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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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‘Hear O You Deaf and Look O You Blind!’

Some readers accuse me of harping on the mitzvah of living in Israel, but it isn’t me – it’s the Torah.
fishman

We live a short walk from the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem. Over the holidays, the hotel was packed with Diaspora Jews from all over the world, but now that the holidays are over, the lobby is pretty deserted. I can’t understand how a self-respecting Jew can leave the Land of Israel and go back to the Lilliputian Jewish life of Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne, or Brooklyn after being in the Land of our Forefathers.

It’s like a Jewish husband abandoning his Jewish wife for a gentile whore. However kosher his ghetto in Chicago,Toronto, or Brooklyn may seem, it’s a ghetto all the same, in a foreign gentile land, surrounded by a foreign gentile culture, with foreign gentile values, and foreign gentile holidays, and a foreign gentile language, and a foreign gentile identity.

Some readers accuse me of harping on the mitzvah of living in Israel, but it isn’t me – it’s the Torah, as it says, “I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God” (Vayikra, 25:38).

Rashi explains the meaning of “to be your God,” stating: “For whoever resides in the Land of Israel, I am a God to him; and whoever leaves it is like one who worships idols.”

This emphatic teaching is also stated in the Talmud. It applies not only to  Jews who leave the Land of Israel, but also to Jews who make the Diaspora their home, as it says:

In all generations, a Jew should live in the Land of Israel, even in a city where the majority of inhabitants are idol worshipers, and not live in the Diaspora, even in a city where the majority of residents are Jews, for everyone who lives in the Land of Israel is like someone who has a God, and everyone who lives in the Diaspora is like someone who has no God, as it says, ‘I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God,’ for someone who resides in the Diaspora is like someone who worships idols (Ketubot 110B).

I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, but this is what it says in the Torah. This is what Rashi says. This is what the Talmud states.

This is the halacha as recorded by the Rambam:  A Jew is allowed to temporarily leave the Land of Israel for business, or to learn Torah, or to get married, and then he must return, but to dwell there is forbidden (Rambam, Laws of Kings and Their Wars, 5:12).

That’s right – a Jew is supposed to live in Israel even in a city where the majority of residents are idol worshipers, and not live in Chicago, Lakewood, Monsey, Brooklyn, or Timbuktu, even if the majority of residents are Jews. This means that a Jew is supposed to live in Israel even if the Land is filled with self-hating leftists, Haredim who spit at women, corrupt politicians, and impolite taxi drivers. The commandment to live in Israel is not dependent on whether a Jew from Chicago likes the weather in the Holy Land or finds it too hot in the summer for his tastes.

The Haftorah we read on Shabbat teaches that Hashem gives a soul to the Jewish People who live in the Land of Israel “and a spirit to those who walk therein” (Isaiah, 42:5). The Nation of Israel only has national vitality in the Land of Israel. Everywhere else, we are a minority in someone else’s land. We can excel as individual comedians, and film directors, and Facebook wizards, and businessmen, but we can’t be our own JEWISH NATION – not in Chicago, or Lakewood, or Brooklyn. How can a Jew prefer gentile countries over his own Jewish Land?

The Prophet Isaiah cries out: “Hear O you deaf, and look O you blind that you may see! For who has been so blind as My servant, so deaf as My messenger?”

Jews visit Israel for the holidays as if it is some Jewish Disney World, and then go back to their gentile lovers and the embrace of foreign gentile lands, gentile World Series, and gentile presidential elections.

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


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14 Responses to “‘Hear O You Deaf and Look O You Blind!’”

  1. Liad Bar-el says:

    After living in America for many years, I’ve learned that TV, movies, behavior on the streets, at work, etc. all display, support and encourage sexual defilement thus subjecting Jews in the diaspora to be influenced and governed by “the other side” through the forces like the stars for instance.

    According to Cf. Shalsheleth HaKabbalah; Chavath Yair 219, “there are 1022 visible stars in the sky. This sum is the numerical value of Brith Kodesh (ברית קודש) which means ‘Holy Covenant.’ This teaches that a person who sanctifies himself and does not defile the covenant of circumcision is not under the influence of the stars. Even though his astrological signs would tend to make him poor or childless, or cause him to lose his children, his destiny is changed through the merit of keeping the covenant and not defiling it through sexual misdeeds.” But what about “I’m only looking…?”.

    “The body has 248 limbs and 265 blood vessels. The soul has exactly the same number of limbs and blood vessels, but these are spiritual rather than physical. Each part of the soul is in its counterpart in the body, and is strongly bound to it. The blood vessels of the soul are also strongly bound to their counterparts in the body, just like a tree which if firmly rooted in the ground.” (Chesed LeAvraham 2:68).

    “In order to survive, the body must have food and clothing. Without these, it cannot live. The soul, too, needs two things for its survival, the study of Torah and the observance of the commandments. One without the other is not sufficient. When a person sins, this injures the soul. Thus, for example, when a man gazes at another man’s wife, this causes the eyes of the soul to become blind. As a result, he cannot understand the essence of the Torah, even when he is looking into a book. He may be studying a relatively simple lesson in the Talmud, but he will not fully understand what he is reading. The physical eye does not have the power to see. The entire sense of sight depends on the eyes of the soul, which are bound to the physical eyes. These are highly sensitive and easily blinded by sin. When the spiritual eye cannot see the page of a sacred book, the person does not understand what he is reading. The same is true of all parts of the body. When a person sins with a certain limb, its counterpart in the soul is injured.” (Me’Am Lo’Ez, Vol 1, pg 235).

    So, ‘Hear O You Deaf and Look O You Blind’ repent. Repentance is the cure for sin so that you can hear and see again; so, then you will want to come to Israel and not defile the Holy Land but rebuild it as it should be.

  2. liad that was great, can you please put it up on my timeline. i really enjoyed reading these ideas.

  3. baruch hashem to be in the holy land and not in goy heaven.

    tzvi maybe its time to go for the other verses that are much more powerful about jews being forced to come home, the ones with the hooks in the mouths?

    i totally agree with your need to warn jews and try and rescue some from the blackness of the galut. (including my own daughters and entire family).

    i can not understand how anyone wants to go back to goy heaven when living here you experience such a connection and sense of family and belonging that does not exist anywhere else. to the taxi driver, to the crazy left wing kid who you can have a long chat too and crack jokes with.

  4. Liad Bar-el says:

    After living in America for many years, I’ve learned that TV, movies, behavior on the streets, at work, etc. all display, support and encourage sexual defilement thus subjecting Jews in the diaspora to be influenced, and governed by “the other side” through the forces like the stars for instance.
    According to Cf. Shalsheleth HaKabbalah; Chavath Yair 219, “there are 1022 visible stars in the sky. This sum is the numerical value of Brith Kodesh (ברית קודש) which means ‘Holy Covenant.’ This teaches that a person who sanctifies himself and does not defile the covenant of circumcision is not under the influence of the stars. Even though his astrological signs would tend to make him poor or childless, or cause him to lose his children, his destiny is changed through the merit of keeping the covenant and not defiling it through sexual misdeeds.” But what about “I’m only looking…?”
    “The body has 248 limbs and 265 blood vessels. The soul has exactly the same number of limbs and blood vessels, but these are spiritual rather than physical. Each part of the soul is in its counterpart in the body, and is strongly bound to it. The blood vessels of the soul are also strongly bound to their counterparts in the body, just like a tree which is firmly rooted in the ground.” (Chesed LeAvraham 2:68)
    “In order to survive, the body must have food and clothing. Without these, it cannot live. The soul, too, needs two things for its survival, the study of Torah and the observance of the commandments. One without the other is not sufficient. When a person sins, this injures the soul. Thus, for example, when a man gazes at another man’s wife, this causes the eyes of the soul to become blind. As a result, he cannot understand the essence of the Torah, even when he is looking into a book. He may be studying a relatively simple lesson in the Talmud, but he will not fully understand what he is reading. The physical eye does not have the power to see. The entire sense of sight depends on the eyes of the soul, which are bound to the physical eyes. These are highly sensitive and easily blinded by sin. When the spiritual eye cannot see the page of a sacred book, the person does not understand what he is reading. The same is true of all parts of the body. When a person sins with a certain limb, its counterpart in the soul is injured.” (Me’Am Lo’Ez, Vol 1, pg 235)
    So, ‘Hear O You Deaf and Look O You Blind’ repent. Repentance is the cure for sin so that you can hear and see again; so, then you will want to come to Israel and not defile the Holy Land but rebuild it as it should be.

  5. Luna Keren says:

    100% agree, one day B"H me and my family will be there, amen.

  6. Zvi Zimri says:

    Ruth, take a gander at these verses:
    חַי-אָנִי, נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה: אִם-לֹא בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וּבְחֵמָה שְׁפוּכָה–אֶמְלוֹךְ עֲלֵיכֶם ( As I live, saith the Lord YHWH, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, will I be king over you;).
    וְהוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם, מִן-הָעַמִּים, וְקִבַּצְתִּי אֶתְכֶם, מִן-הָאֲרָצוֹת אֲשֶׁר נְפוֹצֹתֶם בָּם–בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וּבְחֵמָה שְׁפוּכָה. (and I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out;)
    וְהַעֲבַרְתִּי אֶתְכֶם, תַּחַת הַשָּׁבֶט; וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם, בְּמָסֹרֶת הַבְּרִית.( And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;)
    וּבָרוֹתִי מִכֶּם, הַמֹּרְדִים וְהַפּוֹשְׁעִים בִּי–מֵאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵיהֶם אוֹצִיא אוֹתָם, וְאֶל-אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יָבוֹא; וִידַעְתֶּם, כִּי-אֲנִי יְהוָה. (and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me; I will bring them forth out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am YHWH.(
    וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי-אֲנִי יְהוָה, בַּהֲבִיאִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל-אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל–אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת-יָדִי, לָתֵת אוֹתָהּ, לַאֲבוֹתֵיכֶם. (And ye shall know that I am YHWH, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country which I lifted up My hand to give unto your fathers.)
    לָכֵן אֱמֹר, כֹּה-אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה, וְקִבַּצְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָעַמִּים, וְאָסַפְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָאֲרָצוֹת אֲשֶׁר נְפֹצוֹתֶם בָּהֶם; וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם, אֶת-אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל. (therefore say: Thus saith YHWH GOD: I will even gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.)
    וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם לֵב אֶחָד, וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה אֶתֵּן בְּקִרְבְּכֶם; וַהֲסִרֹתִי לֵב הָאֶבֶן, מִבְּשָׂרָם, וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם, לֵב בָּשָׂר. (And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;)
    לְמַעַן בְּחֻקֹּתַי יֵלֵכוּ, וְאֶת-מִשְׁפָּטַי יִשְׁמְרוּ וְעָשׂוּ אֹתָם; וְהָיוּ-לִי לְעָם–וַאֲנִי, אֶהְיֶה לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים. (that they may walk in My statutes, and keep Mine ordinances, and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.)
    וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי-אֲנִי יְהוָה, בַּעֲשׂוֹתִי אִתְּכֶם לְמַעַן שְׁמִי: לֹא כְדַרְכֵיכֶם הָרָעִים וְכַעֲלִילוֹתֵיכֶם הַנִּשְׁחָתוֹת, בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל–נְאֻם, אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה.
    (And ye shall know that I am YHWH, when I have wrought with you for My name's sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord YHWH.

  7. ah yes, know the verses but so good to read them again – and see new meanings each time – ahh so lovely

  8. Liad Bar-el says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Ruth. I tried to post on your Facebook Timeline and it became reposted on Tzvi's blog again. If there is a link on your site or another way to post on your Facebook, please let me know.

  9. no i dont have a clue liad, pretty useless with such things. anyway i just loved what you put up, it made sense of things that i never found a answer for before

  10. Liad Bar-el says:

    After living in America for many years, I’ve learned that TV, movies, behavior on the streets, at work, etc. all display, support and encourage sexual defilement thus subjecting Jews in the diaspora to be influenced, and governed by “the other side” through the forces like the stars for instance.
    According to Cf. Shalsheleth HaKabbalah; Chavath Yair 219, “there are 1022 visible stars in the sky. This sum is the numerical value of Brith Kodesh (ברית קודש) which means ‘Holy Covenant.’ This teaches that a person who sanctifies himself and does not defile the covenant of circumcision is not under the influence of the stars. Even though his astrological signs would tend to make him poor or childless, or cause him to lose his children, his destiny is changed through the merit of keeping the covenant and not defiling it through sexual misdeeds.” But what about “I’m only looking…?”
    “The body has 248 limbs and 265 blood vessels. The soul has exactly the same number of limbs and blood vessels, but these are spiritual rather than physical. Each part of the soul is in its counterpart in the body, and is strongly bound to it. The blood vessels of the soul are also strongly bound to their counterparts in the body, just like a tree which is firmly rooted in the ground.” (Chesed LeAvraham 2:68)
    “In order to survive, the body must have food and clothing. Without these, it cannot live. The soul, too, needs two things for its survival, the study of Torah and the observance of the commandments. One without the other is not sufficient. When a person sins, this injures the soul. Thus, for example, when a man gazes at another man’s wife, this causes the eyes of the soul to become blind. As a result, he cannot understand the essence of the Torah, even when he is looking into a book. He may be studying a relatively simple lesson in the Talmud, but he will not fully understand what he is reading. The physical eye does not have the power to see. The entire sense of sight depends on the eyes of the soul, which are bound to the physical eyes. These are highly sensitive and easily blinded by sin. When the spiritual eye cannot see the page of a sacred book, the person does not understand what he is reading. The same is true of all parts of the body. When a person sins with a certain limb, its counterpart in the soul is injured.” (Me’Am Lo’Ez, Vol 1, pg 235)
    So, ‘Hear O You Deaf and Look O You Blind’ repent. Repentance is the cure for sin so that you can hear and see again; so, then you will want to come to Israel and not defile the Holy Land but rebuild it as it should be.

  11. my problem to move to Israel is find a job to support myself and wife. how can I move and not have employment?

  12. Liad Bar-el says:

    G-d commanded us to live in Israel. The Diaspora Jews say that they will (go against G-d’s will) live in America, France, South Africa, _________ (fill in the blank), they will make lots of money and give to charity.

    After reading Bere****h (Genesis 1: 12) “The earth grew grass, plants yielding seed of its kind, and trees bearing fruit which has in it seeds of its kind; and G-d saw that it was good” in Me’Am Lo’Ez Vol 1 pg 72, “…the earth went against G-d’s will. G-d had commanded that it produce ‘fruit trees’, meaning that the wood must have the same taste as the fruit. But the earth sinned, so it is impossible to eat any wood. It was for this reason that the earth was cursed when Adam later sinned.”

    “From here we learn that one should not say, ‘Even though I may have committed many sins, still I have provided for myself; since I have given charity and done good deeds far beyond what is required of me. The bad should be discounted because of the good.’ Actually, things do not work this way. G-d certainly rewards good deeds, but at the same time, there is a separate punishment for each sin. The two cannot be exchanged. This is the meaning of the verse which states that G-d ‘does not recognize persons nor take bribes’ (Deut 10:17). How can we understand this? Since the whole world belongs to G-d, how would it be possible to bribe Him? The answer is that G-d does not even take good deeds as a bribe to subtract from one’s sins. He rewards good and punishes evil, each independently. The only way of negating sin is by true repentance: confessing the sin before G-d, truly regretting it, and resolving never to repeat it. This repentance is readily accepted by G-d.”

    BTW, repentance is not just packing your bags and taking the next flight to Israel and all your sins will be forgiven but rather it is working hard every day in Israel to overcome your weaknesses toward sins (arrogance, lust gazing, etc) so as to turn these sins into good deeds in the fulfillment of G-d’s command ONLY IN ISRAEL.

  13. Yehuda Cohen says:

    I asked the same question to my Aliyah representative in America before making Aliyah to Israel. I was told that the job market in Israel is loaded with Doctors, engineers and lawyers. If you are not one of these, you will not have a problem finding a job and my representative was right.

  14. i really enjoy what you are putting up here. this is very interesting.yes i like that sins and mitzvahs do not balance each other out, that always sounded insane to me. that each one has its own reward or punishment. i am going to write something on my timeline about what you have told me about the eyes

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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