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TETSAVVEH 5784

02/23/2024 11:18:44 AM

Feb23

Shalom to all!

Mr. Erdstein observes yahrzeit for his wife Molly/Malka bat Yehuda HaKohen, on 21 Adar,

Stanley Goldstein and Mariam Mintz observe for their grandmother Sarah Miriam on 22 Adar.

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Sadly, anti-Israelism and its corollary anti-semitism are alive and well. What’s going on in Quebec, where the JPL can’t refuse to remove books by an antisemitic children’s author?; or in USA, where Under Sec of State for arms control Bonnie Jenkins could not explain to Rep. Brian Mast any justification for the Palestinian state that Pres. Biden desires?

Let’s briefly refresh our memory as to how Erets Yisrael is always on our minds:

1) At the conclusion of the Torah, when Moshe climbs to the top of the mountain to see all of the Land of Israel, Hashem says “this is the Land that I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give to your descendants.” That is why it is called the “promised land.”

2) According to the great 13th century scholar Ramban, living in the Land is one of the Biblical commandments incumbent for all time.

3) From the time the Benai Yisrael first settled the land, around 3300 years ago, despite conquests by foreign nations, famines, etc., there was always an Israelite presence in the Land.

4) Wherever a Jew might be living, no matter how much opulence s/he might have acquired, s/he always felt being in “galut,” in exile.

5) OUR PRAYER BOOK IS PERMEATED WITH REFERENCES TO OUR HOPES FOR RETURNING TO THE LAND:

a) In the Amidah, we pray 3 times a day that Jerusalem should be rebuilt and that our eyes should see the return to Zion.

b) In Birkat Ha-mazon, in the second of the 3 biblically ordained blessings, we thank HaShem for the Land; the third blessing is a request that HaShem rebuild Jerusalem.

c) Upon leaving a house of mourning, we tell the mourners that the Omipresent should comfort them along with all of the mourners for Zion and Jerusalem.

d) The fasts of Gedaliah, 10 Tevet, 17 Tammuz, and, of course 9 Av, all refer to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem; and, of course, the Fast of 9 Av is preceded by 3 weeks of mourning for Jerusalem.

e) At the conclusion of the wedding ceremony: the breaking of the glass, in the popular understanding, is to remind us of the destruction [although, according to Tosafot, there is another interpretation.]

f) As everyone, even the most secular, knows, we conclude the seder, as well as Yom Kippur, with the heartfelt wish “le-shanah ha-ba’ah biyrushalayim.”

g) When we take the Torah out of the Ark, we sing the verse from Isaiah: “ki mitsiyon teitsei Torah u-devar HaShem miyrushalaym.”

h) After the reading of the haftarah, the 2nd blessing asks haShem to have pity on Zion, for it is the “house of our life.”

i) When we bless then new month, the Hazan asks HaShem to redeem us in the near future, and gather us from the 4 corners of the earth.

j) When we celebrate Tu bishvat, the “holiday of trees,” we might not appreciate that in snowy and cold Montreal, but are reminded of the bounty of the Land of Israel.

We could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Rabbi Hayyim Donin, in his masterful work To Be a Jew, describes eloquently that the Land of Israel is one of the 4 foundations of Judaism (the other foundations being People, God, and Torah.)

Shabbat shalom, shalom `al Yisrael,

Rabbi Menahem White

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784