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The Great Contribution of Diaspora Jewry

By Tzvi Fishman
11/1/2011, 8:11 AM

Before presenting the next chapter of “Heaven’s Door,” I would like to once again apologize to anyone who I might have offended during the course of writing this blog, especially my beloved brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. It has always been my heartfelt intention to educate readers about the true understanding of Judaism and its goal of establishing the Nation of Israel in the Land of Israel, according the teachings of the Torah; and to furthermore warn readers of the shortcomings and dangers of Jewish life in foreign gentile lands.

I realize however that not everyone can make the difficult move to Israel, which is, in addition to being equal in weight to all of the commandments of the Torah, the most demanding and challenging mitzvah there is. Furthermore, the darkness of the exile is so dense, “choshech mamash,” in the words of the Torah, darkness that you can actually feel like a thick sticky glue, that it is almost impossible to see the light of Eretz Yisrael without intense prayer and yearning, and a deep and committed learning of Torat Eretz Yisrael, as illuminated in the writings of Rabbi Kook and his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda.

Furthermore, along with my sincere apology for portraying Diaspora Jewry in a negative light, I would like to commend my brothers and sisters in the Diaspora who, in defiance of the great darkness of foreign lands, have maintained a dedicated connection to Eretz Yisrael, as manifested by your support of Israel, by the charity you give in its behalf, and by being avid readers of Arutz 7, through of your great love for Israel and day-to-day concern for its welfare.  

Rabbi Kook writes in his treatise “Orot,” in his chapter on Eretz Yisrael:  

 “The more one is incapable of tolerating the air outside the land of Israel; the more one feels the impure spirit of the defiled foreign land - this is a sign of a more interior absorption of the Kedusha (holiness) of the Land of Israel, of the sublime kindness which will never abandon the person who has merited to take refuge in the clear umbrage of the Land of Life, even in his distant journeys, even in his exile, and in the land of his wanderings.

 “The strangeness that one feels outside of the Land of Israel causes a greater bond with the inner spiritual desire for Eretz Yisrael and its Kedusha. The yearning to see the Land increases, and the vision of the concrete, holy image of the Land, which the eyes of G-d are always upon from the beginning of the year until the end, becomes deeper and deeper. And the depth of the holy yearning of the love of Zion, of remembering the Land to which all the good things of life are bound - when this valorously increases in the soul, even in one individual - behold, it acts like an overflowing spring to all of the Clal, to the myriads of souls which are bound up with him, and the voice of the shofar of the ingathering of the outcasts awakens; and great mercy increases; and the hope of life for Israel sparkles; and the planting of G-d develops and blooms; and the light of Salvation and Redemption spreads out and out like the dawn which stretches over the mountains” (Orot, Eretz Yisrael,6).  

 Yasher koach to all of you! Through your love and connection to Israel, you are uplifting the souls of thousands of Jews, awakening deep stirrings of longing for the Land of Hashem, and binging our Redemption closer.

And by keeping the flame of Judaism burning in the darkness of exile, and by striving to pass the torch of Torah on to your children, and to educate fellow Jews to its truth and beauty, you are adding light to the darkness and bringing the day closer when Hashem’s Name will be One over all of the world with the re-establishment of all the Jewish People in Eretz Yisrael.  May the day come soon. Amen.

[In honor of Parshat “Lech Lecha,” we have reposted several important essays on Eretz Yisrael by Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, and his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, of blessed memories, on our website]