by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
“Phooey! What do you believe that %##@ for?”
For a middle-aged, supposedly religious, Jewish woman, she sounded more like an ex-marine.
It was Friday night. There were eight seminary girls and this salty woman at the Shabbos table. One of the girls mentioned something that she had heard about living outside the Land of Israel.
“If you die outside the Land, your bones are going to have to roll over and over under the ground until you get to Israel. Only then will you be taken up for Judgment.”
That’s when the ex-marine let her have it. “That is totally ridiculous! Absurd! Do you believe everything you hear?” she barked.
I tried to explain:
In all sayings there is a storyline, and a teaching behind that storyline. Sometimes the literal details of the storyline sound so fantastic that you could swear that they are not true. Be careful. Do not throw away a precious jewel just because its wrappings seem strange.
The story about the bones appears way too primitive to be true. It is like a fairy tale that you might tell children when you want to scare them into behaving. But, when you try to understand the teaching behind the physical details of the story, you begin to appreciate the details of the story as well.
There is a tremendous spiritual advantage to living in Israel. It is easier to be spiritually aware here than anywhere else in the world.
The Temple site, in Jerusalem, is the center of the spiritual universe. It was from here, and it will again be from here, that the Torah will spread throughout the world. Yes, there are often more problems living here than in some quiet, faraway country, but the benefits are well worth it.
When you live in a country where the spiritual reality is deeply hidden, you are more likely to have a greater attachment to the physical world. Your interests and loves will tend to be mostly physical.
This is what that story about the bones is trying to show us. All Jewish souls, just like all Jewish prayer, first come to the site of the Holy Temple before they go up. When you live and die away from Israel, your worldly attachments and deeds are going to drag on (pull down) your Judgment. Those physical attachments will affect your Judgment so much, that it will be as if your very bones will have to roll over and over again in the ground that you stayed in, before they finally reach the Holy Site.
We are not obligated to believe the literal details of a metaphor. The details come only to vividly explain the teaching that is behind the metaphor. But, be careful. As it has turned out many times before, many ideas that seem totally fantastic, even impossible, may very well turn out to be literally true.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא