Israel, not just the people, but the physical country, too, is like the body. Our heart is Jerusalem, and more specifically, the Temple Mount. The surrounding areas can be compared to the lungs, stomach and other organs in close proximity to the heart. The areas farthest away from Jerusalem, such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and all the way down south in Eilat could be likened to the fingers and toes. When one is ill with heart disease, it can go undetected for a long time, and in fact, very rarely will the extremities feel any problem. It is usually the areas surrounding the heart that feel the pressure, pain and discomfort that prompt an immediate doctor’s visit. Now, let me tell you about my recent trips to different and far places within Israel.
A few months ago my friends and I went to Eilat for a couple of days; just the ladies to get take a break from everyday life. We were shocked by the relaxed atmosphere that permeated Eilat; not just among Israelis but the hundreds of Arabs that flooded the outdoor mall and boardwalk on the Gulf of Aqaba/Gulf of Eilat. At first we were nervous. Would it be like Jerusalem? Would these hundreds of Arabs turn on us all and try to slaughter us? We stood there and just stared in disbelief. No one was interested in violence, politics or religion. No one cared about ethnicity. No one really cared about anything except for relaxing with their families and having a good time. I went into the kosher coffee house and struck up a conversation with the Israeli at the counter. He asked where I was from, and when I told him, he laughed, handed me a package of knives and said, “Here, you’ll need this when you get home.” A nervous laugh escaped my lips. My friends and I relaxed once we realized that everything really was as quiet as it appeared. When I returned home, I told my friend who lives in Shuafat (an Arab part of Jerusalem) what I experienced. He stated that he noticed the same phenomenon in other cities as well, and has seriously considered moving away from Jerusalem. Why does it seem that life is so much more intense here than anywhere else in the country? We talked in great length about why it has to be this way. We discussed that the closer we are to the holiness, the stronger the evil inclination/yetzer hara becomes. It literally becomes a battle ground, because we live nearest our heart center. Jerusalem, with our Temple Mount, is our heart. Our heart is ill.
Let’s fast forward to Chol HaMoed Pesach. I decided to take an impromptu train trip with my daughter to Haifa, because I had never been there before and heard so many wonderful things about that city. So, off we went. I met so many interesting and special people on the train, and was able to talk extensively with them about life. I found, once again, that attitudes and outlooks were extremely different so far away from Jerusalem. It seemed that they were not at all bothered or concerned in the same manner that we who live in or around Jerusalem are. Maybe my theory is right. Maybe the fingers and toes don’t feel the heart’s pressure or pain that the lungs and stomach feel.
But, what happens when the major heart attack happens? Those of us who live closest to the center and feel the chest pressure on a daily basis are obligated to seek treatment. But what should the treatment be? Should pills and bed rest (shutting down neighborhoods, harassing and silencing Jews on the Temple Mount, etc.) continuously be given to calm the heart? Or should concentrated examination be conducted to diagnose and fix the heart’s illness? The body has become so ill that additional symptoms of autoimmune disorders are becoming evident. In autoimmune disorders, the body turns against itself and begins attacking its own organs. How do we see this? Every day we hear that Jew is fighting against fellow Jew over everything from politics to religion. The immune system is designed to fight against outside and dangerous substances and threats to the body, but when it is ill, it attacks itself, ultimately destroying the very body it was designed to protect.
As a nation, we are going to have to realize that we are ill. Our heart is failing, and eventually the other parts of the body will feel the effects of heart failure. If we care about ourselves and the world, we need to submit to a complete physical and undergo treatment. Returning to Torah, doing teshuvah, and rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash are the Divine treatments prescribed for all of humanity. Our enemies are the discipline rod from Hashem. Hashem tells us that if we will turn to Him in repentance, He will destroy our enemies. Don’t delude yourselves into thinking that you have a better treatment than the one that the Creator has prescribed. Don’t think that you know best, so you will try some experimental remedies that seem to calm the heart and give you temporary rest. The moment any external stress occurs, the heart will again shows signs of illness.
Our nation needs to follow the prescription given by the True Healer or continue down the path of failed self-administered treatments.