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rabbi's column - “Maoh Doh Eretz Yisroel” make israel here

01/18/2017 01:13:54 PM


In the nineteenth century, a disciple approached his rabbi for advice. Should he leave Eastern Europe and relocate to the Land of Israel? The rabbi’s response was to stay put and “Make Israel Here.”

It is obvious that from the Torah perspective, the Land of Israel is our homeland, the Holy Land, the ultimate place on earth for every Jew. When Moshiach comes we will all live there.

Yet there are many Talmudic and Midrashic indications that there are virtues in living in the Diaspora. The Baal Haturim teaches that the best 17 years of Jacob’s life were his last, in Egypt.

Every individual Jew has a particular mission in life that no other has in all of Jewish history. Hashem choreographs our lives to bring us to the place to fulfill this mission. There we encounter, by Divine Providence, people, situations and challenges. By living and choosing according to the directives of the Torah, which is eternal in all places and all times, we reveal Hashem’s presence in our corner of the world. Every time we do a Mitzvah with a physical object; every time we do favor to another; every time we choose to act for the “sake of Heaven” we transform the darkness of the world into the light of Divine presence.

Eretz Yisroel is inherently holy. However, in the Diaspora, like Jacob and his family in Egypt, we can sanctify that which is inherently mundane and contribute to the realization of the Talmudic prophecy that “in the future Eretz Yisroel will spread into all the lands.”

Thu, February 20 2020 25 Shevat 5780