web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Light Unto the Nations from the Comfort of Home


Yishai Light 2

When Zionism came around, it had many opponents. Among them was a group of serious rabbis and intellectuals who felt that the ingathering of the exiles would undo the first mission of the Jewish people, that is, to be a light unto the nations. They argued that in order to seriously impact the world with Jewish morality, one had to be in close contact with it, and not isolated in the remote Middle Eastern region.

This thought pattern exists today even with the apparent success of the Jewish State. Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, whom Newsweek called one of the most influential rabbis in America, wrote in the Florida Jewish Journal: “While Israel remains the destiny of the Jewish people, we also must not abandon the Diaspora. Firstly, the Torah demands that we, as a nation, commit to pursuing justice; to be warriors against injustice, it behooves us to be stationed everywhere around the globe. This work as an ohr l’goyim, a light unto the nations, is our raison d’être.” (Hat tip Rabbi Shimshon Nadel)

While Rabbi Yanklowitz’s statement seems logical, it is in contradiction to the biblical vision of ingathering. We are all destined to come home. And while being a light unto the nations is a paramount value, it is not in conflict with God’s promise that the Jewish people would one day be reunited on their soil.

So how do you answer the concerns that the Jews will no longer come in contact with the gentiles, how could you be a light unto the nations, if you do not live amongst the nations?

God has a plan: notice the amazing historical confluence of the ingathering with the communications revolution: just as the Jewish people were set to start off on the adventure of building a state in the Middle East, so too did the technology to communicate and broadcast globally explode – from the wire, to the radio, to the TV, to the internet, to the iPhone – there are no boundaries to the exchange of information.

Indeed, the Jewish people’s ability to influence and to transmit knowledge has never been paralleled. The internet has allowed the Torah to flow forth from Zion, and the news cycle never seems to get enough of Israel. Jews need not live in Poland, Germany or the US to effect change in nations around the world. Just start a picture blog or a successful Facebook account from Jerusalem and you can touch the lives of millions and be right in their Kansas or Kyrgyzstan home. Now, the dual missions of the Jewish people, to ingather and to be a light unto the nations, need not be bifurcated – the story of the Jewish people today is more famous than ever.

Sadly though, one cannot be blind to the fact that most of the reports dealing with Israel, most of the YouTube videos, and most of the images coming from the Holy Land are far from positive. This puts a little dent in the theory that we can be a remote light unto the nations. If all the channels of broadcasting are actually used to disparage Israel, then what have we achieved?

And in this instance, we are our own worst enemies, with Israeli and Jewish media outlets being the harshest critics of Israel, often unearthing subterranean dross for all to see. It is amazing to see how negative Israeli radio, even army radio is. From listening to it, you’d think the whole country is made up of corrupt politicians and rapists.

It is interesting to note that the Exile itself is a product of negative marketing and broadcasting. When the spies Moses sent into Canaan returned to camp, they brought back a frightening report they repeated in all the tents. They created an atmosphere of dread and doom which melted the hearts of the Children of Israel, causing them to doubt their ability to enter the land. At this point, God’s wrath was kindled. He sentenced that generation to die in the wilderness, because they could not be cured of the slave mentality keeping their minds shackled to Egypt.

About the Author: Yishai Fleisher is the Contributing Editor and PR manager at the JewishPress.com, and Israel's only English language broadcast radio show host (Galey Yisrael 106.5FM). Yishai is an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, they have two children, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Light Unto the Nations from the Comfort of Home”

  1. Kol haKavod, Yishai! I accept your "Speaking Diet" challenge and as both a broadcaster and an activist, am determined to only broadcast positive things about the Land of Israel and the Jewish People between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha b'Av. This won't be easy considering how infuriated I easily become at some of the things that happen here in the world of politics and on the social level of one segment of Israeli/Jewish society and/or another. But if it was easy, it wouldn't be a test, would it? I'm going to try my best.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
James Foley and his Islamic State executioner.
ISIS Beheadings Mark Declared War on the United States
Latest Indepth Stories
ZIM Piraeus in happier days. (Image: ShipSpotting.com user b47b56)

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

Sgt. Sean Carmeli, ZT"L

The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.

His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.

(Reposted with permission from author’s website) Moderate truth-teller Daniel Pipes (Dream) has further moderated his stance on Islam by actually entertaining the idea of “Moderate Islamism”, with Andrew C. McCarthy- whom I’ve debated about this- giving it some credence. We’ve gone from Naming the Enemy -Nazism, Communism- to Renaming the Enemy – “Islamic Totalitarianism”, “Radical Islam”, “Islamism”, […]

Maimonides: “Your 1 mitzva may tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire world and creation”

Jerusalem has been aware of the importance of China to its growth and security.

In other words, how by any rational playbook can one even begin to explain anti-Semitism?

Israel has nine Iron Domes, but you Mr. Hannity are the tenth.

Entire movements within “orthodoxy” propagate a Judaism of outlandish folklore and Jewish mysticism

The Rebbetzin began campaigning to increase public awareness of the importance of saying Amen.

More Articles from Yishai Fleisher
Swatstikas in Jerusalem

Swatistikas were painted on the sides of the road leading up to the Mount of Olives.  

page_agirlmurderedsheli_w437_h328

Yishai and Malkah kick off this week’s show giving honor to the memory to Sheli Dadon, a young Jewish woman who was murdered by terrorists in Israel before Memorial Day. They move on to talk about former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s upcoming trip to prison and end with a discussion about how criticism of Jewish allegiance towards Israel can be seen as antisemitism.

It is easy to spot Haman in today’s world, but who is this year’s Esther?

Ambassador Dermer’s thoughts on what is ahead in the coming years between Israel and the USA.

The date for the end of one fruit crop and the beginning of the next is the 15th day of Shvat.

Well, Subaru, you stood up to tyranny in the past, and this Chanukah you shine once again.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/light-unto-the-nations-from-the-comfort-of-home/2012/06/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: