The Message is for Us
If Hashem did not give us the Land of Israel, why on earth would we bother to adhere to a very complicated law with many intricacies that’s only applicable to it?
by Yael Karni
“The power of His acts He told to his people....in order to give them the estate of nations.” Rashi [Midrash on Genesis]
As I am sure many of our readers are aware, the British Labour party seems to be awash with, to my mind, well documented evidence of anti-Jewish/Israel sentiments, which until now have avoided public and media scrutiny. As with other countries, notably the USA, Jewish students at some universities have been experiencing very difficult situations regarding Israel and the BDS movement is doing its best to de-legitimize our homeland. All seem to ally themselves to a leftist type of ideology.
At this point, my essay on British politics will come to a close.
As a believing Jew, I need to be aware of what is going on globally and of what is going on locally, but only so that I can try and internalize what message Hashem is trying to send us.
Our Torah sages teach us that in the End of Days the nations of the world, i.e. the descendants of Eisav and Yishmael, will try to take the Land of Israel away from the Jewish people after we have re-established ourselves in the Land.
The first Rashi in Bereishis/Genesis hints at just this situation. The great commentator Rashi says that Hashem should have actually started the Torah with the first mitzvah to the Jewish People of the New Moon but instead we go through the preamble of Hashem creating the world and the first man and woman [who were not Jewish] to be followed by several non-Jewish generations, culminating in the Patriarchs and in the birth of the Jewish Nation. He then makes an astounding statement: that if the nations of the world will come to Israel and say that we are robbers for we conquered the lands of the seven nations [who inhabited the land of Canaan, which became known as Israel], Israel should say to these nations that the whole world belongs to Hashem, that He created it and it was His desire to take it from them and give it to the nation of Israel.
This is even more astonishing given our present situation. One might think that we are supposed to tell the nations this but of course would they listen, that’s assuming they believe in Hashem. No, Rashi is saying that this message is for us. We need to believe that it is Hashem’s will that we occupy the Land, and that even several of the Torah’s commandments are dependent on occupancy of the Land of Israel. A good example of this would be Shmittah, requiring a Jewish farmer to allow his land to go fallow during the 7th year, as a Sabbath for the land, in the same way that we work 6 days, and cease creative work on the 7th day. A Jewish farmer anywhere else in the world would not be allowed to keep Shmittah. It only applies to the Land of Israel. If Hashem did not give us the land, why on earth would we bother to adhere to a very complicated law with many intricacies that’s only applicable to the Land of Israel?
I must admit to being a bit addicted to the media at the moment, particularly the phone-ins. It’s really quite educational and very pertinent to what Rashi says because probably for the first time starting a couple of years ago during the Gaza war, our Muslim “cousins” are calling in and brazenly stating that Jews are only a religion, not a nation; that the Jews don’t come from Israel and that it doesn’t belong to us; that the Palestinians are the rightful owners, i.e. we’ve stolen the land from them; that there’s no such thing as Zionism [actually, they’re right from the point of view of the modern state of Israel]. In the last few days, even the radio presenters have been quite taken aback at the vitriol and aggressiveness of some callers, who label us child killers with no mention of the atrocities they commit in Hashem’s name, both against us and each other.
What message should we take from this, from whichever country we are living?
That Hashem is calling to us, pleading with us, to return, not just to the Land but to Him personally. He wants to wean us off our involvement with the Gentile nations, particularly the Western ideologies of self-gratification and materialism. He doesn’t want to hurt us but He knows that we have a magnificent spiritual mission to fulfil, which far transcends any trip to the shopping mall or sporting event, and that’s even if we do keep Shabbos. We can be so much more spiritually, we will be so much more - more that we can ever imagine or comprehend and the rest of world will benefit as well.
We have to realize that our only means of survival in the Diaspora and our access to the Land of Israel is through our acceptance and fulfilment of the mitzvoth and that no political leader, however well intentioned, will be able to bring peace through geopolitical means without relying on Hashem.
Hashem has made the nations of the world blind and deaf to our entreaties and arguments, because this is His will. They will not listen to us, they will not see the obvious lies and contradictions they make. They’re not meant to because the situation is supernatural.
Hear Hashem’s message and respond to Him with words of love and yearning. May we merit to usher in the full spiritual and physical redemption of our people, Amen.