Friday, August 03, 2007

Torat Erets Israel

Yesterday, I had the priviledge of spending some time with cousins I hadn't seen in quite some time. A few of the discussions we had brought up some ideas I want to share with you. I will speak of two right now.

First of all, I want to share the Dvar Torah I gave at the table before birkat hamazon:
In the Torah, God tells Avraham: "Koum, Hithalekh Baaretz". Most people will translate that as "Stand up, walk around the Land (of Israel)". However, in Hebrew, this is not what it means. IF we wanted to say Walk, we would say "Koum, Lekh Baaretz". The word Hithalekh means to "make yourself walk". What did God need to tell Avraham to make himself walk instead of just to walk?
Rav Mordechai Elon Shli"ta gives a great answer: When we go from New York to Montreal, then really, our goal is to go to Montreal, and the way, the flight there, is just because we need to get there. If we could, we would teleport ourselves. If we could, we would skip the flight. In Israel, walking is a goal unto itself. Every 4 amot is a mitsvah! Therefore, we tell ourselves to "make ourselves walk" because the walking is already a goal!
If we look a bit deeper, we can see that in Chutz Laaretz, the emphasis is on the past and the future. We were in New York, we want to get to Montreal. In the eyes of Torat Chuts Laaretz, its very hard to give value to the derech, we want the goal right away. Torat Erets Israel comes and tells us there is value in the present also, there is value in the derech, there is value in the process itself as a process even if it didn't lead to the desired goal!
Rav Kook illustrates this profoundly in one of his most powerful quotes:

"It is only the anticipation of redemption that preserves Judaism in Exile, while Judaism in the Land of Israel is the redemption itself." R. AI Hacohen Kook
"It is only the anticipation of redemption that preserves Judaism in Exie" - It is only the past and the future which kept us alive in galut. Thinking about the great times we had and how it will one day be that way again. That is what insured our survival during 2000 years of exile.

"while Judaism in the Land of Israel is the redemption itself." - In Israel, the present is the unfolding of the redemption. This is where Jewish History is taking place. This is where our past, present and future come together. This is where we live our redemption.


The second discussion I wanted to share with you is about "who is religious?". Different people were saying different things: Someone who is shomer shabbat, someone who wears a kippah, someone who wears skirts, someone who has a beard.
I think it is a tragedy that in our days such external things decide who is religious and who is not. When someone sees someone with a kippah, they think he's religious. When they see someone without a kippah, they think he isn't. But tell me: Since when is a little peice of cloth decisive of someone's religious observance?
Let me ask you something:
On the one hand, you have someone who eats kosher, is shomer shabbat, has a hat and a beard, but is always in a bad mood, insults people, never smiles, doesn't join the army etc...
On the other hand, you have someone who might not wear a kippah, but join the army, smiles at his neighbourghs every day, has a lot of anava, loves all of the jewish people, lives in the land of Israel.
Who is more religious?
Now, many religious people would love to say that the first one is more religious. Unfortunately for them, the Torah says the opposite. There is NO DOUBT that the torah values internal things much more then the external superficial changes. Unfortunately, the religious world does not tell us that because that would mean they need to make big internal changes which they are not willing to make... but what can I do... I made this blog in order to give you guys some authentic judaism, not some fake superficial judaism, and so this is what I will keep on doing.

I think its clear that in our generation, the reason why so many people left religious is davka because it has become a superficial religion of the biggest rabbi being the one with the most pictures our there, the most religious person the guy with the longest beard and the most pious man the person with the longest peyot. Again, this is the complete opposite of what Torah stands for! The most religious person is the person who had good middot, and sure also you need to follow mitsvot, I never said the opposite, but the torah even says that Derekh Erets KAdma Latorah. There is a midrash that says that if you do not have good middot, Torah becomes a poison for you! If you have good middot, then it is the most amazing thing!

Lets stop with this superfcial fake Judaism. Our generation wants more! Our generation is the generation which saw the State of Israel existing. Our generation is a generation which people are not afraid to sacrifice their lives in wars in order for the Jewish People to move on! Our generation's Judaism is more then a peice of cloth on the head, or the measurement of a beard. Its time to bring back honest authentic torah with no superficial fake requirements!

As the Midrash says when comparing the Torah of Erets Israel to gold:
Ein Torah Ketorat Erets Israel! - There is no Torah like the Torah of Erets Israel! more...

1 comment:

QAWOMAN said...

shik para je suis fier de toi!