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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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New Diaspora Religion: Bagelism

Pure Judaism? Without the Land of Israel? Sorry, but that isn’t Judaism. It’s a new religion.
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Photo Credit: YY

That’s why our Sages commanded us to recite Psalm 137 before the “Birchat HaMazone” Grace after Meals on weekdays, to constantly remember, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, withered be my right hand! May my tongue cleave to my palate, if I not always think of you; if I not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!”

In the Diaspora, if we can make aliyah but don’t, then like the bagel, all our prayers for Redemption are hollow. For nearly 2000 years, we didn’t have the ability to return to the Land Israel in a national way, so we had to make do with Diaspora Judaism, with the fervent yearning in our hearts to return to Zion; but now that Hashem has established the State of Israel and transformed it into the Torah center of the world, if we say our Kedusha prayers for deliverance from the exile without acting on them by getting on a plane, then Diaspora Judaism turns into an even more hollow “Bagel Judaism,” or “Bagelism,” stripped even of its former yearning to return to Zion, which gave it a lifesaving focus for 2000 years.

Some people just don’t want to understand that the main goal of Judaism is to build the Jewish NATION in the Land of Israel, in all of its earthy facets, agricultural, political, industrial, technological, military, scientific, jobs, hospitals, electric companies, police, highways, sewage, supermarkets, firemen, etc etc etc ad infinitum, in order to establish the KINGDOM of God in the world and sanctify His Name in a national format, so that all the gentile nations will learn that theyt too must serve Hashem as nations, and not merely as individuals.

The lovers of Diaspora act as if it is enough to put on tefillin in Brooklyn or Toronto, eat gefilta fish, read the Internet edition of The Jewish Press, and trust that Israel’s cities and highways will all appear miraculously from out of the sky without them having to get their hands dirty in the nitty gritty job of building the Land. In the meantime, the Israelis, the “shabbos goys” of Medinat Yisrael, are doing all the work for them, and their children, in building the foundations of Malchut Hashem, the Kingdom of God, in the world, which can only take place in the Land of Israel, as the Torah and the Prophets of Israel declare over and over again.

With great sadness, the Torah giant, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, would often speak about this shameful situation, how segments of the Torah world rejected Medinat Yisrael. He said the very same blindness and small mindedness took place at the time of the Second Temple:

“When we returned from Babylon in the time of Ezra, Israel did not return to the full glory of its past, but even so, prophecy flourished on a minor scale with Haggai, Zacharia, and Malachi. Similarly, the Second Temple was not on the same exalted level as during the time of King Shlomo’s Beit HaMikdash. From all over the Land, people came to see it, but in the eyes of elders who still remembered the magnificence of the First Temple, the Second Temple seemed to be an affront. They would weep and express criticism, saying, ‘This is the Temple?’ The Prophets scolded them for this attitude, saying, ‘Who has despised the day of small things?’ (Zachariah, 4:10). The Gemara answers: ‘The small minded among them who didn’t have faith in the Almighty’ (Sotah 48B). You are disbelievers, the Prophet told them. Ezra called the exiles to come back to Zion and many didn’t listen. The majority remained in Babylon, Torah scholars amongst them, with their businesses and wealth. In our days also, there are Torah scholars and ‘Tzaddikim’ who criticize the Almighty for the way He is returning the Jewish People to Zion.

“Is all of this great rebuilding and renaissance of our Land mere happenstance? It is Nature’s wanton anarchy? No! This is all Hashem’s doing! The Prophet Isaiah exclaimed, ‘Hear O deaf, and look, O Blind, that you may see! Who is blind but My servant, or deaf as the messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the L-rd’s servant? (Isaiah, 42:18-19).

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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4 Responses to “New Diaspora Religion: Bagelism”

  1. Tzvi Fishman says:

    Here's a nice letter I received from a FB friend:
    Just want you to know what a wonderful experience to read to your new book "Tevye in the Promised Land". It made me laugh and cry. Every page spoke to me in some way. I am now working on a book review to present at the next Shabbat gathering of a group of women in the neighborhood. It will be hard to compress into one hour all the funny and poignant moments from the book that I want to share with them.

    I now also read your blog, Felafel on Rye, on the Jewish Press Web site and have added most of your other books to my "book wish list".

    Our daughter and her family will be making aliyah this summer, G-d willing, and my husband and I hope to follow them after they are settled. On the rare occasions when I have doubts or concerns, I read your blogs, and it helps.

    Please keep on writing, and I'll keep reading!

    JG

  2. It's Amazing, it's geshmak, the bagels and cream cheese and the kugel is way better than the ones they have in Israel, it's very similar to Judaism, but I'm so sorry to tell you guys IT'S NOT THE REAL THING!

  3. Lea Bar-El says:

    Interesting blog. I dare not say more so that my talk backs don't deleted even though those talk backs were only Torah. In fact, unless my talkbacks are not reposted, this may be my last talk back.

  4. Lea Bar-El says:

    Interesting blog. Unless my previous deleted talk backs in previous blog are published, this is about all I'm going to say.

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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