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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
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“Why Should I Live in Israel? America Has Everything I Need”


Rav Kook close up

Rabbi Kook writes:

“For him, the foundation of the yearning for Salvation is like a side branch that cannot be united with the deep understanding of Judaism, and this itself testifies to the poverty of insight which is found in this juiceless perspective.”

We mentioned in the previous essay that one of the questions a person is asked when he reaches his Heavenly rest is, “Did you yearn for Salvation?”23 If a Jew is not longing for the Redemption, for Salvation from the exile, then something is wrong. If he is happy in the Diaspora, then his Judaism is out of focus, and he is out of touch with his soul’s deepest yearnings. As the classic study of Jewish faith, The Kuzari, poignantly declares, his prayers for Jerusalem and Zion are like the chatterings of a nightingale, melodious but empty of meaning.24 Because he does not feel his soul’s most inner desires, he does not feel the need to be saved. From what? From whom? Three times a day, he recites the words in the prayer book, “We yearn for Your Salvation all day long,”25 but when the davening is finished, he forgets. The prayers are talking about someone else, about some other time, about some other galut. Because he is removed from the loftiest National goals of Judaism, and from the yearning to Sanctify the Name of God on its highest level, he may not even experience a sense of exile at all.

The Zohar teaches that the Nation of Israel and the Torah are one.30 When a Jew is connected to the secrets of Torah, he is connected to his inner soul, and thus to the inner soul of all of the Nation. There, in the highest realms of the Nation’s Divine Segulot, he unites with the inner soul of Eretz Yisrael which is inherently bonded with the life and soul of the Clal. He yearns for a healthy National life in all of its facets. He comes to understand that the highest worship and sanctification of God’s Name comes through the life of the Nation of Israel, and not through the deeds of the individual Jew.31 Instead of living a private life, he raises himself up to identify with the eternal life of the Clal.

This deeper attachment to all branches of Torah, to Clal Yisrael, and to the yearning for a full National life in our own Jewish Homeland is the Torah ideal. This is the Torah of Eretz Yisrael, the complete Torah; as our Sages tell us: “There is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Yisrael.”32

Thus, when a person is cut off from the secrets of Torah, he does not feel anything lacking in being a part of a foreign country and land. He sees no difference between the mountains and valleys of Israel, and the mountains and valleys of Italy or Vermont. His spiritual radar is broken. His recognition of Kedusha is lost. He is unable to feel anguish over the exile of the Nation, because he does not feel a connection to the Nation as a whole.

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 ““Why Should I Live in Israel? America Has Everything I Need””

  1. Oriana Cottard says:

    Tzvi, I am deeply touched by this so great message. Made me think a lots in deep dimention from safta who survived the Holocaust and the ONE I am and what my heart feels and wants, wich I am the only in my familly. Don't think its so… how can I say? appreciated? why? Of the fear issue-s. So I am the One so proud and inlove of our Eretz who is really from long ago more than readdy and willingto leave everything ( what is everything in my life? I don't know anymore but I am understood with this meaning, I know) To live there my heart and root belong is my maine priority and concern….in despit of what many think…I AM NOT AFRAID AT ALL TO BE IN ERETZ NOR TO LIVE THERE EITHER, BUT THE OPPOSIT IS. I AM AFRAID TO STAY OUT OF IT NO MATTER HOW LONG AND DOn't FEEL GOOD AT ALL WITH IT. EACH TIME I AM COMING BCK FROM ERETZ TO EUROPE, I FEEL MYSELF SO LOST AND TOTALY HEARTBROKEN. IT TAKE ME EACH TIME BETWEEN 3 WEEKS TO A MONTH TO BEING RE-ADAPETED THERE I AM AGAINST MY WILL AND THIS FOR WHAT REASON-S? CLOUM I AM REALIZING TODAY. TO CARE TOO MUCH OF OUR MAKE TOO MANY TIMES THAT THEY STOP TO CARE FOR YOUR OWN NEEEDS….My reasons for it are so many and the choice for my own is so hard when I really and most than everything want to be and live HOME TO ERETZ BUT THAT THE JEWISH AGENCY IN PARIS HAVE STOPED ME FOR A REASON I AM NOT ABLE TO HELP….. Bzrat Hashem Ani rotsa be bait…..BE ERETZ BE YERUSHALAYIM SHELI HEART OF MY HEART.

  2. Tzvi Fishman says:

    Maybe you can bypass the Jewish Agency in Paris and make aliyah the next time you are in Israel.

  3. Oriana Cottard says:

    Tzvi I never have thought about it??? does it work? can you explaine to me on inbox more details please. I am more than readdy for it. Telle more Tzvi. I will do it Bzrat Hashem ken * HATIKVAH * Toda rabba dear friend.

  4. how stupide can be people

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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