Sunday, July 10, 2005

Dentists, The Ingathering of the Exiles, and the Jewish Renaissance

I had the privilege this past week of having one of my teeth extracted (after it cracked for the 2nd time). After over an hour of what seemed like hard labor, as the oral surgeon used what seemed like about a half dozen different tools that can be found in any hardware store, I was all stitched up and sent home (with a gaping hole in my mouth - I will spare everyone the pictures).

What made this visit to the dentist a bit more special (or perhaps the only special part of having my tooth extracted) was that the oral surgeon had made Aliyah 4 years earlier from Mexico, of all places. I had never met a Jew from Mexico before, and in between Novocain shots he told me all about the Jewish community of Mexico, and how while life was very good for him and his family in Mexico, he chose to move to Israel in order to find true fulfillment.

Today, I returned to my oral surgeon to have my stitches removed. When he looked inside my mouth, he said that everything "looks good". I asked him if he was proud of his work, to which he responded, "I'm impressed with HaKadosh Baruch Hu's work (G-d), I was just the shaliach (messenger)".

In my eyes, this is what the return of the Jewish People to their ancient and eternal Homeland, Eretz Yisrael, is all about. The ability to synthesize our Jewishness with one's everyday life - and it being so natural is one of the many blessings that one has in living here.

Part of me is actually looking forward to going back to see him in another 7 weeks to get my implant - a very small part...

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