The Gemara informs us that in the time immediately preceding the advent of Mashiach, known as the “Footsteps of Mashiach,” truth will disappear. A spirit of falsehood will grip the Jewish People and no one will want to hear the truth.
That time has arrived. The new government in Israel, which was founded upon falsehood and voter betrayal, is one example. Yesterday’s inauguration of the “City of Spies” in Mexico is another.
The “City of Spies” is my name for the disgraceful endeavor. Its organizers bill the pumped-up extravaganza as the “City of Torah.” Here is their press release:
“Hundreds of members of the Jewish community of Mexico participated in a rare and uplifting Shabbat at the Marriott Hotel in Extep de la Salle near the new 'City of Torah' neighborhood. As Shabbat approached, the heads of the Torat Eliyahu Institution gathered to purchase land in the City of Torah, where a Yeshiva will be built on an area of 60,000 meters, with the yeshiva's main building in the center. About 40 houses are intended for students, who will dedicate their lives to the Torah and will be able to live in them free of charge. Several notable rabbis from the United States of America spent the weekend there, with the intent of emphasizing how the intention behind the City of Torah is to enjoy learning the Torah away from the stress of city life.”
The Spies in the Wilderness also wanted to establish a “City of Torah” away from the stress of conquering the Land of Israel and dwelling in the Promised Land in accordance with Hashem’s command. Their unwillingness to establish their Torah City in Israel was the greatest sin in Jewish History. The entire male generation was punished with death in the wilderness. Hashem called them rebels and non-believers for disobeying His command to live in Eretz Yisrael. Our Sages teach that their national betrayal fell on Tisha B’Av and set the foundation for the future destruction of the Temple and our exile from the Land.
Certainly, in the eyes of the prophet Ezekiel, the “City of Torah” in Mexico is a Chillul Hashem – a desecration of the Name of G-d. He declares:
“And when they came to the nations into which they came, they profaned My Holy Name, in that men said of them: These are the people of the L-rd, and they are gone out of His land,” (Ezekiel, 36:20).
This prophecy is coming to tell us the mere fact that Jews are living outside the Land of Israel is a desecration of G-d. Why? Because in the eyes of the Gentiles, our presence in the Diaspora proclaims that G-d lacks the power to keep us in His Land. That was back then in Ezekiel’s days. Now in our time, when G-d has returned the Land of Israel to the Jews, the situation is even worse, for it seems, in the eyes of the Gentiles, that in clinging to Diaspora communities, and in establishing a “City of Torah” in the Catholic country of Mexico, we prefer foreign lands to the Land which Hashem bequeathed to the Jews.
If the Jews of Mexico have the millions to build a “City of Torah” in the wilderness of Mexico, they could just as easily use the money to send yeshiva students to Israel to learn and to live. By turning their backs on the Promised Land, and choosing to stay in Mexico, or America, Australia, South Africa, or France, this is a desecration of G-d. This is what G-d’s prophet is telling us, and presumably, his rabbinical ordination is no less than the Rabbis who flocked to join the festive inaugural ceremonies in the Mexican hotel on Shabbat.
Lest you want to believe that these words are merely the ranting of Tzvi Fishman, here are some reader comments from the Hebrew Arutz 7 website in reaction to the “City of Torah” press release. All twenty entries condemn the project and the fanfare surrounding it, giving hope that truth has not vanished completely:
“The Chatam Sofer already cited the prohibition against building permanent structures in lands of impurity. The Meshech Chochmah writes that when Jews turn Berlin into Jerusalem a storm-wind will arise and uproot them. Jews of Mexico - rectify your errant ways and come to Israel!”
“What a disgrace!”
“City of Torah? In the impure land of the Gentiles? At the beginning of Sefer Devarim, Hashem tells the Jews to leave the wilderness and journey on to Eretz Yisrael. Our Sages teach that the Galut is the greatest bitul Torah that exists (Hagigah 5B). The Ramban teaches that the entire essence of the Torah and the observance of the commandments is only in Eretz Yisrael. We only continue to perform the mitzvot in the Diaspora lest we forget them. Making a celebration out of it is a disgrace. Wake up Jews!
“This is simply depressing.”
“City of Torah? In Chutz L’Aretz? What utter blindness!”
“Our Sages teach that in the future all synagogues and yeshivot in the Diaspora will be relocated to Eretz Yisrael. Why waste the energy of building a city of Torah in Mexico? Build the city in Israel now!”
“A total folly.”
“What is this love affair with Gentile countries?”
“We need you here!”
“Shameful! To build a city of Torah amongst idol worshippers when Hashem has returned us to our Land? We should all fast and scream out to Heaven for forgiveness. A million Gevalts!”
To summarize – Amigos! Hombres! My heart’s devotion. Come and build Torah cities in Israel before Mexico falls into de ocean!
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."