Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: June 15, 2020

Beautiful Spiritual Art by Michelle Katz

This week’s music: Not Without You

Why are the gates locked? What happened that dictated the fact that my brother or sister who lives outside of Eretz Yisrael can no longer come to visit The Land?

We are all capable of viewing our lives from three vantage points. Where am I, where have I been and where am I going to? The most difficult one to inspect and answer clearly is where am I? Where am I right now? Right now I see so many details that exist all around me which frankly, can get in the way of my seeing the deeper more truthful picture of who am I right now? If I myself am situated in an oversized “pool” filled with water, sustenance and family, that is what I am used to. It makes it very difficult for me to break out of that mold in order to understand the true ramifications of my life. If I am constantly looking outside for the answers I am avoiding that which is my personal reality, that which I know as the truth on the inside. I am referring to the place from which my soul is talking me, that is if I take the trouble and perhaps the more challenging option to see what is really going on with me. That question may require the most introspection of all, something which many of us have either struggled with or even given up on in favor of getting along from day to day.

On the other hand, if I am honest, I can easily know my past. If I care, I have tried to fix my faults and do what I can to be a part of the healing process. Once I do that work I can let go, put aside any further unnecessary distractions and allow myself to concentrate on my inner presence in the world of today.

Then we have our look towards the future. That is for dreamers. People who believe that there is always something better in store for us. I can have lots of clarity spiritually if I have been preparing for the future in my present. I can have a strong desire for salvation and redemption if I have been trying to already be there in the present. I want to be blessed to arrive at †hat Godly space of total redemption, so I search for it every moment that I can find the strength to do so.

The “meraglim,” the spies of this week’s Torah portion of “Shlach Lecha,” who were they? Where did they go wrong? What is it that Moshe Rabenu sent them to do? The Slonimer Rebbe teaches that he sent them on a spiritual mission to learn that they had the holy exalted power to defeat all of the negative forces that were presently in The Holy Land. They were sent in to confirm that the holiness of Eretz Yisrael comes alive when we set foot inside and realize the greatness of The Land.

The “meraglim” did not succeed in accomplishing that which they were sent to do. They did not pick up the spiritual baton. They looked at Eretz Yisrael purely with materialistic eyes. That is what scared them. They thought that God would not be accompanying them into the Eretz Yisrael. They were unable to see the super natural side of Eretz Yisrael. To put it simply, they were just visiting.

The Slonimer Rebbe teaches that the only way that we can merit to receive and see the holiness of The Land is through our belief. This Land is different than any place else in the world. It is a land flowing with milk and honey. It is the land in which Hashem is constantly watching over us (Devraim 11.12) and allowing us to realize the supernatural powers that The Land possesses. A belief that is rooted inside of us which knows that the character of Eretz Yisrael is of the supernatural. Without that belief one cannot feel established here. The “meraglim,” says the Rebbe, did not believe in the super natural power of Israel and therefore, were refused entry to The Land. As we have said time and time again, The Torah is everlasting and very much alive in our world today. We must all know that in Eretz Yisrael there is a Godly light that shines out in all levels of spirituality here.

The Meshech Chochma (Rav Meir Simchah me’Dvinsk) teaches, that when Yaakov Avinu first visited a strange land, the land of Mitzraim with his wives, sons, daughter, 70 souls of Israel, he did not do so to invest himself in the place. “Vayagar sham bim’tei me’at,” and Yaakov dwelt there temporarily (D’varim 26.5). Do not even bury me here, he said (Bereshit 47.29). I can only be buried in the land of my fathers the land of C’na’an, lest anyone think that we the B’nai Yisrael are citizens of this other place, this temporary home. He knew that they were strangers in a strange land. Hashem gave him the eyes to see from then until the end of days. This was not home.

Once we went back into exile, some 2000 years ago, attitudes changed. Wherever we wandered our leadership encouraged us to set up tents, plant vineyards, set stakes and make a name for ourselves. We can succeed here! And so, as the Ramban says, this pattern will always repeat itself until the final redemption. Everywhere we go we will start out poor, slowly we will succeed financially, in fields of medicine and even in government, until our time is up. When we have done all that Hashem sent us here to do, it is then that we are reminded that this is not home.

The Meshech Chochma continues. “We can be in a country for 100-200 years and suddenly a stormy wind comes and blows us apart from each other until we are individuals spread out all over, running to a faraway place. There we reunite. Once again, as continues to happen in our history, we become a nation, great in Torah, wise in all l that we do, until we forget that we are in a strange land. We think that this is the place we were carved out from. So we stop looking forward to the ultimate spiritual salvation from Hashem, in the right time.”

Sadly enough, we seem to have lost an important aspect of our Jewish identity. We are meant to be dreamers and we have stopped dreaming. We are the B’nai Yisrael, children of Yaakov whose son Yosef Hatzadik taught us the importance of dreaming and the importance of giving honor to one another as the number vehicle for bringing peace among us. Yosef taught us this when he made it clear to his brothers that there is nothing that he needs to forgive them for. He share with them a clear understanding that our lives and the world around us is ruled by Hashem our Creator. (Bereshit 45.7-8)

We are just too busy with our accomplishments, too busy appreciating the welcome we have received, the opportunities that we created for ourselves and are sure that this is home. “In that place,” says the Meshech Chochma, “an even greater storm will come, a strong reminder from Hashem,” You are a Jew and after all, who made you man? Go to the Land that you don’t know.” Let’s keep in mind. The other choice is to walk alone in a place where there is no Godliness (Rashi, Arizal). It has become clear today that we are mamash faced with accepting the level of no choice. There is no way to go but up.

In the 72 years since the establishment of the Jewish State, The State of Israel, the only occasion when our borders were closed was during short periods of war. Today our borders have been closed to visitors for more than 3 months and frankly, that end is not yet in sight. Today there is no more visiting. To visit means I like it, but I believe that I belong elsewhere The only way to be here is to come home.

We are grateful that you have had a safe, comfortable space to dwell in for the past 100-200 years. We are grateful for all of your contributions to our lives, physical and spiritual over the past 70 years. Now it seems like the time has come for us to be together in every way. There are no more visits to The Holy Land. The one way to be able to come to Israel is by declaring citizenship and claiming your rightful place in Israeli society. We can laugh together, dance together, sing together and cry together. We can help each other in ways that we never thought possible. We can help build the kind of communities and education systems that make you feel right at home, only this time you will be home. The only place that is home for Am Yisrael is Eretz Yisrael. Let’s be blessed to dream together. Please join us now We can build together. As I said last week, we so much need each other and that is clearly true now more than ever in our lifetime.

Something strange happened to us 60 years ago. When Chabad started calling out “We want Moshiach now,” we got used to hearing it from them and somehow assumed it was a slogan of their particular “brand “ of Judaism, not necessarily something that we related to on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, that response may have set us up to forget. We all need to dream and yearn for that to happen now. Call it Moshiach, The rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash, Geulah or Peace now. This is our calling. To be a vessel through whom the ultimate true Peace and redemption can come to us and the whole world.

“Am Yisrael Chai!”

Shabbat Shalom,

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