web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



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


Rav Kook

Share Button

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.

Share Button

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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

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

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.
Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba
Latest Blogs Stories
Justin Hayet (second from right) at the State University of New York at Binghamton, supporting Israel against anti-Israel attacks.

Pro-Israel leaders on campus are as important as the troops in the IDF and professional hasbaraniks.

Children re-enacting the Exodus from Egypt, in southern Israel, April 10, 2014.

The seder reminds us of our freedom now that we are home again in the land of the Nation of Israel

IDF Crew Chiefs on Elite Helicopter Mission. Jan. 13, 2014

IDF helicopters are ready to act on a moment’s notice to defend the State of Israel.

The Samson Super Hercules aircraft ensures the IDF can safeguard Israel from far beyond her shores.

Rudoren and the Times are determined to go the extra mile to humanize Barghouti.

Gazans are among the principal victims of the terror-addicted Hamas Islamists.

Factors that you need to take into account when deciding whether to rent or buy a home.

Intelligence organizations seek enemy’s secrets; for the past 35 years, all secrets are on computers.

Guest Blogger Robert proves that one must not eat any Matzah on Pesach based on an article in Vosizneias.

Students most in danger of going OTD are those with damaged egos from teacher inattentiveness.

It is unfair to judge a 52 year old man with the glasses of a person who lives in a different world.

The president of the Cambridge Satchel Company talks about the exponential growth of her company.

The Arabs didn’t miss an opportunity for peace. Their goal has always been something else entirely.

Before Begin’s policy of withdrawing from Land liberated in the 6 Day War, today’s scenario was unthinkable.

Rosh Chodesh Nissan commemorates the very first mitzvah.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: