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May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
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The Dodgers Never Left Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Dodgers

Rashi comments that Moshe addressed the three tribes in astonishment that they could place their concern for their material wellbeing over Hashem’s commandment to enter the Promised Land. Rashi adds, “They had consideration for their wealth more than for their sons and daughters, for they mentioned their cattle before their little ones.”

The same thing happens today when parents place the material comfort over the imperiled futures that their children face in the exile.

The verses go on to describe God’s great wrath against the generation of the wilderness “which had done evil in the sight of the Lord” in not wanting to live in Israel, and how the tribes of Reuven, Gad and half the tribe of Menasha were now once again endangering the entire Nation in not wanting to join in the conquest of the Land.

Shaken by the harsh words of Moshe, and by the fierce displeasure of the Lord, the recalcitrant tribes rally and volunteer to lead the way into battle. Yet Moshe warns them again, “But if you will not do so, behold you have sinned against the Lord, and you should recognize your sin which will find you.”

Is the blood of the Jews on the other side of the Atlantic any less Jewish than the blood of the Jews in Israel? Is the Land of Israel any less of a Homeland for them as it is for us? Yet we, immigrants from countries all over the world, enlist to fight in the defense of our cherished borders. And so should they. Not only the yeshiva students in Mea Shaarim and Bnei Brak, but the able-bodied Jews of Boro Park and Flatbush as well!

That’s what it says in the Torah!

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 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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7 Responses to “The Dodgers Never Left Brooklyn”

  1. Ohhh man! Tzvi you nailed it, brother! I hope the Children of 5 Towns et al leave townhouses and all and "cross this here Jordan"! YASHAR KOACH!

  2. Pninah Means Millson Mason says:

    Excellent Tzvi. Exile is now by choice.

  3. Liad Bar-el says:

    Today is a day of great joy and sadness…a real “mixed bag of life”. I left the house at 2:00 AM to pick up my USA Rabbi friend who supports Israel 24/7 and is not a “dodger”. We were to take a bus to Kevar Rachel and to Me'arat Hamachpelah (cave of the patriachs/matriachs) in Hevron, I noticed that the roads were full of people (250,000) and cars/buses honoring the burial of Rav Yosef Shalom ben Chaya Musha Elyashiv who was 102 years old. My friend and I were saddened as we saw this and yet were happy to go to the places mentioned above which the first life time visit there for my friend. As we neared Kevar Rachel, the spiritual excitement was felt by all and yet damped as we traveled in a heavy armored bullet proof bus going through a narrow maze of high walled concrete so as not to get shot at. Kevar Rachel has all new rooms, new cabinets, new books, new covering of her Tomb, etc but still has the same old Arab hate posted outside the building.

    Toward Me’arat Hamachpelah, total darkness was made on the bus until we arrived. As we got off the bus and interred the building areas, two sets of loud metal detectors were immediately tripped off. All the guards jump at my friend who showed them that he was wearing dog tags as a commander in the USNavy/Marines and IDF dog tags of the FIDF (Friends of the IDF). Before we interred the main building, we made a short stop and prayer at the lower corner wall outside which is probably closer to the ones buried there than the stone tombs inside the building which are about 100 feet above their actual burial sites. Inside, all the rooms had been refurbished with light colored marble; yet, they all had the feelings of ancient everlasting love and protection. I felt a closeness and vulnerability/humbleness/unworthiness/smallness/honor, etc…a feeling of which words cannot grasp. My soul was not alone in Me’arat Hamachpelah.

    It is known that Adam and Eve, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzhak and Rivka, Ya'akov and Lea are buried there; however, the Arabs closed up and blocked off the area of Ya’akov and Lea. May Hashem avenge the disgrace given to our patriarchs/matriarchs.

    Just before praying Hodu, a team of heavily armed IDF soldiers came in with rifle butts high on their shoulders, with their fingers opened on the sides of their gun triggers and looked everyone straight in the eyes with a seriousness to kill with no questions asked. In the middle of them, walked the Justice Minister, Ne’eman, who wanted to pray there also. He sat down next to me with his body guard inspecting every move I made and every page I turned. The standard six point station-of-guards were taken by the IDF soldiers and they were all staring at me, it seemed. As his personal body guard was being replaced every half hour, he would talk close to his replacement and nod the back of his head toward me as the other one looked at me. As I got up and advanced toward the bemah to give tzadaka, the soldiers raised their rifle butts to their shoulders…or was I getting paranoid? I had to close my eyes to concentrate and feel the everlasting ancient love that Hashem has for us all since the beginning of time until now. That calmed me down. The soldiers seemed to jump as I grabbed my phone from the leather hip holster for cell phones, quickly drew it out, flipped it open to see what time it was. After a couple of these “quick draws”, I had to stop it. When I looked all around the walls to see if there was a clock mounted, the IDF soldiers probably thought that I was analyzing their six point guard positions. The situation was getting more tense by the minute.

    When the Torah was brought out from the Oren Kodesh, I went up front as did Ne’eman and his body guards. Tense moment but his safety was guarded. Being that there was no Kohen present, Ne’eman was called up to the Torah in place of a Kohen. Afterwards, the hazan waved at me. I looked in back to see if there was anyone behind me. My friend said that the hazan was waving at me to make Aliyah to the Torah as a Levi. I quickly got up, walked fast to the Torah and toward Ne’eman, stuck out my hand toward him, he hesitated, and after I said Hazak VeBaruch, he shook my hand. After that everything and everybody seemed more relaxed until the end. Near the end, when everyone was waving their arms by taking off their T’fillin and grabbing their bags, all the soldiers got agitated and immediately whisked Ne’eman out of the room and out of the building.

    When I got home and sat down to rest, I got a phone call. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wow! I forgot. Today is my galut/goyim calendar birthday. Actually, I was born on Tisha B'Av and do not celebrate my Jewish birthday (may the time come soon when we all will celebrate on Tisha B'Av); so, my family/friends follow the Gregorian calendar.

    Thank you HaShem for giving me another year to live and make aliyah to the Torah at the site of our patriarchs/matriarchs. May HaShem unify all of our good deeds into one great light of holiness, peace, joy, wisdom, health and hope in the Land that You gave us. Amen!

  4. Heshy R says:

    If you're talking about the Dodgers in the Brooklyn neighborhoods you mention, you should at least take on their anti-Zionist stance, which is unfortunately too common. Their dodging is of a piece with all the vehement objection by the chareidi velt in Israel to being drafted. It isn't purely for material reasons that Satmar et al. stay in Williamsburg.

  5. Heshy R says:

    If you're talking about the Dodgers in the Brooklyn neighborhoods you mention, you should at least take on their anti-Zionist stance, which is unfortunately too common. Their dodging is of a piece with all the vehement objection by the chareidi velt in Israel to being drafted. It isn't purely for material reasons that Satmar et al. stay in Williamsburg.

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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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