On the roof of the Aish center looking down at the Western Wall with Chevra & Davai in 2011

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Parsha Behar & Bechukosai – The land is ours… or isnt it?

As we all know, there is know place on earth that is more highly sought after then the land of Israel.  Over the past several thousand years, it’s been inhabited my many different peoples and the desire to control the land, especially Jerusalem, places it at the center of the world. 

Even though both Muslims and Christians have claimed it has a holy site for them, we Jews believe in our hearts that the land is ours.  It’s been the center of Jewish life, either in practice, or in thought for over 3,000 years.  Some of us use this argument when debates over Israel arise… The land is ours, because G-d gave it to us.

I love Israel as much as the next person.  For me, the greatest spot on earth is in the Kotel courtyard.  On my trips to Israel, I could literally spend the entire time in the Old City.  That being said, I need to share a thought that comes up whenever the “It’s our land” argument comes up…

It’s not our land.  Don’t get nervous.  I haven’t joined the enemies of Israel, but it’s simply not our land.  The Parsha of Behar is very clear about this.  In chapter 25, verse 23, G-d says “the land is mine.”

Israel wasn’t an unconditional gift that we can use however we please.  It’s a responsibility.  Imagine if the King gives a peasant his crown to watch after with instructions on how to maintain it.  The peasant has no right to do what he pleases with the crown.  He must maintain it per the King’s instructions or the King will take it away.  Israel is the same thing.  Yes, the L-rd said that we’re supposed to dwell in and take care of the land of Israel, but he also said 612 other things. 

In the Parsha of Bechukosai, G-d is very clear of what will happen if we follow or don’t follow his commandments.

Last Shabbas, someone had a guest in shul that was from Israel.  He’s visited our community before and is a very nice guy.  A conversation came up about how Israel is perceived in the world and particularity in the United Nations.  For reasons that have no rational explanation, Israel is constantly persecuted within the United Nations.  His proposed to solution for this was to create a media campaign to point out this blatant anti semitic policy of the UN.  I believe that Martin Luther King Jr said “When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews." 
While I agree with our visitor that the UN’s policies are clearly anti semitic, I don’t think we need to shout that from the roof tops.  Everyone knows it.  There’s only one solution to the world’s hatred to Jews and Israel.  When we start listening to G-ds 612 other instructions, G-d will give is all the rewards that he promises in his Torah and we can finally live in peace.

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