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August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
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Major League Judaism

When it comes to Judaism and true Jewish life, Israel is the big leagues.
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For the world to reach perfection, God decreed that the Jewish People must live a life of Torah in Israel. God’s first commandment to Abraham is to go to the Land of Israel in order to serve God in the most complete way. Afterwards, God commands Moshe to bring the Jews out from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael. Over and over, the Torah repeats that the Jewish people are to live their unique Torah life in the Land of Israel. When the holy Jewish nation lives a holy life of Torah in the Holy Land, the vessel is formed to bring the light of God to the world. The NATION of Israel becomes an international beacon, an example and light to all of the goyim (Isaiah, 42:6). It follows then that a Jew who is able to return home to the Land of Israel, yet chooses not to, is holding up his part in the Redemption of Am Yisrael.

At the time of the Second Temple, when we failed to uphold the high moral standard demanded of us by the Torah, we were punished and exiled from the Land. God’s worldly vessel, the Kingdom of Israel, was shattered. Israel was conquered, Jerusalem was razed, the Land was laid waste. God’s Chosen People were scattered and debased. Like the Jews, God’s Presence went into exile (Megillah, 29A). His light in the world became hidden. In effect, mankind was cut off from God, given rise to many false religions like Christianity and Islam. To rectify this tragedy and return the entire world to God, the Jewish people must return to their previous spiritual stature, including a NATIONAL life in Israel, the only place in the world where the Torah can be observed in all of its wholeness because of the many commandments unique to the Land (Ramban, Vayikra, 18:25).

On an even deeper level, each Jew has a bit of the Shechinah, or the Presence of God, within him. When a Jew returns to the Land of Israel, he is, in effect, bringing the Shechinah back with him (Rashi, Devarim, 30:3). Since the soul of a Jew is infused with the light of the Shechinah, when the Jewish people return en masse to Israel, the light of God in the world returns en masse with them.

Already, the eyes of the world are turned to Israel. Headlines about the tiny country of Israel fill news reports on a day-to-day basis from all over the globe. In just a few miraculous decades, Israel has become a world leading in science, medicine, agriculture, computer technology, and a gamut of other fields. Israel has become, by far, the world center of Torah and boasts the greatest concentration of Torah Gedolim and students. To be a Jew in Israelis to be a part of a world-leading NATION, soon to be #1 in the world, and not just a member of the local community shul.

Make no mistake, my good friends. When it comes to Judaism and true Jewish life, Israel is the big leagues. The real World Series is taking place here.

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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One Response to “Major League Judaism”

  1. Liad Bar-el says:

    Time for a grand slam home run, Tzvi and living the Torah in unity in Israel will do it. Many diaspora Jews say that they are waiting for the Mosiach to come before they unite with their brothers/sisters in Israel. In V’Zot HaBrachah 1, Deut 33:5 states: “He became King in Jeshurun [another name for Israel], when the heads of the peoples assembled, and the tribes of Israel were united.” Me’Am Lo’Ez, Vol 19 pg 154 explains this by saying that “Moses has praised G-d for giving the Torah and Israel for accepting it. This verse implies that Torah establishes unity among the people, and causes the nation’s heads to come together and the tribes to units. Sifri views Jewish unity as a cause and not a result of G-d’s kingship. Thus, “When will G-d be King in Israel? When the heads gather together and the tribes unite.” G-d will only reveal Himself as King over Israel when they show unity and harmony. If they are torn by strife and friction, He will remove His Presence from them. Malchut Yisrael, the kingdom of Israel, is only possible when each individual binds himself to the nation’s collective whole.

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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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