The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Here we are again – Shavuos, the yom tov commemorating the giving of the Torah, God’s greatest gift to mankind.
If someone were to say to me, “It’s unbelievable that Hashem gave us His amazing Torah,” I would respond, “That’s the wrong way to put it. ‘Unbelievable’ means ‘not to be believed.’ The correct expression is, ‘It’s beyond belief’ – meaning more than belief. Hashem loves His charming nation beyond words.”
Yes, this is how much Hashem loves us, and we learn it from a non-Jew named Bilam, who declared (Bamidbar 23:21), “He observes not evil among Yaakov and sees no transgression in Israel.”
My son Moshe told me that that the other day he was davening at the Kotel and there were three non-Jews observing him, studying his swaying, to the point that it became annoying to him. Finally he asked them, “What are you looking at?”
And they started showering him with praises. “You Jews are right…you are all the living truth of the prophets who predicted Israel’s return to their land and the coming of Messiah. Our pastor talks to us about you Jews in every sermon, and now we are here in the Holy land, observing this with our own eyes.”
They found the words to describe their belief. But Hashem’s love for us is way beyond this – beyond belief, beyond words.
Imagine if, in my absolute love for my wife, I dared give her a piece of parchment on which was written, in the beautiful calligraphy of a scribe: “And you must love your husband with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your essence.” I’d probably have to duck fast as the rolling pin came flying at my head with my wife shouting, “Don’t tell me how to love you; you must earn my love!”
But I would still go on loving her, seeing no evil or transgression in any of her actions. This is Hashem’s love for His nation.
He is so charmed by His nation, here in the land of Israel more than any other place on earth.
It starts with Pesach, as we recount and celebrate Hashem’s glorious and miraculous taking us out to freedom. Than we start counting the 49 days to Shavuos.
Chol hamoed is spent partying, going to concerts, visiting nature reserves and holy places.
A week after Pesach we all stop and remember the Holocaust. Television and radio are completely given over to the task of charming Hashem, with stories of suffering, death, survival, and bravery – charming our God, despite feeing we were forsaken during those horrendous years of torture.
About a week later it’s memorial day for fallen soldiers and an entire nation salutes those who gave their lives so that we could live as Jews in a Jewish land. Nightlife comes to a complete standstill and sirens roar for a moment of national silence as we also remember the thousands murdered in terrorist attacks.
And then before you can even turn around it’s Israel Independence Day, with mass celebrations across the nation. Thank you, Hashem, for bringing us home at last. People hugging and kissing each other; fireworks going off; fighter jets flying across the sky above, filling our hearts with joy and pride.
And then we count the days to Lag B’Omer when more than half a million people struggle their way up to tiny Meron to connect to the tzaddik Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Food and drink everywhere, all free, beyond money, just the Jewish spirit of loving and giving and blessing one another, charming our Maker as no other nation on earth.
Ten more days of counting brings thousands of young people together, marching up to Jerusalem, waving flags and celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem.
I stood by the Western Wall and merited davening Minchah led by an elderly man who told me, “On this date, in 1965, my father died. And as a soldier two years later in the Six-Day War, as a paratrooper, I led the first Minchah minyan when we reached this wall and I said Kaddish for my father on his yahrzeit, on that first Jerusalem Day.”
Was Hashem charmed by this? Of course. Beyond belief? Certainly.
And now we approach Shavuos, Kabbalas HaTorah, yahrzeit of King David. My son-in-law and daughter started a new tradition a few years ago: they and hundreds of other young couples come to camp out on Mount Zion, the traditional burial place of David Hamelech, king of Israel and singer of Psalms. Everyone shares and helps, and there is singing all night and learning all night. Then, before daybreak, it’s off to a ritual bath down below in the City of David, in what is known as the High Priest’s mikveh, followed by the climb back up to David’s tomb to pray with the sunrise.
At the same time about 100,000 Jews flock to the Kotel, all of them shouting, “We do love You with all our hearts, souls and our entire essence. We rededicate ourselves to another year of Torah observance. We love You for not seeing any evil or transgression in Your nation, and we remain Your charming lawfully wedded nation.”
About the Author: Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at email@example.com. His Jewish Press column appears the third issue of each month.
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Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.
Isn’t it comforting to know that our God loves life, grants life, and promises eternal life?
While the phrase “Let It Be” implies doing nothing, “Lu Yehi” implies working toward a goal.
An Israeli company should make “Arafat’s Dead Sea Tonic” with this warning: “may cause severe vomiting or even death.”
“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.
Boundless love was something Rav Kook had for the nation of Israel. Just as one cannot question the boundless love of Hashem for Israel, one cannot question the boundless love of a Torah giant for his people.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/dov-shurin-columns/beyond-belief/2012/05/24/
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