Photo Credit: Birthdaynet

Today marks the 69th birthday of the modern state of Israel. A lot has happened in the last 69 years and great things are yet to come – very soon! On Yom Ha’Atzmaut, however, we need to simply pause and focus… not so much on the future but on the gift itself. What an amazing gift was given to us by Hashem!!

 

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Two years ago, when the modern state was celebrating its 67th birthday, my daughter, Mazal (19 years old at the time), was at the Kotel and she started writing the list below. She called it; “The 67 Reasons Why I Love Israel”. I loved that list and asked if she could add two more for this year’s birthday. I then asked her permission to send this as my weekly article. She was very happy for me to do that, so folks, here it is – courtesy of Mazal Sackett:

  1. Simply, because Hashem, my Father, gave it to me. (Doesn’t matter if it’s dangerous or not the most beautiful in the world… I just love it).
  2. I get to live with Am Yisrael!
  3. I have a connection to my neighbors, even the ones I don’t know! I love them, worry about them and I’m sad if anyone hurts them.
  4. I can be religious and feel at home.
  5. It’s holy, unlike any other country.
  6. Everyone here risks their lives for one another.
  7. My history is here.
  8. My future and all of Am Yisrael’s future is here, and nowhere else.
  9. I walk in the places written in Tanach, and live with the Tzaddikim that lived here.
  10. The language here is the holy one!
  11. The day-to-day life here is meaningful! Example-Memorial Day is such a touching meaningful day (unlike in some other country, where it’s a shopping spree day).
  12. The flag is so Jewish.
  13. The Knesset has 120 seats which corresponds the “Knesset Ha’Gedola”.
  14. The amount of rain we receive is directly connected to our actions.
  15. It says “Chag Sameach” on the buses and even in the bars. (Note from Shmuel: How does my daughter know that? I need to check that out…)
  16. Everyone gets up for one another on the buses.
  17. Everyone volunteers, starting from a very young age.
  18. I always feel safe to get around by myself (and I don’t feel that way in other countries). Ask any Jew and you will see they feel the same way.
  19. You can get anywhere and everywhere with public transportation.
  20. The young adults are so mature. (Preparing for the army in high school, running youth groups from 10th grade and more).
  21. People here don’t care about getting dirty.
  22. People are honest with each other. I get advice from strangers and can have a deep talk with someone on the street.
  23. People aren’t obsessed with eating. They take care of themselves.
  24. The IDF soldiers and Bnot Sherut (National Service) girls want to have meaningful positions. They don’t run away to something easy just to get the job done.
  25. Almost all of the food is Kosher.
  26. People are open minded to differences. (The non-religious and the religious want to meet, the right and left are friends…)
  27. You can feel and see Hashem’s presence in the wars.
  28. The weddings – even when both bride and groom are not religious – are done according to Halacha.
  29. People sit and sing together in the street.
  30. People call each other by nicknames and it shows how close we are to each other. A great example is “achi” (my brother) – you hear it all the time!
  31. In times of war, people genuinely care for each other. They’ll take strangers into their homes, drive to Gaza to give soldiers pizza, or get together to daven for you.
  32. The views are beautiful!!
  33. Here I can keep all the Mitzvas!
  34. There are Olim who don’t know Alef-Bet, but they make aliya anyways just because it’s Israel.
  35. The music is meaningful. And even when it’s not so meaningful, it’s not close to disgusting as what teens my age listen to around the world.
  36. Even the most non-religious Jews here daven to Hashem. (You see it in reality shows on TV!)
  37. It doesn’t rain all year round.
  38. Shwarma is the best.
  39. The taxi drivers have a lot of smart things to say and they’ll always talk to you.
  40. There’s really no such thing as lone soldiers/bnot sherut because people are always ready to help them.
  41. You can feel every Jewish holiday and not even realize that a non-Jewish holiday is being celebrated around the world.
  42. The kids learn Tanach in kindergarten.
  43. There are idealistic people who live in settlements and “Garin Torani” (young, religious couples who live in big cities as a group to help their neighbors in many ways).
  44. There are shopping malls and sports and movie theaters – Israel is a modern built up state!
  45. So many types of Jews in such a small place! A simple drive from Bnei-Brak to Tel-Aviv to the Shomron will show you different kinds of Jews living close to one another.
  46. Everybody fasts on Yom Kippur even though no one asks them to.
  47. The names of the streets are so meaningful.
  48. People aren’t afraid to touch each other and give hugs.
  49. The homes are close together (and there are also areas that are not).
  50. We do everything to bring Jews in trouble home-just because they’re Jewish.
  51. Any Jew can get citizenship, just because they are Jewish! (and the state even sends out “shlichim” to help them)
  52. Walking in Yerushalayim fills my heart with a good feeling (and every Jew feels it!)
  53. I can stay at anyone’s house-and I’m not worried.
  54. You see Hashem in everything- the Dead Sea, green mountains, dessert…
  55. The drinking age is from 18-we trust our kids (Note from Shmuel – really??).
  56. Israel is blossoming just like it says in the prophecies that it will be like in the Geula!!!!
  57. The world knows we’re meaningful. This is why they’re always looking at us and the UN only talks about our little state.
  58. Shabbat is the day off here.
  59. The state is 69 and look how far we’ve come-in technology, medicine, transportation, population.
  60. Everyone is up to date in politics and has their opinion and they care.
  61. You start your college major on your first day.
  62. The customer service is not so formal and fake.
  63. When there’s 2 centimeters of snow, the whole country shuts down.
  64. Everyone comes from a different background and has a different culture.
  65. The state was started when Am Israel was so weak, but we made something of ourselves and didn’t stay that way.
  66. The number of children per family is always rising (yet lowering drastically for our enemies).
  67. There’s more Torah learning here than ever before in Jewish history!
  68. It doesn’t matter how much we’re bothered by enemies-we are growing, settling and never leaving!
  69. There’s so much more land waiting to be built and settled by all the Jews who haven’t come home yet! We’re waiting for you!!!
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