Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Shlach

Our Attitude Matters

The attitude of Jews towards the Land of Israel has always been a litmus type of test of Jewish commitment and even faith throughout the ages. As we see in this week’s parsha, from the beginning of our national existence there have always been Jews – leading Jews, well-intentioned Jews, even outwardly pious Jews – who have preferred living somewhere else in the world to living in the Land of Israel.

Even when Hitler came to power, European Jews in many cases refused to consider the option of immigration to the Land of Israel. It is not my place to judge others for their behavior in a very dreadful time, especially since I am blessed with the perfect hindsight that they tragically lacked, but it is a strange fact that throughout Jewish history the naysayers regarding the Land of Israel in Jewish society have always abounded.

Jews in the generation of Moses claimed their preference for the land of Egypt over the Land of Israel. An entire generation of special and gifted Jews was destroyed in the desert of Sinai because of their unwillingness to consider living in the Land of Israel as a viable option for them and their descendants. The challenge of living in the Land of Israel was apparently too great a problem for them to overcome - physically, psychologically and spiritually.

To me this attitude remains one of the supreme mysteries of all of Jewish history. But mystery or not, it certainly is a fact that has governed Jewish life over the ages.

When Moses’ own relative refused the offer to go to the Land of Israel, Rashi explains that the two reasons for his behavior had to do with family and making a living. These are very strong reasons that exist today that prevent many Jews from considering immigrating to the Land of Israel. Again, I neither judge nor begrudge anyone in this or any other life changing matter.

However, I feel that the issue of the Land of Israel, independent of any other causes and motives, strikes at a very deep place within our personal and national soul. The fact that the most ultra-assimilated and the most outwardly ultra-pious within the Jewish people are included in our generation’s most vociferous of the anti- Land of Israel groups, shows that the problem is both deep and sensitive.

The extremes in Jewish society cannot deal with the Land of Israel as a reality and earnestly hope that the issue will somehow disappear completely. There are millions of Jews who prefer living in exile to living in the Land of Israel. The Jewish people, as a whole has not absorbed the lessons of the exile, its alienation, assimilation and its ultimate corruption of Torah values.

Today, many Jews who physically live in the Land of Israel still psychologically and spiritually live in the exile, in a fantasy of the long-destroyed shtetel of Eastern Europe. As foretold to us by our prophets, the ultimate fate of the Jewish people will be determined for us by our attitude to the Land of Israel. Living in the Land of Israel or at least visiting it regularly is currently the centerpiece of Jewish life, its faith and its future.

Shabat shalom,

Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Battling Our Inner Enemy
- 5773

Going In To War
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

The Essence of Jewish History
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Elul: A Month of Preparation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Wake Up!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

The Battle of Our Lives
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Parshat Ki Tavo
Shlomo Katz - 5764

“CSI: Who Are You – Jew, Who, Jew, Who?”
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Diminishing Returns
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

> An Invitation to Attack
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

The 'New' of the New Year
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Better Let Him Die Innocent...
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

ArtScroll

Gratitude - A Hereditary Trait?
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

The Value Inherent in Kindness
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5761

Guardian of the Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

To Do The Impossible
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information