Tzvi Fishman
Torah Commentator, Novelist, and Film Director

The Severest Addiction of All

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I recently read an interesting article about a conference which took place before Corona (BC) discussing drug, alcohol and internet addiction within the Jewish community. The conference took place in upstate NY and was sponsored by an organization which assists parents of children at-risk. Leading Rabbis and Jewish psychologists discussed a wide range of addictions and their treatments, but no one spoke about the greatest addiction of all – the addiction to the Diaspora itself.

Like other addictions, the Jewish People’s addiction to living in foreign, Gentile lands keeps the addict in emotional, psychological, and spiritual darkness. Also like other addictions, the addict denies his addiction, making treatment very difficult. To address this widespread problem, The Fishman Foundation for Advanced Diaspora Addiction has created a 12-Step Program for all Diaspora Jews, including Rabbis and Jewish psychologists, similar to the programs used by Alcoholics Anonymous and other rehab groups. All you need to succeed is a true yearning to fulfill the will of Hashem, heartfelt prayer, and a blue marking pen. The 12 steps are:

  1. Recite every morning Hashem’s command to Avraham, “Lech lecha,” to dwell in the Land of Israel, and believe in your heart that as the offspring of Avraham, you have the power, as part of your genetic inheritance, to abandon the foreign country where you live and move to the Land of Israel just Avraham did. In your prayer book, underline the “Lech lecha” passage in blue.
  2. Read every morning Hashem’s command to Moshe to take the Jews out of bondage in Egypt and to bring them to dwell in the Land of Israel, remembering that Mount Sinai was just a station along the way to the ultimate stop of living a Torah life in the Land of Israel. You can find the passage by opening your Chumash to the recount of the Burning Bush in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 3, verse 7. Underline the passage in blue: “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My People who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of Egypt, and to bring them out of that land to a good and large Land, a Land flowing with milk and honey.”
  3. In the morning Shacharit prayer, at Mincha, and during the evening Maariv, when you pray for the ingathering of the exiles to Israel, feel it in your heart. Underline the prayer in blue: “Sound the great shofar of our freedom, and uphold a banner to gather in our exiles, and gather us speedily together from the four corners of the globe to our Land.”
  4. When you say “Modim” three times a day in the Amidah Prayer, concentrate on the words: “O gather our exiles to Thy holy courts (in Jerusalem) to observe Thy laws, and to do Thy will, and to serve Thee with a perfect heart.” Underline the prayer in blue.
  5. When reciting the Musaf prayer on Sabbaths and Holidays, internalize the following request as if you really mean it: “May it be Thy will, Hashem our God and God of our Fathers, to bring us in joy back to our Land and to plant us within our borders.” Underline the prayer in blue.
  6. At the conclusion of the Yom Kippur service, when you declare, “Next year in Jerusalem,” make a commitment to act on your words. Underline the words of the declaration in blue.
  7. At the beginning of the Passover Seder, when you say: “This year, we are slaves in bondage; next year may we be free men in the Land of Israel,” concentrate of the words and engrave them on your heart, believing that Hashem will give you the strength, and courage, and means to bring the yearning to fruition. Underline the words of the declaration in blue.
  8. At the conclusion of the Pesach Seder, when you declare, “Next year in Jerusalem,” make a commitment to act on your words. Underline the words of the declaration in blue.
  9. After eating bread on weekdays, after every meal, recite Psalm 137, as enacted by our Sages, and internalize the words: “If I ever forget you, O Jerusalem, withered be my right hand! May my tongue cleave to my palate, if I don’t think of you, if I don’t set Jerusalem above my highest joy.” Underline the words of the declaration in blue.
  10. On Sabbath, after every meal, recite Psalm 126, as enacted by our Sages, and mean what you say: “When Hashem brought the exiles back to Zion, we were like those who dream.” Underline the words of the Psalm in blue.
  11. Find the text of the Book of Devarim on the Internet. Do a Search for the expression “in the Land.” Print out the pages and highlight the verses in blue. Here is an example of a few of the many commands:

“Now therefore hearken, O Israel, to the statutes and to the laws which I teach you to do, that you may live and go in to POSSESS THE LAND….” (Devarim, 4:1).

“I have taught you statutes and laws that you should act accordingly IN THE LAND whither you go to possess,” (Idid, 4:5).

“And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and laws that you may do them IN THE LAND into which you go over to possess,” (Ibid, 4:14).

“But you shall go over and possess the GOOD LAND,” (Ibid, 4:22).

“Thou shall therefore keep His statutes… that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, that you may prolong thy days ON THE LAND which the Lord your G-d gives thee” (Ibid, 4:40).

“I will speak to thee all the commandments… which thou shall teach them that they may do them IN THE LAND which I gave them to possess” (Ibid, 5:28).

“That you may prolong your days IN THE LAND which you shall possess,” (Ibid, 5:30).

“Now this is the commandment… that you may do them IN THE LAND which you go in to possess,” (Ibid, 6:1).

“That you may increase mightily IN THE LAND that flows with milk and honey,” (Ibid, 6:3).

“And thou shall do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with thee, and you will go in and possess THE GOOD LAND,” (Ibid, 6:18).

“He brought us out of Egypt that He might bring us in, to give us THE LAND which He swore to our fathers,” (Ibid, 6:22).

  1. Call up the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization and register to make Aliyah. Except for your wife and your family, do not tell anyone about your decision lest they attempt to convince you that you are crazy, employing all kinds of arguments and warnings. Like Avraham and Sarah, just pack up some belongings and go.

While it is very true that drug addiction, and the addiction to alcohol, and to immodest websites on the Internet are great dangers to Jewish youth in the Diaspora, the number one risk for them is the Diaspora itself. If the addiction to foreign lands which controls the behavior of their parents, teachers, Rabbis, and Jewish Leaders isn’t dealt with and treated, Jewish youth in the Diaspora are doomed.

About the Author
Before making Aliyah in 1984, Tzvi Fishman taught Creative Writing at the NYU School of the Arts. He has published nearly twenty novels and books on a wide range of Jewish themes, available at Amazon Books and the website. He is the recipient of the Israel Ministry of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture. Recently, he produced and directed the feature film, “Stories of Rebbe Nachman” starring Israel’s popular actor, Yehuda Barkan. Presently, he is working on Volume Four of the Tevye in the Promised Land Series.
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