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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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      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.


      Tishrei 11, 5772, 10/9/2011

      Thank G-d I Live in Israel!

      I can’t tell you enough how happy I am to be living in Israel, where the Torah is meant to be kept, and where Hashem wants His Jewish People to be. It’s so Jewish here! So holy!

      The last two weeks, everybody has been wishing everyone else a Shana Tova and Gamar Tov, taxi drivers, supermarket workers, the postman, people on the street, religious and non-religious alike. And, as usual, Yom Kippur was mind-blowing. After the Kol Nidre service, I took a walk with my young boys, out to a bridge over the usually busy Begin Highway and from there to the entrance to Jerusalem. Not a car on the road!  Just think of it – Jerusalem is a major international capital and the whole city was shut down in honor of G-d! Where else in the world can you find such holiness? And not just Jerusalem – the whole country – no buses, no taxis, no TV, no radio, all in the fear and love and honor of G-d. Not just amongst the religious – everyone!

      This incredible phenomenon gives expression to the teaching of our Sages that every Jew is holy, and that every Jewish soul, in its inner sanctums, is absolutely pure. Sin is totally foreign to a Jew. Sin is totally external to our holy beings. As the Hasidic master, “Shem M’Shmuel,” explains, sin is caused by the pernicious influence and impurity of Esav, the gentile culture which surround us. When a Jew attaches himself to this polluted culture, and identifies with its pastimes and customs, he is led astray from his holy roots and falls into sin, like putting on soiled clothes. He sins because he is led astray after the moral pollution of the unholy culture around him. But the Jew himself, in his inner essence, is always pure. That’s why our sins can be washed away with our repentance on Yom Kippur.

      When I think of how immersed I used to be in the polluted America culture, I shudder, and thank G-d for having rescued me by bring me to Israel and teaching me the Torah of Eretz Yisrael. Let me give an example. During the short afternoon break in our Yom Kippur prayers, I went to the bathroom, but my head was so filled with thoughts of G-d, I didn’t know what to do. You can’t think about G-d in the bathroom. So I tried to think about work, but I didn’t want to think about work on Yom Kippur and Shabbat, so I had a sudden flash to think about something unholy like baseball. But my mind went blank. I don’t know anything about baseball anymore, thank G-d. I used to love baseball as a normal American sports fan, and I still remember names like Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Warren Spahn, Willy Mays, Duke Snider, SANDY KOUFAX, Yogi Berra, Pee Wee Reese, and Jackie Robinson, but since I became a baal t’shuva and moved to Israel, I don’t follow American sports at all. Zero. Not the World Series, and not the Super Bowl. I couldn’t care less. It’s all a waste of time. We have a Jewish country to rebuild, and millions of Jews to re-educate – who has time for stupid nonsense like American sports? Exercise is a mitzvah, and kids should be encouraged to engage in sports, but following baseball players and Major League standings of the goyim – why pollute our holy Jewish minds and waste precious time?

      A friend who recently came on aliyah told me that when the airplane landed in Israel, a black-kippah clad, religious American youth in his twenties, gave out a cheer. My friend thought he was happy to land in Israel, but the youth called out that the Yankees, or some other team, I don’t remember, had just clinched the playoffs! Thank G-d that the Almighty has cleansed my brain of all that foreign goyisha nonsense that makes such a big deal about hitting a ball.

      Thank G-d I live in Israel. Thank G-d that I don’t see prostitutes, body builders, junkies, and all kinds of alien heathens, however well dressed they might be, when I walk home from shul. Thank G-d that I don’t have to worry about getting run over, crossing the street on Yom Kippur. Thank G-d that my children grow up speaking Hebrew and understand every word of the prayers. Thank G-d that Motzei Yom Kippur is filled with the sounds of hammers banging away, as Jews proudly build sukkot for the upcoming holiday, and that no one yells at them to be quiet, and that I don’t have to set up a mini-sukkah on the back lawn for fear of the goyim and local police. And how wonderful to be in the Land where the Four Species grow naturally, where the holiday of Sukkot is meant to be observed!

      How wonderful to live in Israel. It’s the only Jewish place to be. A whole Jewish country! The Holy Land! The Land of the Bible!  For someone who really wants to get closer to G-d, this is the place. For someone who wants their children and grandchildren to continue to be Jews, Israel is the only solution.

      What are people waiting for? Can someone tell me? It’s so wonderful here! I simply can’t figure it out! מבולבל מבולבל מבולבל