web analytics
June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Land’

I Love Hevron

Friday, November 9th, 2012

As part of our effort to attract our beloved, Diaspora readers with honey, rather than to smash them repeatedly over their heads – in the next few blogs, we will travel the length and breadth of Eretz Yisrael, just like our forefather Avraham did in obeying God’s command, “Arise, walk about the Land through its length and breadth! For to you I will give it!”

Based on a Gemara in Baba Batra 100A, the Ramban explains that Hashem commanded Avraham to walk through the Land out of His love for him, that his offspring might more easily conquer the country, since walking the length and breadth of the Land signified Avraham’s taking possession of it.

So, in honor of the week’s Torah portion of “Chaya Sarah,” let’s start our love affair with the Land of Israel in Hevron. I love Hevron. It’s so powerfully “Biblical.” That’s the best word to describe it. Whenever I’m there, I feel like I’ve traveled 5000 years back through time. The transcendental holiness of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs still saturates the air. The kedusha is so thick, you feel that you can actually reach out and grasp it. Not only is Hevron the gateway to Gan Eden, our Sages teach that all of the Land of Israel is mystically folded up, like a roadmap, under the city. That’s one of the reasons why the Tomb of the Patriarchs is called “Maarat HaMachpelah,” meaning “the Cave that is doubled” or “folded up.” That is also why Jewish settlement in Hevron is so strategically important – whoever possesses Hevron, possesses the Land.

Just like Hevron was a city of giants in the past, so it is today. The Jews who live there are giants. What can I say? Boro Park and Monsey belong to a completely different world. A totally different planet. On my second date with my wife, I took her there, to see how she would react. In addition to praying in the Maarat HaMachpeleh, we visited my good friend, Baruch Marzel, and Rabbi Moshe Levinger. She passed the test with flying colors. I wasn’t surprised – her brother was learning in the yeshiva there.

Before, Rosh HaShanah, I took my two youngest boys to Hevron to ask Hashem to inscribe all of the Jewish People into the Book of Life, in the merit of our holy forefathers. One of our boys studies in a high-school yeshiva in Maale Hever, just ten minutes away, so I visit Hevron often. What a blessing to live so close to this Heavenly place, just a 50 minute drive from my house!

Here are some photos I took on recent visits. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Enjoy! And Shabbat Hevron shalom!

PS – There are a few photos of giant banners hanging on the Peace House during the struggle to prevent the government from ousting its Jewish residents. I made the banners and hung them up with my dear friend, Noam Arnon, spokesperson for the Hevron community. Now that the court has sanctioned our ownership, with G-d’s help, the Jews will be moving back soon!

 

 

 

Tzvi Fishman

Wisdom from Fighting for the Land of Israel for 40 Years

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Lt. Col. Yedidya Atlas to share wisdom gathered from fighting for the Land of Israel for 40 years.  Yedidya also discusses studying at Merkaz HaRav under Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook and the roots of Arutz Sheva, the radio station where Yishai was formerly the Programming Director.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

50 Reasons to Make Aliyah

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

A few readers have written me lately, saying that my blogs are too hard-hitting, and that I would have better results with honey than with smashing people over the head with a sledgehammer.

I am not totally convinced.

Many people have barricaded themselves in Diaspora ghetto communities who walls are as thick as bomb shelters when it comes to the mitzvah of living inIsrael, and a sledgehammer is needed to chip their defenses. But for a change, I’m willing to give honey a try, so I’ll try to post a few blogs that are dripping with love and see what reactions I get. Let’s start out with listing 50 reasons for making aliyah. Oh – there’s one that I forgot – Obama may be re-elected tonight. Gevalt!

50 Reasons to Make Aliyah:

1. To get closer to G-d.

2. To fulfill the Torah commandment to live in the Land of Israel.

3. To perform the mitzvot in the place they were meant to be performed, and not in a place where we do them as reminders, so that we will still remember how to perform them when we return to the Land.

4. To live in the Land of our Forefathers.

5. To live in the Land of Prophecy.

6. To live in the Land that Hashem promised to the Jews.

7. To break free from being a despised stranger in gentile countries.

8. To escape gentile cultures and the spiritual pollution of the Diaspora, which clouds and distorts pure Jewish thinking and prayer.

9. To play a part in the ingathering of the exiles.

10. To play a part in Israel’s Redemption.

11. To play a part in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

12. To actualize our daily prayers to return to Israel and thus be true to the words that we say.

13. To make the wish, “Next year in Jerusalem” a reality.

13.  To have a government of Jews.

14. To have a Jewish army.

15. To live in a country according to the Jewish calendar.

16. To live in a country where the official language is Hebrew.

16. So your children won’t intermarry.

17. So your grandchildren won’t intermarry.

18. So your great grandchildren won’t intermarry.

19. To forget about Xmas.

20. To erase the Chillul Hashem of living in a foreign land, where the gentiles mock G-d, saying that He doesn’t have the power to keep His People in Israel.

21. To live amongst Jews.

22. To live in the place here prayer ascends to Heaven.

23. To live in the place of the Shechinah, the Land that Hashem watches over from the beginning of the year to the end.

24. To live in the Land where Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov lived and are buried.

25. To live in the Land where every place I walk earns me a higher place in the World to Come.

26. So my children will grow up to be proud Jews.

27. So my children will grow up without dual identities and schizophrenic complexes.

28. Because Israeli women are the real thing, not trying to be like shiksas, and Israeli men aren’t teenagers who never grow up.

29. Because Israeli mothers still cook meals for the family.

30. Because there is more Torah in Israel than anywhere else in the world.

31. Because there are more Torah Gedolim in Israel than anywhere else in the world.

32. Because there are more frum communities in Israel than anywhere else in the world.

33. Because there are more yeshivot, heders, Talmud Torahs, religious colleges and religious schools for girls in Israel than anywhere else in the world.

34. Because the Kohanim bless the congregation each day.

35. Because of the extra mitzvot you can only do in the Land.

36. To become a bigger Jew, ready to live for the Clal, to become a building of our Nation in our Land, even if it means sacrifice, rather than living a small private life motivated by my own personal interests and pleasures.

37. To live in a place where my taxes support yeshivot, Tzahal, Jewish charity organizations, terror victims, Jewish hospitals, the city of Jerusalem, the ingathering of the exiles….

38. To be near Jerusalem.

39. To be near the Kotel.

40. To be in the place where the Jewish holidays are natural to the climate of the Land.

41. Because of the beautiful biblical scenery.

42. Because the food is great with the most delicious kosher pastries and cakes in the world.

43. Because you can get bagels in Israel too.

44. Because radio broadcasts begin in the morning with “Shema Yisrael.”

45. Because of the modern apartments and fantastic villas and the most beautiful men and women in the world.

46. Because of the thriving economy.

47. Because Israel’s an international leader in high-tech.

48. Because of the excellent medical care.

49. Because of the respect for the elderly.

50. Because that’s where I truly belong and where G-d wants me to be.

Is there something I missed? Please send them in with your comments!

Tzvi Fishman

The Secret of Making a Living after Making Aliya

Monday, November 5th, 2012

A lot of people say they can’t come on aliyah because they don’t know how they will make a living. The issue of aliyah and livelihood is a legitimate concern. For instance, here’s an email I received from a potential oleh seeking advice:

“I am a professional film producer based in NY who is looking to make aliyah.  My only reservation in moving to Israel is the lack of a job.  How can someone like myself, who was very successful in the business, and never compromised his Yiddishkeit, make a living in Israel?  I am not looking to make millions, just a living wage to support a family of six.  Do you have any suggestions?”

This is what I answered:

I’m not up to date on the film business in Israel, so I can only share some general thoughts. The Zohar teaches that our forefather, Avraham, searched for the place in the world where he could get as close to God as possible. This burning desire of Avraham was the catalyst that brought God to command him, “Get thee forth to the Land that I will show you.” To truly get close to God, the Jewish People have to be in Israel, serving God as a Nation, and not as mere scattered individuals and communities in foreign gentile lands.

Rashi explains that the double language of the verse, “Lech lecha,” literally meaning, “Go, go for yourself,” was to reassure Avraham that the move was for his ultimate good, and that it would bring him and his descendants great spiritual and material blessing. After all, it is no small challenge and test of faith to give up your country of birth, social standing, and livelihood to move to another land. And indeed, at first, things did not go easily for Avraham. When he arrived in Israel, there was a famine in the land! But, eventually, Avraham became a very rich and famous man.

This uncertainty, challenge, and difficulty, is common to all olim. The word “Canaan,” as in the land of Canaan, also has the meaning of humbleness and poverty. The lowering of one’s status is part of the immigration process, helping to break impure traits of pride and ego which prevent a person from forming a deep connection to God. Aliyah means to go up, and therefore, the first and foremost goal of each new immigrant to Israel should be spiritual – to get closer to God. When a person holds fast to this goal, clinging to it at all times, even through periods of difficulty and change, God’s bountiful blessings flow in its wake.

In practical terms, when you first make aliyah, you indeed may not be able to make a living as a film producer. You may have to get to know the right people first, learn the language, etc. You may have to make videos of bar mitzvahs and weddings to have some income coming in before you make the bigger, professional films that you are accustomed to producing in NY. Personally, I’ve made some money making videos in Israel for organizations and the Department of Education, and I’ve taught screenwriting at a film school in Jerusalem. I have several friends from the U.S. who work in the film business here on a regular basis, and they seem to be supporting their families. Even so, it may turn out that you won’t be able to find a niche in the film industry in Israel, and you may have to change your profession.

But always remember, “Is God’s hand too short that He cannot provide for you and your family?” Just like He provided for us in the Wilderness, He provides for us still today, each person according to what is best for his needs. Keep saying to yourself, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” These reassuring words of King David should be your mantra during your planning stages and time of transition in Israel.

The main thing about your coming to Israel is not to make finding a job your Number One concern. Let me give two examples. A short time after I had made aliyah, I met an acquaintance from New York who had also recently moved to Israel, but who told me that he was going back to the States. When I asked him why, he explained that before he had moved to Israel, the Israel Aircraft Industries had promised him a more advanced job than his position in America. But when he arrived in the country, they could only give him the same level job he had in the past because of budget cuts. “Why should I stay here when I can get paid almost double in the States for doing the same job?” he told me.

The very next day, I met another friend from New York, who also informed me that he was returning to live in America. It turned out that his boss had been caught in an embezzlement scam and all the people he had hired were fired, including my friend. Even though my friend had been offered a very good job at another firm, he decided to pack his belongings and call it quits.

At the time, before I started studying in yeshiva, I was lodging in Jerusalem at the home of a saintly, 85 year old woman who was one of the secret Tzaddikim of the Holy City. I hadn’t come on aliyah with any savings, having blown my screenplay money on the vices of Hollywood, and this kind woman was happy to take me in as a non-paying boarder. When I asked her why God hadn’t worked things out for my two friends in a more successful fashion, especially since they had made the very idealistic move of immigrating to Israel, she answered: “They placed their careers over their love of the Land. A Jew has to set Jerusalem above his greatest joy. The Jewish People have been shedding their blood for the Land of Israel since the beginning of our history. The Land tests us when we come here. She makes things difficult at first to see if we really love her. Your two friends think that they are rejecting Israel, but Israel is really rejecting them.”

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, of blessed memory, explained this with a parable. He said it was like a girl who was set up on a shidduch with a guy whom she knew wasn’t for her. But she didn’t want to embarrass him. So she dressed up in dirty, smelly garments so that he would feel turned off. While he thought that he was rejecting her, in truth, she was rejecting him. So too, God, in His kindness, lets Jews who decide to leave Israel believe that they are rejected the Land, but it is really the Land that is rejecting them.

Surely, aliyah is the most difficult and challenging mitzvah – the true test of a Jew’s faith in God. But hundreds of thousands of new olim have made it, and so can you.

Hopefully, other readers will have even better words of advice.

May you remain strong in your holy decision, and may Hashem bless you and your family with success in the great adventure ahead.

Tzvi Fishman

Marriage and Aliyah, All in Three Days

Monday, November 5th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Alan & Leora Katz at Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem. Together, they discuss their recent marriage along with their Aliyah to the Land of Israel three days after their wedding. Alan and Leora Katz also discuss their backgrounds along with reasons for moving to Israel from the United States. At 23:30, Yishai presents a short piece from Rabbi Lazar Brody about Aliyah to the Land of Israel where he discusses his love for the land.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

Cleverer than God

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

This Shabbat marks the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem avenge his murder. To honor his memory, our next two blogs will feature essays he wrote for The Jewish Press, which appear in the incomparably thought-provoking collection of his articles, “Beyond Words.” May his memory be for a blessing.

***

Cleverer Than God

By Rabbi Meir Kahane

December 1, 1978

It has been three weeks now since I left Israel to speak to the Jews of the American Galut. My most profound impression has clearly been the attempt of American Jews — especially the practitioners of ritual — to be clever; to be cleverer, cleverer than our Maker. The words of the prophet Isaiah (45:9) ring out across the ages, saying: “Woe to him who argues with his Maker! . . . Shall the clay say to Him who forms it: ‘What are you doing?’”

In every generation this would appear to have been so. The created striving to be cleverer than the Creator. And in every generation, forgetting the words of that Creator: “I made the earth, and created mankind upon it . . . !” (Isaiah, 45:12).

A mere cursory look at the Torah reveals an unmistakable fact: Amidst any and all of the punishments and warnings issued by the Creator, one continually stands out as the ultimate national one: Galut, exile. Whatever else it may be considered: sin, impurity, akin to idol worship — the Galut is, first and foremost, primarily a curse and a punishment. Here are just a few examples:

“And you will perish quickly from off the good Land that the Lord gives you” (Deuteronomy 11:17).

“I call heaven and earth this day to bear witness against you, that you will soon be utterly removed from off the Land, into which you are crossing theJordanto inherit.” (ibid., 4:26)

“That the Land not vomit you out, when you defile it.” (Leviticus 18:28).

And, of course, the two classical Tochachot, admonitions, the first in Leviticus and the other in Deuteronomy. In both, a long series of punishments, and tribulations. In both, curses taking the place of blessings. In both, an escalating warning: “And if you continue to refuse to listen to me . . . ” followed by yet another punishment, worse than those that preceded it.

And in both, the final, ultimate, most dreaded of all punishments: “And the Lord will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other . . . ” (Deuteronomy 28:64).

Galut. Exile. The worst of the punishments, the most dreaded of the curses. To be driven out of our Land. Thus did the Almighty decide to show His wrath and teach the Jew the magnitude and enormity of his sins.

I have seen the Jew of America. Non-observant and observer, both. And they are clever. Cleverer by far than their Maker. For the Almighty planned to “scatter the Jew among all the nations,” and the Jew of Los Angeles and Chicago and Monsey and Boro Park and Monroe and a hundred other fleshpots, winks and sighs: “Very well, then, I suppose I will have to suffer in Los Angeles, Chicago, Monsey, Boro Park and Monroe . . . ”

Really, dear Jew, give the Almighty a little credit for cleverness. Do, indeed, consider that He conceived of your “cleverness” and prepared for it. Are we really so contemptuous of the Creator that we believe that He drives us out of our Land so that we can enjoy a better material life in that Exile that he conceived of as a punishment? Are we, indeed, so irreverent that we truly think that the words of the Torah become a game and a plaything to be outwitted so easily? Ah, what a difficult time we will have in the Galut of Great Neck . . .

No, dear Jew, the G-d of Israel is not as simple and foolish as we think. He did not conceive of the ultimate punishment of a Jewish people driven from their Land, merely to have them enjoy a fabulously better material life in the Exile. For that very same chapter that booms forth: “And the Lord will scatter you among all the nations” continues and decrees: “And among those nations you will find no tranquility, neither will the sole of your foot have rest . . . ”

I watch as the comfortable American Orthodoxy unfolds in Flatbush and Flattest bush. We buy our houses and discuss the inflated price. We furnish them with delectable possessions, above our heads the sheitel, and above that the chandelier. We plan our vacations. We buy our women their expensive garments (lest they be shamed by those that have them). We build a comfortable and relaxed Judaism that mockingly proclaims our clever victory over the plans of our Maker. There is not the slightest serious thought to life inIsrael. There is not the slightest qualm of conscience as we luxuriate in the fleshpots of idol worship. The clay figure basks in the American sun, turns to its Maker and sighs: “And because of our sins we were exiled from our Land.” And having paid the obligatory obeisance, the clay then turns on its color television set to watch the football game, or goes off to purchase a sheitel that will clearly make every male’s eye turn.

Ribono shel Olam, Sovereign of the Universe, what a bitter exile . . .

I offer an urgent suggestion. Let us understand that we are not as clever as we think. Let us understand that the Almighty is a bit wiser than we give Him credit for. If the Galut was conceived by the God of Israel as a curse, then there is nothing that can turn it into a blessing. If it was designed to be a punishment, it can never become a reward. Rationalize away, dear Jew, in the 150 ways that you think you are able to purify the impurity. It is to no avail. Your political science (“But America is different! It is a democracy!”) will not help you. Your religiosity (“But we must stay here to build Yiddishkeit!”) will avail you naught. Be not cleverer than your Creator. “Be not overly wise — why should you destroy yourself?” (Ecclesiastes 7:16).

That which is crooked cannot be made straight and that which is impure cannot be made holy, and that which was designed as a curse, punishment and tribulation cannot ever, ever be turned into enjoyment, pleasure and permanent safety. For a while, the Almighty may allow us to delude ourselves, hoping we will regain our sanity. He gives us time to do the right thing.

Invariably, we mistake His kindness for our cleverness, but the day of reckoning must come, and does. The lights of the chandeliers dim and then are extinguished. The sheitel withers away, and the impure crawling insect that we “purified” proves to be impure indeed. That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is Exile can never be anything but tragedy. Jew, stop listening to those who cannot see. Do not repeat the tragedy of 40 and 50 years ago. Clay, know your place. The Maker is cleverer by far. Go home before it is too late.

Tzvi Fishman

Get Angry at Rashi – Not at Me!

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Once again, I ask you – isn’t it interesting that the very first words that God says to Avraham, the father of the Jewish People, is to go to the Land of Israel?

What are we suppose to learn from that? Can there be any question at all? One plus one is two. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out a simple equation like that.

We don’t just read the Torah like it’s “Harry Potter” or the “DaVinci Codes,” God forbid. We read it to learn from it. We read about our holy Forefathers to learn from them and to follow their example. In telling Avraham, the father of the Jewish People, to live in Eretz Yisrael, God is teaching us as well that He wants us to live in Israel too.

Let’s face it. If God wanted, Avraham could have been born in theLandofIsraelto begin with. That would have saved Avraham the hassle of such a long shlepp with camels and donkeys and the rest of his entourage. For Someone who created the heaven and the earth, giving birth to Avraham inIsraelis peanuts. But God chose to have Avraham start off in the Diaspora precisely to teach all of the Jewish People in the future that wherever they lived, God wants them to pack up their belongings, just like Avraham, and relocate to Eretz Yisrael. As the great Torah commentary Ramban teaches, “The deeds of the fathers are signs for their children.”

What was Avraham’s reaction to God’s command? Without even calling Nefesh B’Nefesh, he departed immediately, as God had spoken to him. (Bereshit, 12:4. See the commentaries of Lekach Tov and Ibn Caspi). Even though the Land of Israel was filled with immorality, idol worshippers, and heathens that he would have to conquer, he didn’t say, “I’m not going because I don’t want to go into the army.“ Or, “I’m not going to Israel because there are Russian prostitutes there.” Or, “I’m not going because the politicians in the Knesset are corrupt.” Or, “I’m not going because the Moshiach hasn’t come.” He set off without listing 50 excuses and did what G-d commanded.  Period.

In reward for Avraham’s obedience and faith, God gave him, and his children after him, the eternal inheritance of the Land of Israel, as it says, “And I will give you, and to your seed after you, the Land where you sojourn, all the Land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be their G-d” (Bereshit, 17:8).

The great Torah commentator, Rashi, explains this verse as follows: “There, I will be their God, but a Jew who lives outside of the Land is like someone who has no God” (Rashi, loc cited).

Don’t get angry at me. Get angry at Rashi. Do you think he should apologize for insulting Jews in the Diaspora! How could he say such a thing?! What chutzpah!

Actually, he isn’t to blame. The Talmud says the very same thing (Ketubot 111A), and this is the law brought down by the Rambam: “IN ALL GENERATIONS, a Jew should live in the Land of Israel, even in a city where the majority of the inhabitants are heathens, and not live outside of the Land even in a city where the majority of the inhabitants are Jews” (Rambam, Laws of Kings and Their Wars, 5:12).

Hmmph! What chutzpah! The Rambam, Rashi, and Fishman! The Jewish Press should ban all of them!

But Avraham heard God’s command and immediately obeyed. That’s  what makes him the father of the Jewish People – his complete Emunah (faith), as the Torah testifies: “And he believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness” (Bereshit, 15:6).

The opposite of this is where people have crises of Emunah, like in the case of the Generation of the Wilderness who refused to obey God’s command to make aliyah, as the Torah record: “And when the Lord sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, ‘Go up and possess the Land which I gave you,’ and you rebelled against the Lord your God, and you did not have Emunah in Him, and did not listen to His voice” (Devarim, 9:23).

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook explained that there are two types of Emunah – the complete Emunah of Avraham Avinu, and the partial Emunah of the Spies in the wilderness, and their followers, of whom it is said, “And in this matter, you did not have Emunah in the Lord your G-d” (Devarim, 1:32).

Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/get-angry-at-rashi-not-at-me/2012/10/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: