Kenneth Cohen

Aliya-Sanctification of G-d’s Name

Parshat Parah is read before the month of Nissan. It speaks of the purification necessary for those who may have come in contact with the dead. They need to be sprinkled with the ashes of the Red Heifer, in order to be in a state of purity for the Pesach holiday.

The Haftarah is read from the Book of Yechezkel. It also speaks of the ultimate purification in preparation of building the Third Temple. It speaks of the time when all of Israel will be sprinkled with waters of purification, and all will once again serve Hashem with a complete heart.

This Haftarah is probably the most Zionistic of the entire year. One particular Pasuk, was the motivator for me to announce forty years ago, that I was leaving my congregation to make Aliya.

Yechezkel reviews the events that transpired that forced the Jewish people to leave their sacred land. He goes on to explain that they desecrated the Name of G-d, by their very presence outside of Israel.

The Gentile would mock the Jew in Exile, and say to them, “If you are G-d’s chosen people, why aren’t you in His chosen land? This makes G-d look weak and is a desecration of His holy Name.

I did not want to be guilty of Chillul Hashem, and my wife and I realized that we must move to the place that was a Kiddush Hashem.

The State of Israel is a sanctification of the Name of G-d. its existence proves that He has not abandoned us. It announces to the world that the Jewish people are indeed, G-d’s chosen people, as we daily witness the fulfillment of ancient prophecies.

It is my fervent prayer that all Jews return to Israel, the only home for the Jewish people. We will see a fulfillment of another verse of the Haftarah, “And you will be My people, and I will be your G-d.”

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at