Jews who visit Israel and those who decide to live in the Land are always struck by the amazing fertility bursting around us, despite the fact that just 70-odd years ago, most of this country was essentially a barren wasteland.
Rabbi Danny Myers of Kehillat Menorat Hamaor in Ramat Beit Shemesh quotes the Nazir, a student of Israel’s first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, who discusses a passage chanted in Jewish prayers three times a day: “We hope that our eyes behold when You, God, return to Zion, to Jerusalem, to Israel in Your Mercy.”
The rabbi is one of a group of mainstream rabbis and rebbetzins from English-speaking countries who have fulfilled the mitzvah of returning to the Land of Israel, and who are participating in the “Bring Them Home” project.
Each of these leaders has recorded a brief video in which they discuss the mitzvah of returning to the Land, and the importance of actually living here in Israel.
Rabbi Myers explains that the Nazir says the passage is not asking the Creator to allow us to live in the Holy Land when He Returns, during the Redemption, but rather, to allow Jews to be able to see His return.
“[Our Sages] knew in their wisdom it’s very possible that Hashem could be returning, the Geula (Redemption) could be moving along at a rapid pace, and people won’t even see it.
“And therefore we say, Hashem please not only do I want to be present during the time of the Redemption, I want to be able to see it.
“I want to notice it. I want to be able to see the Redemption unfolding in front of my eyes. Three times a day we say that.
“I think it’s an incredible message for all of us alive in Tov Shin Pay – 2019 – to be able to take a step back and see what is going on. To see Kibbutz Galuyot in front of our eyes and gathering the exiles – 6.3 million Jews here in Eretz Israel.
“Only a century ago the numbers were in the thousands, and now we’re talking about millions. It’s only a question of time before it’s the majority of the Jewish people – meaning that we’re going to have more Jews here than all the rest of the world combined.
“And the [gathering of the Jews from the four corners of the earth] combined with the fertility of the Land – the green, the flowers, the produce wherever we turn – these are all signs that we – the Jews – have come back, fertility has come back, and Hashem is here. And it’s so important that we’re able to see it.
“Returning to this Land is part of something “so grand, so great, so powerful, hopefully that can move us a step forward to returning to our home.”