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Included in the mitzvot that we are to do wherever we are on the globe is the mitzvah of the “Grace after Meals.” Even though we have been temporarily uprooted from our home in Israel, we are to continue to thank God for the food and for the Land of Israel, the one and only place that we are really supposed to live.

A further reason why we thank God for Eretz Yisrael and not America is because the commandment states, “When thou hast eaten and are satisfied, then thou shall bless the Lord thy God for the good Land that he has given thee” (Devarim, 8:10). God didn’t give the Jews the land of America. God gave it to the Indians until the Americans came and slaughtered them all.

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The other reason why we continue to thank God for the Land of Israel is to ingrain in our psyche the centrality of the Land of Israel to the Torah and to Jewish life. Every time that we eat a meal, we are to repeat this understanding until it becomes like a mantra, implanting in our brains the eternal recognition that our one and only homeland, the place where we are to live our lives, and practice our Judaism, is Eretz Yisrael, the source of our physical and spiritual sustenance – and not France, Canada, or upon the unholy banks of Brooklyn.

Today, when the decree of exile has lifted, and every Jew can simply hop on an airplane and come back home to Israel within a few hours, our days of schizophrenia are over. Finally, a Jew can eat his meal and fulfill the mitzvah in its intended wholeness, so that when he says the grace after meals, he can say it where it was meant to be said.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. What a wonderful blog!
    So, mitzvoth outside Israel are not really counted but remain as reminders until they are kept inside Israel; therefore, Judaism becomes symbolic in the galut. Norway has symbolic circumcision. It is stated that living in exile is as if one worships idols; so, heaven forbid, with the exiled Jews, G-d has become a symbol. That symbol has been imprinted on the one thing American Jews work all their life for, the dollar bill which says “In G-d we trust.”.
    Get real guys and come home to Israel which is where you belong.

  2. Deut. 12:18 "These you must consume before the L-rd you G-d in the place that the L-rd your G-d will choose – you and your son and your daughter, your male and female slaves, and the Levite in your settlements – happy before the L-rd your G-d in all your undertakings."
    The table is compared to an altar, and one who eats with Heaven in mind, merits the special blessings the presence of the Shekhina brings. And where is that altar suppose to be, in Paris, New York or in the DownUnder? In Jerusalem, Israel.

  3. On the way to Tel Dan, we passed by the Eshkol Water Filtration Plant, the fourth largest water filtering plant in the world. In case you didn’t know, this facility filters and cleans the water from the The Sea of Galilee, aka the Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias. So, if you were sweaty and then dipped into the Kinneret only to your surprise to see your kids urinating in it, just know that perspiration has the same properties as urine; so, you are all guilty of polluting public waters. Thank G-d for the Eshkol Water Filtration Plant.

    We also passed by the city of Rosh Pina where Ḥoni, HaMa'agel, (lit. Honi the Circle-Drawer), is buried. BTW, Honi has an important lesson to learn about exile.

    We then arrived to Tel Dan which is one of the most important sites for the archaeological and historical recovery of ancient Israel. Tel Dan has the exact replica of the Mizbeach (alter) that was used in Jerusalem. One is able to see the original stone walls and to sit where the king sat and where Boaz began his marriage to Ruth.
    2nd Samuel 19:8 and Ruth 4: 1-2 states respectively, “So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway” to learn from the people entering the city. “Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down; thus, began the marriage of Ruth to Boaz.

    We were also 20 meters from Syria plus many other sites; however, to walk in the places and feel the connection of my present life to lives of my ancestors, leaves me with a slice of life, a link to the chain in life, that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

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