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A Torah scroll.

This blog should be a permanent post on the homepage of The Jewish Press, and people should read it every day to remind themselves who they really are as Jews and what real Judaism is all about.

Don’t try to brush it off by saying, “What does Fishman know – a former screenwriter from Hollywood?”

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Get ready to hear the Torah explained by the greatest Torah teacher of them all – Moshe Rabeinu, as we begin his review of the Torah in the Book of Devarim.

As we approach Tisha B’Av, it is indeed a fitting time to take a new/old look at the Torah and at its eternal truths, which are as true for our time as they were in the times of Moshe Rabeinu. That’s one of the basic principles of the Torah – it doesn’t change.

Sometimes people ask me. “Why do you waste your time trying to teach Diaspora Jews, over and over again, that the Torah is meant to be kept in the Land of Israel, rather than in Brooklyn, Boca, or Beverly Hills?”

The answer is because I love them. When you love somebody, you want the best for them. Even if you saw a total stranger about to fall off a cliff, you’d scream out to warn him – all the more so regarding someone you love.

Now, there are those who say, “What do you mean ‘fall off a cliff?’ Jewish life is great here in Brooklyn and Boca!”

It may seem great to them now, but at the end of their wonderful 120 years in Brooklyn and Boca, when they get to the gates of the real Gan Eden, they are going to be surprised to learn that they have to return back to Earth and live life all over again until they finish their tikun. It won’t help them if they’ve learned the whole Talmud ten times over. They’ll have to go back for another reincarnation. Why? Because they, we, the whole Nation of Israel, were thrown into exile because we transgressed the Torah when we lived in the Holy Land long ago. So our rectification, atonement, and tikun is to return to the Land of Israel and keep the Torah, there, in the Land of Israel, the way it was meant to be kept. Souls are reincarnated over and over again until they get things straight. The lucky ones, that is. For those who aren’t giving the chance, when the Resurrection of the Dead comes around, their bodies will have to roll all the painful way through underground tunnels from their Diaspora graveyards to the Holy Land, because, as the Zohar explains, the Resurrection of the Dead only takes place in Israel.

As we mentioned in a previous blog, our Sages inform us that 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.

Afterwards, stripped of our own Jewish Land and Israeli Nationhood, we became minorities in foreign lands. Up until the Destruction, the religion of the Jewish People was the Torah, a combination of Divine laws and commandments that covered our individuals lives and the life of the Jewish Nation, laws concerning the king, the Sanhedrin, the army of Israel, the Beit HaMikdash, national sacrifices, and the agricultural laws unique to The Holy Land. But when we were cast out of our Land, the Torah lost its earthy component, and our physical Nationhood ceased. Instead of being the Divine Constitution of our Nation, the Torah was reduced to moral teachings and a handful of individual commandments, like the bones of a large salmon at the end of the Shabbos morning Kiddush. That’s when “Judaism” started. Stripped of our own Land, and Israelite monarchy, our own Jewish Nationhood was lost. Exiled in other peoples’ countries, we were left with the few ritual precepts that we could still perform, like putting on tefillin, keeping kosher, learning Torah, and observing the Sabbath. Instead of being our National Constitution, the Torah was truncated into being just a religion without its many fundamental National, Political, and Geopgraphic obligations and demands.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. @Charlotte Barber…yes Judaism is a religion but, it is also a people, it is in the dna, jews were given the land and have every right, ordained by Our Blessed Creator to take it back. We (Jews) were driven out and spread to other countries because of war and because others try to wipe us out. Hashem will never let this happen for he had chosen us (Jews) to make the world good and to make peace and live by the commandments. As for the occupation, that is the so called "Palestinians" choice because they refuse to live in peace with Israel and Jews.

  2. Moshe Rabeinu faced even greater anti-Israeli comments during his time; so, take courage Tzvi. Your pointed news of truth hit a nerve of falsehood. There is no such thing as occupation and this is not only according to the Torah but according to international law. Arabs were not driven from their homes by Israel but rather were forced to leave by their own Arab leaders in hopes of destroying Israel which never happened. As it was in days of Moses, those who support Israel are welcome to stay but those who want Israel destroyed should leave. Sounds fair to me for any people of any country. Keep up the good work, Tzvi.

  3. You did not readthe comment correctly. They were not driven out by Israel but by the Arabs. They were told to leave while the Arabs massacred the Jews and they were told they would then be able to return. They chose to leave, believing the Jews, their neighbours, would be wiped out. They choose now to elect terrorist leaders who still stand on a platform of wiping out the Jews. You lack intellectual clarity and honesty. Put it right, for your own sake if nothing else.

  4. Christianity and Islam both claim to follow on from the Torah. In other words both testify to its divinity although both then claim to be able to abrogate it, both place another book in front of it, both claim their prophet was the greatest and final prophet, both have persecuted and murdered countless millions of Jews and will do so again if they can. However the Torah also teaches that G-d will curse those who curse Israel, Jerusalem will be a stumbling block to all who try to destroy her and G-d will protectIsrael and destroy her enemies. You're on the losing side girlie.

  5. : Tzvi makes a good point… We as the now older generation of Jews and the younger generations that are right behind us MUST teach that the purpose of our existence is the service of G-d and that G-d Himself commanded us to live in Israel. He is also correct that the diaspora is not supposed to last forever. The prophets tell us that we will see the exiles return before our own eyes. This is what is happening right now. As to American Jewry, we have become so Americanized that we sometimes forget to put the emPHasis on the correct SYllabLE. We need to change our focus from what can we do today for our communities in America to how can we move these communities to Israel. Israel is the land that G-d Swore to our forefathers It is the place where the Beis HaMikdash will once again be. It is the place where mitzvot of G-d have meaning and the only way to fulfill our obligation to G-d is through the performance of His commandments, many many many of which CANNOT be fulfilled anywhere else on earth. Therefore it is our duty and the holiest of mitzvot to teach our young and convince our elderly that Israel is the one and only true home of the Jewish people and we must make it a priority to get ourselves there. That will mean the end of the diaspora and we will have stopped wondering. May it come speedily along with the rebuilding of the Temple on the Mount of Olives. Amen

  6. tzvi – I'm screamig at you to not fall of that cliff called idolatry – really now… reincarnation? please show me where in the torah this is taught…. resurrection yes…. reincarnation…. no….

  7. Generally speaking, a person enjoys the benefits of keeping the commandments only when he himself keeps them; however, if a person causes others to do good deeds, he has even a greater benefit: G-d will not let him commit a sin for which he will be punished. (Menorath HaMaor 5:1; Sh’nei Luchoth HaB’rith, page 238, quoting Mordechai) The reason for this is since he caused others to do good deeds, G-d does not want that they should go to the Garden of Eden and he should go to gehenom. He therefore has this advantage. (Zohar, Korach, Page 178).

    Tzvi’s books and blogs are chocked full of Torah commandments and one who studies them will know the commandments that G-d gave us and if he is honest with himself, he will be careful to keep them. Therefore, Tzvi’s published works have in them an element of bringing the many to do good. And if others spread his published works, JPress – A7 – others including you who are reading this blog at this time, all will get people to learn the commandments, do them, avoid sin and all will be worthy of the advantage already mentioned of not coming to do sin. Thus, Tzvi and his readers will be blessed both by G-d and man. All will be worthy of the blessing, “Those who bring the many to good will shine like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). Additionally, Me’Am Lo’Ez states vol 15 page xliv: “Every person who brings the many to righteousness will shine like the stars in the next world.”.

  8. Reincarnation is one of the main principles of Judaism and if I, Tzvi, or someone else were to give you a reference, you more than likely would give it up. It is evident that you do not know nor do you have those references otherwise you would know what reincarnation is; therefore, I would advise you to contact a Rabbi who could show you the references and explain to you what reincarnation means in Judaism. You’d be farther ahead and will also understand that reincarnation has nothing to do with idolatry as you mean it to be in your post but rather it could mean that one might be reincarnated because of idolatry so as to repent and overcome it. Good luck in your pursuits.

  9. yehuda cohen – by saying "Reincarnation is one of the main principles of Judaism." you are a teacher of lies that lead to false beliefs. there is no truth in your reply. it is kaballahistic gobbledegook you are speaking of – not the tanakh or torah.

  10. Jeff, you really should go to atheistic non Jewish forums instead of denigrating the Judaism levels here of which the most learned and holy Rabbis have and still practice (i.e. Kabbalah). The Torah gives the ideas of reincarnation in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 which is too long to post here and in Job 33:29 “Behold, G-d does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.” There are others, I’m sure of which most learned Rabbis could mention but it doesn’t appear that you are here to learn as you are to belittle and in the end be belittled. I can assure it will not be from me.

  11. The 'occupation' of Israel by the Jews is affirmed in law. If the Arabs had a claim to it they would have made that claim in a court of law. Most of the Arab countries were given their land along with the British and French Mandates in the Middle East. I don't suppose you have a problem with that? The 'Palestinians' were given Jordan, even though it was meant to be Israeli land. Think for yourself instead of listening, unthinkingly, to your communist teachers and regurgitating their lies and hatred for a great and decent people..

  12. hi yehuda. are you implying that reincarnation is included in the principles of faith or is the information you are referring to simply an extra biblical interpretation of simple torah passages? in job from what i understand and by removing the proof texting you have done and reading more of the passage is what one might call “enlightenment” during one’s lifetime – come out of the darkness (pit) and see the light of torah and aquire your true soul – god will give you a few chances at that. it speaks of while you live, not reincarnation. the deut passage appears to be literal about continuing one’s name or lineage. ps@liad – i’m jewish – i am not an atheist.

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