Kenneth Cohen

Israel Is Kiddush Hashem

The Haftarah for Parshat Para, was made famous by Rav Meir Kahane. There were two main points to be learned from Yechezkel 36.

The first point is that our presence outside of Israel, is a direct punishment for having abandoned the Torah. We were punished as we showed that we did not merit living in the Holy Land.

As a result of this, Hashem accepted that this punishment would make Him look weak. Non-Jews could point to even observant Jews and mock them. “If you are G-d’s chosen people, why are you not in His chosen land.

The lesson here is that the very presence of any Jew outside of Israel is a desecration of G-d’s holy Name, because He is made to look weak.

The second point taught by Rav Kahane in his interpretation of Parshat Para, is that the rebirth of the State of Israel, is a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of G-d’s Name. This will come about, not because we deserve it, but because the time has come to end Chillul Hashem.

Therefore, G-d will bring His children from the four corners of the earth to Israel. The land that was desolate will flourish, as will the cities.

The Christians and Muslims that accused us of having been abandoned by our G-d, can no longer make such a claim. The accomplishments of the last seventy-five years are nothing short of miraculous. They are a powerful proof of the special bond between Hashem and His people, as we are witnessing the fulfillment of 3000-year-old prophecies.

This is probably the most inspiring Haftarah of the entire year. It inspired me to such an extent that on this Shabbat forty-one years ago, I announced to my congregation at Young Israel of Century City, that I was making Aliya with my family. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

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