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How Are Israel and The Jewish People Connected? (part 2 of 3)

12) What is the ultimate goal of the Jew to accomplish in his lifetime?

It is to get as close as possible to G-d and fulfillment of His mitzvos. Eretz Yisrael is the best place in the world to reach this goal. Living in Eretz Yisrael is being in a constant dialogue with G-d.

Whoever lives in Eretz Yisrael has a G-d, but whoever lives outside of Eretz Yisrael is as one who has no G-d (Talmud Bavli Kesubos 110b).

דברים בה: לח

אֲנִי הֹ’ אֱלֹקיכֶם אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם, לָתת לָכֶם אֶת אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן לִֽהְיוֹת לָכם לֵֽאלֹקים:

I am G-d  your G-d Who took you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan to be a G-d to you (Vayikra 25:38).

One who [chooses] to live outside of Eretz Yisrael is regarded like one who worships idols [and not Hashem].

 

13) Why was the original Zohar specifically composed in Eretz Yisrael?

Eretz Yisrael exists on the level of Sod (Kabala). These are the secrets of G-d that are revealed to those who see the world through His eyes.

תהילים כה:יד

סוֹד ה’ לִֽירֵאָיו, וּבְרִיתוֹ לְהֽוֹדִיעָֽם:

The secret of Hashem with those who fear Him, and His covenant is to let them know [it]( Tehillim 25:14).

The secrets of G-d to revealed to those who fear Him; i.e. those that chose to live in His Palace – Israel. The lower levels of Torah revelation: Pshat, Remez and Drush, are easily learned in Chutz La’Aretz.

 

14) How does fearing G-d necessitate a close relationship with Him?

Yirah יראה, fear of G-d on the basic level means fear of punishment from doing sin. It really means that, one knows that there is nothing meaningful in life other than a close relationship with G-d Himself.

 

 

 

15) How does one get to know G-d?

When one lives in Eretz Yisrael and gets to know how it works to live here, as a Torah observant Jew, then he gets to know Eretz Yisrael. This leads to the possibility to knowing G-d Himself.

תלמוד בבלי ברכות העמוד א

תניא רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אומר שלש מתנות טובות נתן הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל וכולן לא נתנן אלא ע”י יסורין אלו הן תורה וארץ ישראל והעולם הבא.

It was taught in a Bereisa, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai says: Three good gifts were given by G-d to Yisrael. And all of them were only GIVEN with Yisurin (suffering/effort). These are them: Torah, Eretz Yisrael and Olam Haba (The World To Come) (Talmud Bavli Berachos 5a).

Talmud Berachos lists three things which are GIVEN to us with Yesurin (challenges). First we are given the Torah which leads one to live in Eretz Yisrael. Once one lives in Eretz Yisrael this then leads one to meriting closeness to G-d in Olam Habah.  Living in Israel gives one a “taste” of living in Olam Habah.

Despite the “suffering” or challenge, our job is to AQUIRE each one of these stages through love an acceptance of G-d’s way of running the world.

 

16) What is a higher spiritual level of a Jew? To be on the level of Yehudi (Jew) / Yaakov or a Yisrael?

Everywhere in Tanach and Oral Torah תורה שבעל פה, a “Jew” is called a Yisrael or a Ben Yisrael.  Yakov went to Chutz La’Aretz when he ran away from Esav. He later on returned to Eretz Yisrael, making Aliyah.  He crossed over the Yabok river and became a greater spiritual level of person who was called –  Yisrael ישראל . This name means “Fearing G-d” (Malbim).

 

The term “Jew” or “Yehudi” is a reference to The Galus Jew (Zohar Sha’ar Pesukim). Whereas, a Jew who lives in Israel, not in Galus, is called a Yisraeli or a Bnei Yisrael בני ישראל .

 

17) Is it a Chilul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s Name) to enjoy living in Chutz La’aretz and have no plans for Aliyah?

YES! There is no excuse for a real “Jew” not to be pained for one’s inability to make Aliyah. A Torah observant Jew has a goal in life to experience the Geula redemption, in Eretz Yisrael. We sanctify G-d’s Name, by serving Him in Eretz Yisrael.

 

18) What is the main reason observant Jews do not make Aliyah today? Security concerns or financial income (Parnassah)?

The answer is – Parnassah! (financial income).

It seems to appear easier to make enough money  in Chutz L’aretz to live a comfortable Torah lifestyle. It also seems, that even if one works hard in Eretz Yisrael, one does not make enough money to live comfortably. One would think that the main goal in life is to maximize one’s time learning Torah. If this is possible in the USA, then one would think that we should remain there and not make Aliyah.

Wrong !

This was the logic of the Meraglim Spies who lived at same time as Moshe. They were the greatest Rabbis of their generation, the Gedolei HaDor, that’s why Moshe chose them to tour the land of Eretz Yisrael.

 

19) What does G-d want from us?

We can learn this answer from the story of the Meraglim. The Spies thought it was a Mitzvah to reject Eretz Yisrael (on the 9th of Av) and to rather study Torah and do Mitzvos in the desert (Chutz La’aretz). They reasoned that moving to Eretz Yisrael would necessitate the need to fight for the land and waste time farming The Land to maintain it. Inevitably, they would losing out on precious Torah learning time. G-d told them that they were wrong. They were punished with a painful death on the 7th of Elul and that generation of Jews perished in the desert.

They rejected Eretz Yisrael, but G-d reacted and said that rejecting Eretz Yisrael IS the same act as rejecting G-d Himself.

במדבר יד: כו-כט, לד

וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל משֶׁה וְאֶל אַֽהֲרֹן לֵאמֹֽר: עַד מָתַי לָֽעֵדָה הָֽרָעָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר הֵמָּה מַלִּינִים עָלָי, אֶת תְּלֻנּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הֵמָּה מַלִּינִים עָלַי שָׁמָֽעְתִּי: אֱמֹר אֲלֵהֶם חַי אָנִי נְאֻם ה’ אִם לֹא כַּֽאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתֶּם בְּאָזְני, כֵּן אֶֽעֱשֶׂה לָכֶֽם: בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה יִפְּלוּ פִגְרֵיכֶם וְכָל פְּקֻֽדֵיכֶם לְכָל מִסְפַּרְכֶם מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמָעְלָה, אֲשֶׁר הֲלִֽינֹתֶם עָלָֽי:… בְּמִסְפַּר הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר תַּרְתֶּם אֶת הָאָרֶץ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה תִּשְׂאוּ אֶת עֲו‍ֹנֹתֵיכֶם אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, וִֽידַעְתּם אֶת תְּנֽוּאָתִֽי:

Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon, saying: “How much longer will this evil congregation who are causing to complain against Me [exist]? The complaints of the children of Israel which they caused them to complain against Me, I have heard: Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says Hashem, ‘if not as you have spoken in My ears, so will I do to you: In this desert, your corpses shall fall; your entire number, all those from the age of twenty and up, who were counted, because you complained against Me:… According to the number of days which you toured the Land forty days, a day for each year, you will [thus] bear your iniquities for forty years; thus you will come to know My alienation.    (Bamidbar 14: 26-29,34).

The Gedolei Ha’dor of the Midbar, The Meraglim, insisted that they did not reject G-d but rather only refused to make Aliyah.

G-d explained to them, that this type of attitude cannot exist among His people. G-d explained that the rejection of Eretz Yisrael (Aliyah) on the 9th of Av directly caused the rejection and destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. The physical building that we had in this world to get close to G-d was destroyed because the Meraglim rejected G-d/Aliyah on the 9th of Av.  G-d taught them that rejecting the relationship with Eretz Yisrael ,by definition, causes the rejection of a Jew’s relationship with G-d Himself.

 

20) How is a Jew in Chutz La’Aretz like an idol worshiper?

That Talmud Bavli in Kesubos 110b, states that Jews living outside of Israel are like one who has no  G-d and the Talmud in Avoda Zara 8a states that living in the physical Galus, is like serving Idols in purity.

In Eretz Yisrael it is impossible to  attribute success or failure to anyone but G-d Himself; this is called Hashgochah Pratis. In Chutz La’Aretz, G-d’s presence is not revealed there; this spiritual reality allows the cause and effect  association with G-d, to be less clear. In Chutz La’Aretz, it is possible to attribute success or failure to Nature; this is not possible here in Eretz Yisrael.  In Chutz La’Aretz one is less reliant on G-d, and one seems to rely on another “power”; this is called –  idolatry.

דברים ח: יז

וְאָמַרְתָּ בִּלְבָבֶךָ, כֹּחִי וְעֹצֶם יָדִי עָשָׂה לִי אֶת הַחַיִל הַזֶּה.

And you say to yourselves:, “My own power and the might of my own hands have won this wealth for me.” (Devarim 8:17).

 

21) What is the real difference between living in Chutz La’Aretz (USA) and Eretz Yisrael?

When we lived in Egypt we were on the level of yesh m’yesh יש מיש (something comes from something). When we entered Eretz Yisrael we were elevated in our closeness to G-d to the level of yesh m’eyin יש מאין (something from nothing).

The last Mishna in Shas discusses the word “yesh” יש . It  has the gematria (numerical value) of 310. In the desert after leaving Egypt, each Jew received and Omer amount of manna. The gematria of  עמר is 310 which is the same as יש .

עמר = 310 = יש

The first “yesh” refers to ones’ materialistic needs. The second term, “ayin/yesh”, refers to the actual source of those materialistic needs. It either comes from something that already exists (yesh) or from something that does not physically exist (ayin/Hashgasha Pratis).

To survive in Chutz La’Aretz, one must have a physical medium through which the blessing of G-d can flow. To expect something from nothing, in Chutz La’Aretz, is to rely on a miracle which leads to loss of one’s rewards in Olam Haba!

In the Midbar, in preparation for entering Israel, water could come from Moshe speaking to a rock.  In Chutz La’Aretz, water could only come from a rock after the physical action of hitting it.  To understand living in Eretz Yisrael, one must learn that materialistic success is achieved in a spiritual manner. This can only be demonstrated by Moshe TALKING to the rock in order to get water. One does not need the physical source of the “hitting” in order to get parnasa (income) in Eretz Yisrael. In Eretz Yisrael parnasa comes from “ayin”.

This is a hard fact for many Jews to understand or believe in. Since the Jews in the desert were not taught this lesson by Moshe, he was punished by not ever being able to enter the Land of Eretz Yisrael. So too, that generation did not have the tools to understand how to live here with G-d.

 

22) Where are the two places in the Torah that hints to Haman originating from the nation of Amalek?

“Hamin ha-aitz” (the Tree of good and evil) in Bereishis, refers to Haman from  Amalek. In addition, the story of Moshe hitting the rock “Hamin hasela” (Bamidbar 20:10), is also a reference to Haman.

בראשית ג:יא

וַיֹּאמֶר מִי הִגִּיד לְךָ כִּי עֵירֹם אָתָּה הֲמִן הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ לְבִלְתִּי אֲכָל מִמֶּנּוּ אָכָלְתָּ.

 

במדבר כ:י

יַּקְהִלוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֶת הַקָּהָל אֶל פְּנֵי הַסָּלַע וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם שִׁמְעוּ נָא הַמֹּרִים הֲמִן הַסֶּלַע הַזֶּה נוֹצִיא לָכֶם מָיִם.

Moshe failed to teach the Jews in the Midbar that on Erev Shabbis they were to collect only one Omer of Mannah and say the words “Le’chavod Shabbis” for the Honor of the Sabbath; then through the power of  “Yesh Mi’Ayin”, the Mannah would have miraculously transformed into two Omers.

The actual speech of saying “Le’chovod Shabis” would have altered the physical reality. Instead, the people acted like living in Chutz La’Aretz and  collected two Omers of Mannah; miraculously the Mannah did not rot as it would have Sunday through Thursday. The wrong miracle took place. This is the power of speech or Tefilla, which is essential in order to exist with G-d in His Land of Eretz Yisrael. No wonder all of the prayers in the world are directed towards Yerushalyim in Israel.

 

23) What was the lesson of the Mannah?

The Mannah was given in order to create a total reliance on G-d, this is called “ayin”. This power was to be accessed by Tefilah – speech. The mannah taught us to live by “Yesh Mi’Ayin”; this was preparation for Aliyah and living in Eretz Yisrael. Aliyah is only successful for the Jew and his family who have spiritually prepared themselves.

Prayer is inherent to Eretz Yisrael. This is why all the prayers in the world are directed to the Har HaBayis in Yerushalayim.  One who understands this fact will see that it is ridiculous to leave Eretz Yisrael and to pray in Umman Ukraine or other places in Europe. We have the actual places, here in Israel, where the physical and spiritual meet, where all prayers go, right here in Israel – Ma’arat HaMachpeyla in Chevron and the Kotel/Har Habayis in Yerushalyim. To think otherwise and leave Eretz Yisrael to pray in Chutz La’Aretz is a form of Idolatry.

 

24) Why did Yakov return of the Yabok river for the small containers?

The “pachim ketanim” small containers, represented “Yesh Mi’Ayin”. This was the oil first used by Noach from the branch he got from the Yona bird at the conclusion of the flood. Later on,  Yakov used this oil to anoint the rock that he slept on in Beit El and had his vision of “The Ladder”. This same vial of oil  was subsequently used by the Chasmonayim to miraculously light the menorah for the eight days of Chanukah.

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. Received Rabbinical ordination in 1997. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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