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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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Would Moses Make Aliyah Today?

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Ha ha ha ha ha! What a stupid question! Ha ha ha ha ha! Of course he would! Moshe wanted to make aliyah more than anything else in the world!

This week’s Torah portion begins with Moshe beseeching Hashem to let him go to the Land of Israel: “I pray Thee, let me go over and see the good Land that is beyond the Yarden, the goodly mountain region and the Levanon” (Devarim, 3:25).

Noting that the Hebrew verb for “And I besought,”(Va’etchanan), has a gematria of 515, our Sages teach that Moshe offered 515 prayers to Hashem, begging him to allow him to enter the Land of Israel.

He didn’t say, “I’ll go when Moshiach comes.”

Or, “I’ll go after my children finish getting their masters degrees and doctorates in Egypt.”

Or, “I don’t want to go into the IDF.”

Or, “It’s too dangerous in Israel.”

Or, “The Canaanites drive their chariots on Shabbos.”

Or, “I’m worried I won’t find a job that pays the same that I’m making now.”

Moshe Rabainu didn’t say any of the other 515 excuses you usually hear. Just the opposite. Moshe begged again and again and again, 515 prayers, to be granted the incomparable blessing of entering the Land. Dropping down on his knees and prostrating himself on the ground, he pleaded, “Please, Hashem. Turn me into an ant, if You want, and let me crawl into the Holy Land. I don’t have to be the king of the Jews, or the Chief Rabbi, or a Federation director, or any other fancy title. Make me into an ant and I’ll be happy. Just let me enter the Land!!!”

If Hashem had said OK, Moshe would have raised up the hem of his tunic and sprinted like an Olympic racer, all the way to Israel in his joy to reach the Land. Even though it was filled with bloodthirsty idol worshippers and there wasn’t even one kosher bakery to be found.

Today, there are people frummer than Moshe. The Land of Israel isn’t glatt enough for them. Or they don’t want to serve in the army. Or they don’t like the government. Or they’re worried about finding jobs, as if the hand of Hashem is too short to feed them. They prefer to rely on Uncle Sam instead.

I don’t know whether to cry or to laugh. Imagine. People frummer than Moshe!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Frummer than Moshe Rabainu!

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

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" The DVD of the movie is available online.

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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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