Rabbi Dov Begun
Rabbi Dov BegunMiriam Tzachi

Rabbi Dov Begun, head of the Machon Meir Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem is perhaps the Number-One kiruv Rabbi in the world. Over the past 40 years, tens of thousands of Jews have returned to the Torah under his spiritual guidance, married and established families in the Land of Israel, a majority of them in Judea and Samaria.

I was fortunate to be among them. When I arrived in Israel as a new oleh at the age of 34 and began to learn Torah at Machon Machon, the first words that Rav Begun said to me were “Tzvi, you have to get married.” Fortunately, I met a young and wonderful Israeli woman who was learning at Machon Meir’s school for women. With his always shining eyes, Rav Begun performed our wedding service. His words to us and to all the guests made everyone feel that our marriage was much more than our own private joy but a vital part of the Redemption of the reborn Nation of Israel in Eretz Yisrael and an integral part of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Inspired by his faithfulness to the teachings of his own Rabbi, HaRav Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, my wife and I established our home in the pioneering community of Bet El in order to play our part in the resettlement of the Land.

On Hanukkah, Rabbi Begun reminds students that everything in the world is brought about by the Holy One Blessed Be He, including the symbol of the State of Israel - the seven-branched Menora, like the Menorah in the Beit HaMikdash. Hashem put this symbol in the minds of the founders of the State to teach that the essence of the State of Israel is holy - even though it may appear secular at a superficial glance, and even though its founders may not have been aware of the holy mitzvah they were doing.

Hashem brought about the establishment of the modern State of Israel just as He brought about the victory of the Maccabees in those days of yore at this time of the year, even when a majority of Jews rejected the war of the Maccabees and the fight was the few against the many, just as it is today. And one day soon, Rabbi Begun happily declares, the Menora will stand sanctified in the Beit HaMikdash just as it was sanctified by the Maccabees in the past - proving to everyone in the Nation, both the secular and the haredi, that Hashem also orchestrated the founding of the State of Israel and that it was holy from its very beginning, marked by the ingathering of the exiles from the four corners of the globe, the miraculous victories in war over far vaster enemies, and the equally miraculous transformation of the young and struggling country into a world leader in all fields, including our becoming the Torah center of the world. Happy Hanukkah!

For more teachings of Rabbi Dov Begun see the book “Israel Redeemed” available at Amazon Books.

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."