Article 8 in Arutz Sheva' aliya series.
As a result of the fires of hate , anger and fear that have swept the United States and have also begun to simmer in other points of the globe, we are hearing increased calls for Jews to return home, to return to safety. Regrettably even those declaring that call are still finding it difficult to act on that call themselves.
The Jewish collective psyche has been seared by memories of the dangers and calamities that come over Jewish communities whenever great upheavals occur in the world. That collective memory remembers with pain the pogroms of Chmielnicki, the torture chambers of the Inquisition, the slaughters of the Crusades and the gas chambers of Europe. All those pain-filled calamities always arrived in times of unrest and upheaval.
As a result those calls to escape a threatened future are understandable, though saddening, because those calls miss the whole point of the Land of Israel that Hashem declares in the words: “because this land is Mine"(Leviticus 25:23)
The revered first chief Rabbi of Israel , Maran HaRav Kook gave a sermon in the large Hurva synagogue situated near us in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was 1933 and he spoke of the Great Shofar of redemption discussed in the prophecies of Isaiah;
“On that day a great shofar will be blown..." (Isaiah 27:13)
He began by discussing the three types of shofars that could be used during the prayer service of Rosh Hashana.(the Jewish New Year)
The first is the ram’s horn taken from a ram that had undergone ritual slaughter. If that is not available then the horn of another animal could be used as well .If neither of those options are available one can even use the horn of a non-kosher animal as well. Yet in such a situation no blessing is recited.
HaRav kook explained that the optimum spiritual experience is attained when people who are attuned can hear the call of the “highest” shofar. It is that soulful call that beckons them home to Hashem’s land.
There are others who may have lost the ability to hear that spiritual call but they recognize the call to nationhood and peoplehood.
“Yet”, he said bursting into tears,” there will be those that will only react when they are being attacked and gored by the non kosher horn.”
These words were uttered several years before the Holocaust began.
They still resound painfully today.
Yet that is not the purpose and goal of this incredible land wherein we understand the following simple truth;
Israel is "...a land that Hashem your G-d cares for. The eyes of Hashem your G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year" (Deuteronomy 11:12)
A land that brings us back to what we are meant to be;
And Hashem spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai ( Behar Sinai) saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Sabbath to Hashem.'(Leviticus 25:1-2)
The Modzitzer Rebbe, Reb Shaul Yedidya Elazar taught the following about these words;
When you come to the land that I am giving you / Asher Ani Noten Lachem (Leviticus 25:2) This wording is meant to teach us that “when you come into the land .. then G-d will give you your “Ani”, your “personhood”, your “I”. It is only in the land of Israel that you will discover your inner purpose and destiny.
Israel is not a place to escape or run to, although it can be that as well.
Israel is a place to step up into higher purpose and meaning.
Israel is a place where every step you walk you are immersed in Divine Presence.
Israel is a place where every stone and boulder is cherished “For your servants take pleasure in her stones, and show favor to her dust.“(Psalm 102:13)
Israel is a place wherein one is awash with a sense of purposefulness and meaning.
Israel is also the place that lights a beacon in a darkened confused world and is attracting all people who love our Heavenly Father to take part in the unfolding plan of destiny.
To my brothers and sisters, now is the time to take a step. Any step. Even the smallest of steps. Because by so doing we succeed in moving forward the plan of history and in sanctifying Hashem’s name.
"And I will sanctify My great Name that is desecrated among the nations, and the nations will know that I am G-d, says Hashem Elokim. And I will take you from the nations and I will gather you from all the lands and I will bring you to your Land."(Ezekiel 36:20)
May it be so speedily in our days
Lerefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Chaya Esther and all those needing refua.
Rabbi Moshe Kempinski, author of "The Teacher and the Preacher", is the editor of the Jerusalem Insights weekly email journal and co-owner of Shorashim, a Biblical shop and learning center in the Old City of Jerusalem.