To play our part in Hashem’s plan for Creation, and establish His Kingdom on Earth, the Jewish People must return in its entirety to Zion. This is the teaching of the Torah and our Prophets, and one of the main focuses of our daily prayers. The return to Zion and the rebuilding of Israel has been the driving force of Jewish history. Now that Hashem has granted us the State of Israel after 2000 years of yearning, how can we turn our backs on 2000 years of fervent prayers and prefer to remain in Monsey? Think about this. Doesn’t it seem out of whack with the daily prayers you recite, and the Haftorah portions you read every Shabbat, most of which speak about the return of the Jewish People to Israel?
Just take a look at our preliminary morning prayers to see that the goal of Judaism is to live a life of Torah in the Land of Israel, and not in Monsey, New York. After reciting the “Akeida” we ask G-d to remember the Brit with our forefathers and return us to the Land of Israel. We repeat this request over and over in the following dozen verses, which all have the same plea: “Bring us back to our Land, bring us back to our Land, bring us back to our Land” (these verses are omitted in many prayer books published in the Diaspora).
A little further on, after the preliminary recital of the Shema, we ask Hashem to sanctify His Name in the world by granting us salvation. What is this salvation? Salvation from the exile. “Gather our outcasts from the four corners of the earth so that all the inhabitants of the world will recognize and know that that You are the exalted and unique one God over all the kingdoms of the globe.” How is this great sanctification of God to come about? Through our return to live in the Land of Israel.
To our great shame, we recite these verses, but fail to act on them. A Jew can hop on the airplane of Jewish destiny and join the ingathering to Israel, or he can make his last stop in Monsey and miss out on what Judaism is really all about.
The exile is a curse, even if it be as pleasant as you describe. The exile is not meant to last. Now that God has given us the State of Israel, there is no longer any need for galut. Every Jew in the world should rush home! Like with every mitzvah, Hashem gives us free choice. That’s our test. There is no mitzvah to live in Monsey, but living in the Land of Israel is such a gigantic, all-encompassing mitzvah upon which the entire Torah is based that our Sages have stated that it is equal in weight to all of the commandments of the Torah put together!
The eyes of the whole world are focused on Israel because everyone knows that this is where history began, and this is where the unfolding saga of world history is destined to reach its climax. Let’s face it. Who, outside of you and your neighbors, cares what’s happening in Monsey? It’s totally inconsequential to the Redemption of the Jewish People, which is taking place in Israel now!
And finally, you and your children may be living comfortable lives as Jews. But what will be with your grandchildren? Will they marry Jews? And if the gentiles turn against the Yidden in Monsey, as has happened so repeatedly in our past, who will protect you? The Monsey police? They’re gentiles too.
I hope this answers your question.Tzvi Fishman
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. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" will be available soon as a DVD.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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