Fourth of July - Who Cares?

Tzvi Fishman,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Tzvi Fishman
Tzvi Fishman is a recipient of the Israel Ministry of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture. His many novels and books on a variety of Jewish themes are available at Amazon Books. Recently, he has published "Arise and Shine!" and "The Lion's Roar" - 2 sequels to his popular novel, "Tevye in the Promised Land." In Israel, the Tevye trilogy is distributed by Sifriyat Bet-El Publishing. He is also the director and producer of the feature film, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman," starring Israel's popular actor, Yehuda Barkan. ...

The Fourth of July - Who Cares?

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One of the great things about Israel is that when Christmas time comes around, you don’t notice it at all. Sure, if you go to Bethlehem, you’ll see Christmas decorations and maybe a manger, but what Jew goes to Bethlehem anymore? The same is true with the Fourth of July. True, I saw somebody driving around yesterday with American flags waving from his car windows, but I didn’t think of the Fourth of the July. My wife, who is Israeli, asked, “Why would anyone want to drive with American flags flying out of his car?” At the time, I didn’t know what to answer. Only later, when I noticed the hoopla on an American website, did I realize that the Fourth of July was nearing. In Israel, the 17th of Tammuz, a fast day over the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem. Who cares about the Fourth of July?

The truth is that not many Americans really care about it either. It’s a day off from work, maybe a barbecue, a chance to do some discount shopping, and see some fireworks on TV. OK, maybe in riot-ravaged America, there are still a few patriotic souls who get misty when they hear the Star Spangled Banner and see Old Betsy wave in the wind. But for a Jew to celebrate the Fourth of July? It’s as absurd as a Native American Indian going to a baseball double-header in honor of the day. My grandmother, of blessed memory, was won’t to say, “A curse on Columbus,” because he discovered the country that opened the gates of mass assimilation for the Jews.

Sorry, sorry. I know there are many liberal Jews out there who don’t like it when a Jew come across as a fanatic. Therefore, to all you Jews in America, if you want to drink beer and eat hot dogs on the Fourth of July because America has been good to the Jews, then drink your Budweisers and eat your hot dogs. But after you finish your meal and thank G-d for the food and the Land, don’t confuse matters and think that the land in the Birkat HaMazone blessing is referring to America. The Torah wants a Jew to praise G-d for having given him the Land of Israel, not for the US of A. In formulating the blessing, our Sages wanted a Jew to remember Jerusalem, not Washington D.C. or New York. Go ahead and eat your hot dogs, if they are kosher. Drink your beer. But don’t think that the Fourth of July is Independence Day. For a Jew, Independence Day is Yom Haatzmaut. Remember, my Diaspora friend, your ancestors were Israelis. Your nation is Israel, not American. You should be saluting the Star of David, not the Stars and Stripes. Remember that you are only in America, temporarily, because of the curse of galut, and with the founding of the State of Israel, there is no reason or justification to live in Gentile lands anymore. Perhaps you were born there, but it isn’t your home. When a baseball sails into the bleachers for a game-winning grand slam, the goy cheering next to you may flash you a happy smile, but he really hates your guts. And if he is a Black African American, he hates no less.

So have a happy Fourth of July if you like. But don’t pretend it is Independence Day for you. If you are a Jew, the “land of the free and the home of the brave” is in Israel.

Hope to see you here soon.