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July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
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Luckily, Avraham Wasn’t a Complainer


Jewish ritual slaughter is complex as it involves techniques that although ancient, are highly technical  to ensure the animal suffers no pain.

Jewish ritual slaughter is complex as it involves techniques that although ancient, are highly technical to ensure the animal suffers no pain.
Photo Credit: Flash 90

A lot of people are complainers. They love to complain. Often, you can spot them in restaurants making a lot of noise. They don’t come to eat. They come to complain. They drive the waiters crazy. First, the steak is too well done. Then it’s too rare. Then they complain that the air conditioner is freezing them to death, and when the waiter sets them up at a new table, there’s so much cigarette smoke in that section, they can’t even breathe.

A lot of people are the same way when it comes to Israel. They’re complainers. They complain about everything in order to justify why they don’t come to live here. I’m not talking about people who have legitimate reasons for not coming, but about the complainers who could come but don’t.

Thankfully, our forefather, Avraham Avinu, wasn’t a complainer. Just imagine what would have been! Jewish history would have been totally different!

AVRAHAM! GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU!’

Which Land is that?”

THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.”

I’m not going anywhere till I know where it is.”

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO?”

Of course I know.”

THEN GET GOING!”

Not until I know.”

TO THE LAND OF CANAAN.”

The Land of Canaan? You’ve got to be joking!”

AM I A JOKER IN YOUR EYES?”

Well, no, of course not. But the Land of Canaan? It’s loaded with mosquitoes!”

MOSQUITOES?”

And swamps!”

YOU’LL DRAIN THE SWAMPS.”

Me?”

YES, AVRAHAM, YOU.”

But there are hookers in Tel Aviv.”

GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

What about Eilat? It’s loaded with immodest women and preetzut!”

GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

The apartments don’t have built-in closets.”

GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

The taxes are murder! That is, if you can even find a job!”

AVRAHAM!”

And the government is trafe! The secular run everything!”

I’M WARNING YOU!”

What about all the missionaries? You want me to be in a place crawling with missionaries?”

AVRAHAM, GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

But the Canaanites blow up women and children in buses!”

GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

Face it. You need me here to spread the Torah.”

GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

GET THEE FORTH TO THE LAND!”

To get to the point, the real Avraham Avinu packed up his belongings without saying a word and hastened to the Land, even though it was loaded with savage heathens, prostitutes, idol worship, murderers, and rapists, even though there wasn’t one synagogue, kosher butcher, or luxury villa to be found.

Avraham came to Israel without complaining.

As it says, “Avraham believed in Hashem.”

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." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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7 Responses to “Luckily, Avraham Wasn’t a Complainer”

  1. Michael Cohen says:

    Understood!

  2. Liad Bar-el says:

    Very true for sure! Don't anybody think that Avraham didn't suffer when he was here in Israel nor did any of our forefathers live here without problems. In fact, it seems that we are to face even more problems now so as to redeem the Land of Israel as the times of conflicts are getting greater in the world.

    Rav Tzvi Yehuda states that the mitzvah of living in the Land of Israel is not easily fulfilled. Rabbi Kook stated that maturity in the Land of Israel does not occur all at once. The Gemara asserts that the Land of Israel is acquired through sufferings…problems of the economy, politics, international pressure to relinquish parts of our Land, terrorism, and all the different difficulties which confront our nation. (Berachot 5A: Three good gifts, Hashem gave to Israel, and none were given without having to suffer for them. They are Torah, Eretz Yisrael, and the World to Come) Rav Tzvi Yehuda taught us to see this Divine plan, to understand that Hashem’s guiding hand lay behind the difficulties, conflicts and wars and to understand that the events of our time were all Divinely arranged. He said that the unfolding of our redemption is a historical event of colossal proportions on a staggering scale, the process naturally undergoes difficulties and problems. The greater a thing is, the more complicated it is and anything which stands in the way of our inexorable march to fulfillment is merely a brief delay of, “His anger is only a moment.” (Tehillim 30:6).

    I might add a personal note. My first time in Israel, 1983, I was an arrogant America demanding my way which I thought was best in everything, in my work, in my home, etc; yet, from/on every single thing that I demanded change, I was very much upset that it didn’t happen my way. My Rabbi stated that we are like a diamond in the rough and that the black parts have to be chipped away so as to let the diamond shine in all of its brilliance. I could not bear up to this chipping away of my ego for 1.5 years and returned to America. The minute that I landed, I felt that I made a terrible mistake to myself and to my family. During the next 6 years I begged HaShem to take me and my family back to Israel even though my wife and I were making a lot of money. During these 6 years my heart would tear apart when my young daughter would come home and say, Abba veEma, why don’t we eat pork like my friend (neighbor) Sally? Could we have an xmass tree also? I’m embarrassed to talk Hebrew in front of anybody, etc, etc. Baruch HaShem, when we came back in 1990, I was over joyed to get chewed out by the neighbor, when I was walking my dog to the garbage can, for the neighbor saw dog “droppings” on the side walk that we were both walking near-by. Little did he know that in my hand was a plastic bag in which was the “droppings” of my dog. I became upset but later repented that this was a test like so many other tests presented to me in Israel to make me more humble. Only in Israel will one gets tests for self-improvement.

    May everyone who comes to Israel successfully pass/learn from all the tests that HaShem gives you.

  3. The story of Abraham and 'the Land that I will show you' – aka the Promised or Holy Land – should not be taken literally by Christian or Jewish chauvinists. Rather, the legend serves (only) as a metaphor for the mystical journey of the Soul or Higher Self into maturity.

  4. Liad Bar-el says:

    Michael Jacobs – My family line goes back to Avraham avienu. Just as my parents, whom I’m still saying Kaddish for, were not metaphoric legends, so was Avraham avienu who was mentioned by Hashem in the Torah both of which are not metaphoric legends. It appears that your mind is giving you an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor of illusions for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven.

Comments are closed.

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