We Jewish people are known for complaining. Whatever the downside is we can find it, highlight it and make it known to others. This is not always a bad trait for it can be used as an impetus for improvement, but sometimes it is just plain negativity and can be destructive.
The greatest example is in this week’s Parsha, Shelach when the spies in the desert spoke disparagingly of the land causing a downward spiral from which we have yet to recover.
No doubt that it can be scary and isn’t easy to make a lifelong change and move to the promised land. However, if we focus on our strengths and have faith in God we can live a successful meaningful and powerful existence in our land.
I quote Caleb as he professed to the nation,
עָלֹ֤ה נַֽעֲלֶה֙ וְיָרַ֣שְׁנוּ אֹתָ֔הּ כִּֽי־יָכ֥וֹל נוּכַ֖ל לָֽהּ:
We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it.
As I have done in previous years I undertook the task of posting something positive about Israel every day of the week of Parshat Shelach on Facebook. This was my effort to take part in a tikun (rectification) for the sin of the spies of which we still suffer.
The first thing I would like to acknowledge is the courage and strength of all the people that made aliyah from before 1948 until today. Whether they were running from an unbearable life or running to a hopeful new life full of potential and promise, either way, it took faith and courage and I am proud to stand among people who inspire and motivate me daily. They came to this land driven by its unique status given by God when He promised Abraham it will always be ours.
There are hundreds of wineries in Israel. Some are open for delightful tours and tastings.
I had a blast when I visited the Golan Winery this year and can’t wait to visit the others. It is amazing how far Israel has come in producing such high-quality luscious wines which I somehow can’t seem to stock at home.
I remember fondly before I ever visited Israel, my grandmother brought me back a stuffed camel which symbolized to me the message, “with love from Israel.” It seemed like such a magical place to me and I dreamed of what it was like to live here. Now, I oftentimes look out of my window and find a caravan of camels passing through and it brings me so much joy as it reminds me that dreams can come true.
It is not uncommon to find abandoned vehicles from the different wars fought in our country that have not been removed. They are kept as monuments so that we always remember the difficulties and sacrifices our people made to live in this country. I am eternally grateful and know that Israel can always persevere with God on our side.
I am personally moved when I see the tanks because my son devoted his years in the IDF to the tank division and was one of the first tanks to go into Gaza at the onset of Operation Protective Edge in 2014. I am so proud of our army for their devotion and bravery. I am even more impressed that they don’t try to erase the tragic loss, but instead highlight, learn, and honor all that happened in the past.
One of the biggest fringe benefits, for me, of living in Israel is the chugim (extracurricular activities) that are provided for my children in school as well as the vast options available after school hours. The children here are encouraged to be well rounded and are taught about animals, planting, cooking, music, acting, dancing, debating, how to engage in games of strategy and the list goes on and on. This helps promote self-confidence as kids gain skills and learn through hands-on activities. It also adds an element of excitement that makes going to school much more appealing.
I was delighted today when just as I was braiding my challah my son came in with zaátar that he made in school! He was taught to grind it with a pestle and mortar, sift, add spices, and wallah! I was overjoyed at the timing and promptly sprinkled some on my unbaked challah! Man, I love this country!
Here in Israel, each day is referred to by number – Yom Rishon, Yom Sheini, Yom Shlishi, Yom Rivii, Yom Chamishi, Yom Shishi, except for the seventh day which is Shabbat. The reason being that all the days of the week are in anticipation and working toward the ultimate goal when we can put aside all work and worry and simply be our authentic selves in the safety net of Shabbat. When I made aliyah I was astounded to find that even the people who aren’t Jewish wished me a hearty Shabbat Shalom. I love that on Friday I can feel the hustle and bustle of Shabbat in the air as people are out and about and then suddenly a few hours before Shabbat things become quieter and quieter as sundown approaches and we light the candles.
The air seems to change as I feel the sanctity of the day in our holy country when I bring in the Shabbat. At that moment all worries seem to melt away and I feel a great sense of comfort and security in the embrace of Shabbat in our beloved homeland.
God agreed to the people’s desire to scout out the land saying “Shlech lecha,” send for yourselves people to survey the land if that is what they feel they need in order to go in and conquer and inhabit the land. Over 3,000 years later, I boldly say to the rest of our nation: “Shelach lanu” — send us — send us the remainder of our people. We have come, we have seen, we have conquered, we have built, we have succeeded and now we simply wait for the rest of you to join us in benefiting from the bounty that God has bestowed upon us.