WARNING! Lech lecha!

A Jew cannot forge the same connection to Hashem in Ur Kasdim, Haran, Berlin, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, or Palm Beach, as in Eretz Yisrael.

Tzvi Fishman ,

Tzvi Fishman
Tzvi Fishman

It’s the Torah portion of “Lech Lecha” and I’ve already seen a bombardment of shiurim from digital Diaspora Rabbis who turn the command to live in Eretz Yisrael into some abstract, universal, philosophical journey to encounter one’s inner self.

“Lech Lecha – go to your inner self!” they spout, as if the Torah is some kind of Eastern religion. They quote Rashi who explains “Lech lecha - Go for yourself, for your benefit TO ERETZ YISRAEL,” as some inner search disconnected from a specific GEOGRAPHIC location on the map.

First of all, should a Jew make a spiritual journey to encounter his innermost self, he will hear a loud voice echoing “LECH LECHA to your true Jewish source in ERETZ YISRAEL.” The last stop on the journey isn’t discovering that our souls are bursting with Torah. The last station is keeping the Torah in the specific geographical, down-to-earth place where Hashem ordered Avraham to keep it.

A Jew and the Land of Israel are one. They cannot be divided. A Jew cannot forge the same connection to Hashem in Ur Kasdim, Haran, Berlin, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, or Palm Beach, as he or she can in Eretz Yisrael. That is 100% certain!

Yes, these non-geographic, philosophical, spiritual preachers may be adored by the thousands. They may command high salaries and win distinguished prizes. They are loved precisely because they don’t demand that Diaspora Jews pack up and move to Israel.

Let’s face it - if they did, they’d lose their jobs.

“Help us continue to build our wonderful Torah community in Boca and Del Ray,” they say.

In the past, when it was impossible to travel to Israel, perhaps there was room for pretending that Berlin was the new Jerusalem and that America was the Promised Land. But now that Hashem has returned Jewish sovereignty to a significant portion of the Holy Land and transformed Israel into one of the leading countries in the world, the philosophical babble of journeying into your inner self has run its course.

In the most simple straight talk “Lech Lecha” means that a Jew should pack up his bags and take his family to the Land of Israel, brother, the Land that Hashem chose for His People. Be a true son of Abraham. Be a true Jew. Come home to the Land of Israel!

Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."

Tzvi Fishman books