The roots for the Destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem were planted long before the Destruction itself, on the night the Spies in the Wilderness returned from their ill-fated mission and convinced the Jewish People not to journey on to live in the Promised Land. That night was the 9th of Av. Their rejection of the Land of Israel was the rotten foundation which brought about our later National Destruction as an independent Nation in our own Land.
Our Sages tell us that HaKodesh Baruch Hu, the Holy One Blessed Be He, weeps when a Jewish home is torn apart by of divorce. Unfortunately, He must be crying quite a lot these days, judging from the vast number of divorcees you discover on the pages of Facebook.
Browsing through a news website, I noticed that the World Series is just two weeks away. I haven’t followed baseball for 30 years, ever since making aliyah. When I lived in America, and thought I was an American, I loved baseball, like everyone else. But baseball doesn’t interest me anymore. I don’t even know what teams are in the running this year. The World Series has absolutely nothing to do with the Redemption of Am Yisrael, so who cares? But maybe we can borrow a few metaphors from baseball to help America Jews understand that Judaism in the Diaspora is the Little Leagues.
How can the Jews of the Diaspora put up with it?
Being Jewish is a nationality, not merely a religion. We Jews are the Children of Israel. We are members of the Nation of Israel. It doesn’t matter where we live. Only because of having been exiled from our own Jewish Land and scattered to foreign countries for the last 2000 years do we mistakenly think we are members of those foreign, gentile nationalities. Yes, a Jew may have citizenship in the United States or France, but he is still, first and foremost a Jew.
Many Jews in the Diaspora don’t understand the meaning of the Haggadah's statement: “This year, we are here; next year, in the Land of Israel. This year, we are slaves; next year, free people.” It means NOW!
One of Rav Kook's public proclamations, sent out all over the Diaspora, years before the Holocaust, was entitled, “The Great Call”: "To the Land of Israel, gentlemen, to the Land of Israel! Let us utter this appeal in one voice, in a great and never-ending cry."
Hamas's celebrations of victory are based on fantasy and lies, and their joy won’t last when we hit them ten times as hard the next time.
Here I was, just out of New York, not knowing what the Torah was really about, surrounded by tens of thousands of ecstatic davening Jews, with the choruses of “Amen, yihe shamai rabbahs” ringing in my ears like the blasts of the shofar on Mount Sinai. What can I tell you? New York and Hollywood were blown out of my brain, like a dream that never happened, just like the Psalm says: “When the Lord brings back the captives of Zion, we were like those who dream.”
One of the questions a person is asked when he reaches his Heavenly rest is, "Did you yearn for Salvation?" If a Jew does not long for the Redemption, for Salvation from the exile, then something is wrong. If he is happy in the Diaspora, then his Judaism is out of focus, and he is out of touch with his soul's deepest yearnings. As The Kuzari poignantly declares, his prayers for Jerusalem and Zion are like the chatterings of a nightingale, melodious but empty of meaning.
There is a special mitzvah on Sukkot to be “ach samaoch.” Only joyous. It is a happiness not dependent on anything external, beyond definition and words. Just to be absolutely joyous in one’s love and worship of G-d. Rabbi Kook describes the sukkah as a whirlpool of joyous energy which is constantly changing each second, reaching ever-higher levels of joy and attachment to G-d.
Rabbi Kook decries the tragedy of Jewish education in the Diaspora because it fails to teach that the Land of Israel is an indivisible part of being Jewish,
This past year, the government of Syria has slaughtered 50,000 truly innocent civilians. Does the world give a damn? No.
Starting this coming Monday, don’t miss The Jewish Press serializing of the novel, Tevye in the Promised Land, a wonderful faith-filled adventure for the whole family, covering the Tevye’s unforgettable journey to the Promised Land.
Rav Kook often studied Rebbe Nachman's writings with guests during Suedat Shleeshi meal on Shabbat
Years have passed since Rabbi Kahane penned this essay, but it still rings sadly true today. Rabbi Kahane was known for saying uncomfortable things that comfortable Jews didn’t want to hear. In honor of his yahrtzeit, here’s another one of his brilliant and illuminating writings, which was published almost 25 years ago in The Jewish Press.
No, I’m not talking about those famed Brooklyn Bums, I’m speaking about the Aliyah Dodgers, the Diaspora Giants, the Ultra-Orthodox Williamsburg White Sox, the Assimilated Cardinals, and the OU Washington Nationals.
Moshe Rabainu didn’t say any of the other 515 excuses you usually hear. Just the opposite. Moshe begged again and again and again, 515 prayers, to be granted the incomparable blessing of entering the Land. Today, there are people frummer than Moshe. The Land of Israel isn’t glatt enough for them. Or they don’t like the government. Or they’re worried about finding jobs, as if the hand of Hashem is too short to feed them. They prefer to rely on Uncle Sam instead.
These days, it’s pretty hard to know who really is Jewish. Let’s take the example of the singles-bar scene in New York. A lot of times a Jewish guy will start talking to girl (call her Debbie) and during the conversation, he’ll ask if she’s Jewish, and she says, “Sure,” when she isn’t Jewish at all. So I have devised an almost foolproof test to determine if a person is really a Jew.
Our Sages teach that when Chanukah comes around, we are to thank Hashem, not only for the miracles that He performed for us in...
Jewish life changes when we are in Galut. Not only does our Clalli soul disappear, but every detail of our life is affected.
Emunah, the very heart of the Torah, teaches us what God and the Nation of Israel are all about.
Hashem doesn’t want us in Galut forever. We are supposed to long for the higher existence of Geula - of Jewish sovereignty in our own Land, with our Holy Temple in our midst.
Once again today, Diasporas leaders are not leading the Jewish People to Israel. Instead the Jews in the Diaspora are 'diasporing' away.
When Moshe led the war against Amalek, he didn’t just pray on the mountain – he sent Yehoshua to lead the soldiers of the Molech Israelite Army to fight down below on the battlefield. Yehoshua didn’t merely blow shofars in conquering the Land, he cut off the heads of the enemy. And who was a greater scholar than Rabbi Akiva? To defend the Land of Israel from the Romans, he closed his Gemorah, rushed to the battlefield, and accompanied Bar Kochba into battle!!