Home Tags Felafel on rye
Tag: felafel on rye
Though my parents were not happy when I told them that I was moving to Israel, I made aliyah anyway. While honoring one’s parents is an essential tenet of Judaism, if parents do not want a child to move to Israel, the child does not have to listen to them, since going on aliyah is a mitzvah, and parents are not allowed to prevent a child from carrying out a commandment of God.
We mustn't forget that the gentile nations do us a favor by allowing us to stay in their lands - until they expel us. One must realize that we are on foreign soil there. It is not our society, nor government, nor culture. Nothing is ours. Only in Israel are we at home with family, living according to our customs, and our uniquely Jewish year, living in the one place designed for our holiness, for our psychological health, even for our physical wellbeing.
Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal was one of the respected leaders of Orthodox European Jewry before World War II, the head of the Beit Din in Budapest. Witnessing the horrors of the Holocaust, he discarded his fierce anti-Zionist ideology, and wrote a brilliant scholarly treatise on the vital necessity for Aliyah, titled "Eim HaBanim Semeichah."
Written in the form of a conversation between a Rabbi and a gentile king who is looking to find the true religion, The Kuzari lucidly explains the foundations upon which Judaism is based. What better time than “Book Week” to take another look at this wonderful classic? If you never studied its teachings, you’re missing a building block in your understanding of Judaism which the Gaon of Vilna made top priority for his students.
For any reader who may be confused about the obligation to live in the Land of Israel, this sweeping halachic and Talmudic overview of Rabbi Kahane will surely put all uncertainty to rest. Because of its vital importance to each and every Jew, we will be presenting it in two installments.
When a Jew makes Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael, the letters of his soul shift into high gear and multiply in size. All of his being gets bigger. He grows closer to God. Compared to the person he was in Galut, he becomes larger than life. He transforms into a giant, filled with greater valor, greater holiness, greater happiness and wisdom.
Yes, the Ribono Shel Olam, the Master of the World is a Zionist. So was Avraham Avinu, Moshe Rabeinu, Yehoshua, King David, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the Macabbees, all the Prophets of Israel, including Ezra and Nechemia who led a seemingly motley crowd of sinners back to the Land of Israel from Babylon to rebuild the Holy Temple.
One of the questions a person is asked when he reaches his Heavenly rest is, "Did you yearn for Salvation?" If a Jew does not long for the Redemption, for Salvation from the exile, then something is wrong. If he is happy in the Diaspora, then his Judaism is out of focus, and he is out of touch with his soul's deepest yearnings. As The Kuzari poignantly declares, his prayers for Jerusalem and Zion are like the chatterings of a nightingale, melodious but empty of meaning.
The thought that Eretz Yisrael is an accessory to Judaism, and not a central pillar in itself, is a tragic distortion which was caused by the nearly 2000 year exile of the Jewish People from the Land of Israel. After years of wandering - scattered among the gentiles, separated from our homeland- our orientation to the Land of Israel became distorted and confused.
Here I was, just out of New York, not knowing what the Torah was really about, surrounded by tens of thousands of ecstatic davening Jews, with the choruses of “Amen, yihe shamai rabbahs” ringing in my ears like the blasts of the shofar on Mount Sinai. What can I tell you? New York and Hollywood were blown out of my brain, like a dream that never happened, just like the Psalm says: “When the Lord brings back the captives of Zion, we were like those who dream.”
Avraham Avinu packed up his belongings without saying a word and hastened to the Land, even though it was loaded with savage heathens, prostitutes, idol worship, murderers, and rapists, even though there wasn’t one synagogue, kosher butcher, or luxury villa to be found.
Some people will tell you that if you put on tefillin in Brooklyn, you’ve reached the pinnacle of the Jewish journey, but it isn’t true. Other people will tell you we have to stay in exile until Mashiach arrives. But that isn’t true either. Hashem isn’t waiting for Mashiach. Before our very eyes, Hashem has brought millions of Jews back to Israel on His own, without waiting for Mashiach to do all the work.
It is no secret that American Jewry is being decimated by assimilation. The longer the Jewish community remains in America the more the assimilation will grow. So I ask – what’s the point in working to strengthen something that is destined to dwindle out and end? The exile is a curse which is not supposed to continue forever.