Thursday, May 11, 2006

Eretz Yisrael in Jewish Sources #1

Under the title of this blog, one can find the following words, which attempt to sum up the purpose of this blog:

Perspectives on the challenges confronting the Jewish People and State through the eyes of one who finds himself taking an active role in the compelling drama that is the life of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel.

More often than not, my posts seem to focus on the challenges that we are facing here, and what we can be doing to overcome them and thus enable the Jewish people and Jewish State to reach their potential and allow the Jewish People to fulfill their destiny in this world.

That being said, I have felt for a while (as well as having been told by my wife) that I do not have enough "positive" Israel content on my blog, and that in focusing mainly on the challenges, it is easy to lose sight of all of the positive reasons for the Jewish People living in the Land of Israel.

To remedy this problem, I hope, with G-d's help, to post on a daily basis a different Jewish source discussing the centrality of the Land of Israel to the Jewish People, because in spite of all of the challenges that the Jewish People may be facing in the Land of Israel, there is truly no better place for a Jew to live or call home.

From the Tzitz Eliezer (Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg) - Responsa Tzitz Eliezer 7:48:12 (Translation from: "A Question of Redemption: Can the Modern State of Israel be the Beginning of the Redemption?")

...It seems clear to me that there is no reason whatsoever to refuse to come to the Land just because the heads of State have - for the most part - cast off the yoke of Torah (due to our numerous sins). There is also no basis for the argument that the heavenly redemption cannot possibly arise through people who have no fear of G-d in their hearts. [Such claims] are inherently flawed and their refutation is obvious, for it is clear that the greater the religious Aliyah is, the more influence Orthodox Jewry will have on the State's institutions. The, in the course of time, our efforts to improve matters will be crowned with success (with G-d's help).

Besides this, who can fully comprehend Divine Providence and fathom the Almighty? Such events have occurred before. Namely, when there was "none surviving and none remaining," Hashem sent His hallowed assistance through an evil king of Israel, to widen the borders of the Land and settle multitudes of Jews there. Most astounding is the fact that Scriptures mention this [conquest] in praise of that king, immediately after mentioning how wicked he was. [We can only explain this anomaly] in the sense of "a sin cannot extinguish a mitzvah." Here are the verses I am referring to: "In the fifteenth year of Amatzyahu son of Yoash King of Yehudah, Yerovam son of Yoash King of Israel began to reign in Shomron..." (Melachim 14:23-27)

Thus, the prophets of truth and righteousness describe clearly - like a dream and interpretation - the wondrous sight of Israel being saved from an enemy by way of an exceedingly wicked man, in all respects. Now, it is well known that nothing included in the Holy Scriptures, even in story form, is written merely for the sake of storytelling, G-d forbid. Rather, it serves as prophecy and instruction for future generations. It follows, then, that the verses cited above are included [in the Prophets] for the same reason - to serve as a guiding light and to give us clear insight into every event that occurs throughout the generations.

Therefore, who could assure us - and confirm it with a handshake - that we were not considered "very bitter, with none remaining and no helper..." after the great destruction perpetrated by that enemy of mankind, Hitler (yimach shemo)? [Our situation during the Holocaust] was certainly no less [dire] than in the days [of Yerovam]. It seems to me that there has never been such a ruthless and widespread genocide since the creation of humanity. However, Hashem showed us His loving kindness and did not speak to erase the name of Israel from under the heavens.

Therefore, it is not farfetched to say that when we desperately needed an independent state on solid ground like our Land, Hashem assisted us, in His great mercy, through those who held the reigns of national leadership all along and were willing and able to do the job. And he did not pay attention to the fact that most of them failed to observe Torah and mitzvot. Why do you involve yourself with the Merciful One's hidden matters?

Primarily, we must fulfill our obligations towards G-d and keep His mitzvot including the great and lofty mitzvah of ascending to and settling the Land of Israel, which is equal to all the mitzvot in the Torah, as it says in the Sifrei (Parshat Re'eh) and the Tosefta (Avoda Zarah 5:2). We must also try to motivate, to the best of our abilities, anyone who bears the name of Israel - in the government and outside of it, in cities and in villages - to return to G-d and His Torah, for our own benefit. "Fools who sin [will eventually suffer the consequences]," (Avodah Zarah 54b) and Hashem will do whatever is good in His eyes.




4 Comments:

Ze'ev,

You still seem to have missed the point. The text you quoted was not about praising the land of Israel, but rather about haranguing religious Jews who don't make aliyah. And at the same time believing that anyone who does not share your sense of Religious identity is a sinner.

H

By Anonymous H, at Thu May 11, 12:35:00 PM GMT+3  

On the contrary, H, the source showed that in spite of the fact that the country may be led by people who are not fully observant of G-d's commandments, that this does not mean that we should view the return of the Jewish People to their land as being contrary to G-d's will.

Additionally, an important message that came out of this source was that if you aren't happy with the way things are going in Israel, the best way to change it is by making Aliyah.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu May 11, 02:03:00 PM GMT+3  

H, of course anyone who follows the Torah believes anyone who doesn't is a sinner, that is obvious. But there are loopholes, if a Jew was born to non-religious parents they have the status of tinok shenishbah.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 11, 09:03:00 PM GMT+3  

Hey Zeev,
An important web repository topic.
Wouldn't http://www.snunit.k12.il/snunit/kodesh/bavli/snhd098a.html#0 (and see Rashi there) be a good place to start?
Not to mention 100s of sources in the good old Torah...

PS good looking Hebrew wiki post at http://tinyurl.com/n6l26

By Anonymous Gidon, at Sun May 14, 10:45:00 AM GMT+3  

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