by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
Welcome to the many coming to visit Israel for Passover! May we merit this year to bring the korban Pesach, the Passover offering, together in Jerusalem at the Holy Temple!
(yesterday’s sunset from the Judean hills in Israel – colors by G-d, no photoshop)
On several recent picture posts, commentors have responded about “the concrete jungle” and “I guess that’s ok if people are getting parnossa to buy kosher food” and the like. The responses hint at an unrealistic view of Israel, Jerusalem, and Judaism – Torah – the Jewish People.
We are taught: When the Jewish people first came, or rather were brought by G-d, to the Land of Israel after spending 40 years in the desert sustained by manna and protected by the Clouds of Glory, there was a complaint. “How can we leave our current situation – where we can focus all day exclusively on spirituality, Torah, and being connected with G-d? How can G-d want us to live in the Holy Land, where we will have to work to grow food, and defend ourselves, etc?”
And the answer is: “G-d brought you out of Egypt, brought you here to the Holy Land, and commands you to live there, with all that entails. And by living there AND fulfilling the commandments, you will bring G-d’s will down to earth.”
Israel is the Holy Land, as Jerusalem is the Holy City. And it is filled with holy sites and Torah and spirituality, and if one peaks closely one can occasionally glimpse G-d’s presence. BUT it is also a country (and Jerusalem a city). People have to work to earn a living, roads have to be built, offices created, homes built, hospitals staffed, electric plants operated, food grown, water captured – filtered – and piped, garbage collected, bread delivered, marriages held, funerals held, babies born, crime prevented, defenses created and operated, borders guarded, criminals caught, justice operated, etc etc etc.
AM YISROEL CHAI – the Jewish People LIVE! And grow! And built! And invent! And create! And defend! And all the messiness of LIFE, in their land, the Holy Land, G-d’s gift to the Jewish people. Lands that have been fallow for hundreds and thousands of years are flourishing again with the effort of the Jewish people and with G-d’s blessings. And that means fields are being plowed, factories are being built, power lines and pipes and roads are being laid, and garbage disposal facilities created, and even sewage treatment plants.
Life is messy, and involved, and complicated. In Israel, the Jewish people live, on their own – together with G-d, with all the messiness that entails...and buildings, and cube farms, and cities with skyscrapers, and even with waste disposal facilities.
In Israel it is not a dichotomy that in the morning one may pray at the holy Western Wall, and in the afternoon do a business deal in an office tower.
Am Yisroel Chai