness, and that this holiness must first and foremost be expressed in our sexual lives, as set down in Jewish Law and the teachings of our Sages. In this area, we were perhaps the first to openly discuss this foundation of Judaism on the Internet, and to warn readers of the very great dangers of Internet surfing, one of the most pernicious destroyers today of our holy Jewish souls.
These two cardinal Torah principles, the mitzvah of living in Israel, and the mitzvah of living a holy life, are emphasized in this week’s Torah portion of “Nitzavim.”
In Israel, come the holiday of “Lag B’Omer, some half a million people journey to Meron, to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, to pay respects to the holy Tzaddik, who brought light to the darkness of the world with the secrets of Torah which he revealed in the “Zohar.” It is told that when the great Torah giant, the “Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh,” made aliyah some two hundred years ago, he journeyed to Meron. When he reached the foot of the mountain, he got down from his wagon and began to crawl up the hill, on all fours, toward the hallowed tomb. His students were amazed. “Rabbi, what are you doing?” they asked. “How can I, a mere creature of flesh and blood, have the arrogance to approach the holy site where this angel of G-d lies in rest?” he explained, proceeding to crawl all the way up the mount to the grave.
Rabbi Shimon spent twelve years in a cave, where he had to hide from the Romans for opposing their conquest of Israel. During that time, Eliahu HaNavi and Moshe Rabbenu appeared to him and taught him the secrets of Torah. One of the secrets they revealed to him was the secret of the Brit, the secret of the Covenant which G-d made with Avraham and the Jewish People, symbolized by the act of circumcision, and sealed on the organ of male reproduction, whereby the Jewish People were to safeguard their sexual purity in return for the gift of the Land of Israel. And thus, we find in this week’s portion, concerning the destruction of the Land:
“When, in the future generation to come of your children who shall rise up after you, and the gentile who shall come from a faraway place, shall say when they see the plagues of the Land, and the sickness which the L-rd has lain upon it… then the nations shall say, ‘Why has the L-rd done this to this Land? What means the heat of this great anger?’ Then men shall say, “Because they have forsaken the Brit of the L-rd G-d of their fathers… (Devarim, 29: 21-27).
The pamphlet we wrote on “Shmirat HaBrit” explains, in words and pictures, this vital fundamental connection between sexual holiness and our possession of the Land of Israel.
Then, the Torah goes on to capsulize Jewish history and state clearly, without any question or doubt, the destiny and goal of each and every Jew, of returning to the true observance of Torah, abandoning the cursed exile, and coming home to Israel:
“Thou shall return to the L-rd your G-d, and shall obey His voice according to all I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul [NO MORE HALF JEWISH AND HALF AMERICAN] , that then the L-rd your G-d will turn your captivity [IN BROOKLYN, TORONTO, AND MIAMI BEACH], and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the nations amongst whom the L-rd has scattered you [AMERICA, AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AFRICA, THE QUEEN’S BRITAIN]… and the L-rd your G-d will bring you into the Land which your father’s possessed [BY GIVING YOU MONEY FOR AN AIRLINE TICKET], and YOU shall possess it” (Devarim, 30, 1-5).
YOU shall possess it!
Not someone else, dear reader. YOU! This is your destiny. This is what you were born for. This is what YOU, as a part of the NATION OF ISRAEL, are commanded to do – “circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all of your soul that you may live” (Devarim, 30:6), by giving up galut, by giving up your easy lives and your gentile colleges, by giving up your make believe American and Australian and German identities, by giving up your comfortable and conveniently erroneous conceptions of Judaism, and BY COMING HOME TO ISRAEL, according to the loud and clear call of the Torah!
That’s what’s written there, my cherished friends. That’s what it says!
And now for the prize! Since I can’t tell precisely who will be the 1,000,000th clicker, the prize will be awarded to the closest talkback entry to the 1,000,000th click. And I am pleased to announce that the prize will be a copy of what may be the greatest Jewish novel ever written, “Tevye in the Promised Land,” for which I won the Israel Ministry of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture.
The Hebrew version of the novel was a big success in Israel. Many people have told me that the cover has fallen off their copies because their teenage children have read it so many times. Just last week, a rabbi told me he finished it for the third time. This week, an acquaintance who spent a week in the hospital called me up to thank me for having written the novel, claiming that the simcha it gave him helped him recover more than the medicines he received. Last Shabbat, when a friend of my 20 year old daughter discovered that I had written the novel, she flipped out, exclaiming that it was her all-time favorite book. Many people have told me that it is the best Jewish novel they’ve read in their lives, which makes it the best novel in the world. Sure, Tolstoy, Dickens, Hugo, Joyce, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Roth all know how to write, but what message do they bring to the world other than Christianity, atheism, assimilation, depression and despair?
So, once again, thank you for having been a part of the journey from “Hollywood to the Holy Land.” I could not have done it without you.