web analytics
November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Don’t Ask What Israel Can Do For You – Ask What You Can Do For Israel


Rav Kook

In the light of this introduction, we can take a more meaningful look at the essay’s first sentence:

“Eretz Yisrael is not a peripheral matter, an external acquisition of the nation; it is not merely a means toward the goal of the general coalescing of the Nation, nor of strengthening its material existence, nor even its spiritual.”

Generally, people believe that the reason a nation needs a land is to insure its physical existence. Obviously, a place to live is a foundation of any nation. According to this world view, the land only provides a physical shelter. The culture of the nation evolves from the society which the people establish, and not from the land, which possesses only external importance.

Rabbi Kook begins his essay on Eretz Yisrael by rejecting this way of thinking. He tells us that Eretz Yisrael is not merely a means towards a goal, lacking value in itself. A means is something which you can live without if you have a suitable replacement. This is the world view which led Theodore Herzl to look toward Uganda as a possible site for the reestablishment of the Jewish Nation. To his way of thinking, the land was merely the means toward the goal of creating a national homeland. Of course, the Land of Israel had historical significance, but Uganda or Argentina could do just as well. Herzl and other early Zionists also understood that a Jewish homeland was needed for cultural reasons – to prevent assimilation and shelter the Nation from the dangers of foreign ideologies, but the land itself, its location, climate, features, and history were not for them the deciding factors. The goal was the physical coalescing of the nation – the land was merely a vehicle to help achieve this end.

Obviously, the plan for Uganda never materialized. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the counsel of God is what stands.” Among the laws of the universe which God created is that the Jewish People belong in Israel. Jewish life outside of Israel is abnormal – a devastating punishment and curse. Jews can live as scattered individuals throughout the world, from Yemen to Brooklyn to Paris, but they can only live as a sovereign Nation in Israel.

Rabbi Kook writes that Eretz Yisrael is not merely a place of physical refuge for downtrodden Jews. Nor is it just a place to attain spiritual heights or to do extra mitzvot. It is not to be seen merely as a wonderful place to send Birthright kids on a ten-day trip in order to strengthen their Jewish identity and pride. How then are we to relate to the Land of Israel? Once we are freed from erroneous understandings, we can attempt to discover a deeper, more encompassing vision: “Eretz Yisrael is an independent unit, bound with a living attachment with the Nation, bound with inner Segulot with the nation’s existence.”

What is the meaning of this difficult sentence? Firstly, the Land of Israel is not merely a means, but a value and goal in itself. It is connected by a living bond which is inseparable from the Nation. The Land and the Nation cannot attain their full life and expression, one without the other. They are complementary, united, with an active spiritual and physical union. Without the Jewish People in Israel, the Land is doomed to lie in desolation, as it had throughout nearly 2000 years of exile. Similarly, just as the Land is desolate when Jews are not in it, the Jewish People are desolate when they are not in the Land. Outside the Land of Israel, the Jewish People are wanderers without their own country, waiting to rise to resurrection and rebirth. True, Jews in the Diaspora can be successful and make outstanding contributions to world civilization, but only on an individual level. Without our own Land, we exist as individuals, stripped of our national foundation and splendor.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Don’t Ask What Israel Can Do For You – Ask What You Can Do For Israel”

  1. Reading Fishman declaring that "Arabs don't read books" is very disappointing. Imagine how indignant he would be if someone wrote a negative comment about Jews. Right wing religious Jews in Israel, probably from North America, are among the most openly racist and bigoted people around. It is disgraceful.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Blogs Stories
President Ruby Rivlin

President Rivlin’s recent statements are only half right, and that’s why he’s completely wrong.

i_love_jerusalem

This is our song “Learn to Love;” May joy and light be restored to Jerusalem speedily in our days.

Free-Jonathan-Pollard-Poster

I have a dream…President Obama will go to that prison, Pardon Jonathan Pollard and set him free

Rabbi-Twersky-112114

The burden of proof that a person is against Israel but not anti-Semitic rests on that person.

Bibi’s promising a good battle, not a victory in the war; We need to WIN the war against terrorism!

For 1000s of years it was perfectly OK for Jews to pray on Herod’s Extension of the Temple Mount.

The focus on the “Occupation” since 1967 is yet another invention to justify hatred and murder.

It should be clear Israel’s existence is not the real issue; the issue is Islamic fundamentalism.

But I am not afraid.I know this is Jewish land, not because of UN/foreign gov’ts saying we can exist

A grassroots initiative of hundreds of Chareidim from Har Nof is underway to attend the funeral of Zidan Saif and to pay their respects to the fallen policeman and to the Druze community in the village of Yanuch-Jat in Northern Israel.

Discover the world of NY high society and its intrigue.

A Jew is no more exempt in this war by living in the US or UK than I am enlisted by living in Efrat

Officer Zidan Sayif saved lives in the Har Nof Massacre, but was shot in the head and is now fighting for his life.

“Y.E.” a United Hatzalah paramedic was injured while treating the wounded under fire in the Har Nof Massacre.

It is time the leaders in Israel and the world realize this has nothing to do with settlements or the Temple Mount or a fake claim of occupation and everything to do with radical Islamic barbarism!

The Leftist Israeli media has always been unabashedly political;To them “objective”=”in my opinion”

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/dont-ask-what-israel-can-do-for-you-ask-what-you-can-do-for-israel/2012/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: