Printed from JewishFolsom.org

Rabbi Yossi's Blog

Welcome to Rabbi Yossi's Blog; where you can expect to find thoughts on current events, Torah learning and Jewish spirituality. And of course, some good Jewish humor.

Do we have a claim to the Land of Israel?

Did you know that the Jewish people lived in Israel long before the ancient Roman Empire began, and for more years than the Roman Empire lasted? If your information about our connection to the land comes from popular news sources, the answer would be, “No.”

Our connection to the Holy Land of Israel traces all the way to the beginning of creation. Rashi, the great Torah commentator, in his very first comment on the Torah wonders, “Why does the Torah begin with the creation narrative? Why begin a book of laws with stories?” He explains that this is to remind us that G-d created the world; therefore He has the authority to give us, the Jewish nation, the Land of Israel.

An additional fact that is so often overlooked is that for over 1000 years Jewish people lived in Israel and for long periods of time controlled it exclusively. Two Jewish Temples stood in Jerusalem many years before Islam was ever founded.

To claim that we have no right to the land is nothing less than “Chutzpah” (to steal something else that has been a traditional Jewish trademark…), yet so many well-meaning but uninformed people accept this notion.

If you have found yourself to be uncertain as to the validity of our claim to the land, (including the so-called West Bank and Gaza for that matter), you owe it to yourself to get educated. Here’s a great place to start, Eyes Upon the Land.

One more thought, in addition to the geographic Israel, there is the concept of Israel, a holy land. Although we live outside of the Holy Land, we have the ability to create the “Holy Land” experience in our own lives. When we infuse our lives with meaning and holiness, through the observance of mitzvahs, we create the atmosphere of the Holy Land in our own location.

This shouldn’t sound daunting; it can be accomplished step by small, baby step. Click here for some excellent one-minute suggestions as to how we can make the atmosphere in our lives more like the Holy Land.

The Israeli Ambassador's Speech

My favorite joke about foreign claims to our land: The Israeli Ambassador at the U.N. began, "Ladies and gentlemen, before I commence with my speech, I want to relate an old Passover story. When Moses was leading the Jews out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, he had to go through the nearly endless Sinai desert.

"When they reached the Promised Land, the people had become very thirsty and needed water. So Moses struck the side of a mountain with his staff and a pond appeared with crystal clean, cool water. The people rejoiced and drank to their hearts' content.

"Moses put down his staff and went to a solitary corner of the pond to drink, and meditate in prayer. But once Moses returned, he found that his staff had been stolen.

"I have reason to believe, ladies and gentlemen, that the Palestinians stole the staff of our great Prophet Moses.'"

The Palestinian delegate to the UN, hearing this accusation, jumps from his seat and screams out, "This is a travesty. It is widely known that there was no such thing as 'Palestinians' at that time!"

"And with that in mind," said the Israeli Ambassador, "let me now begin my speech." 

The Israeli ambassador's Speech

My favorite joke about foreign claims to our land: The Israeli Ambassador at the U.N. began, "Ladies and gentlemen, before I commence with my speech, I want to relate an old Passover story. When Moses was leading the Jews out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, he had to go through the nearly endless Sinai desert.

"When they reached the Promised Land, the people had become very thirsty and needed water. So Moses struck the side of a mountain with his staff and a pond appeared with crystal clean, cool water. The people rejoiced and drank to their hearts' content.

"Moses put down his staff and went to a solitary corner of the pond to drink, and meditate in prayer. But once Moses returned, he found that his staff had been stolen.

"I have reason to believe, ladies and gentlemen, that the Palestinians stole the staff of our great Prophet Moses.'"

The Palestinian delegate to the UN, hearing this accusation, jumps from his seat and screams out, "This is a travesty. It is widely known that there was no such thing as 'Palestinians' at that time!"

"And with that in mind," said the Israeli Ambassador, "let me now begin my speech." 

My Personal Miracle on HWY 5

Earlier this week, as my wife, children and I were driving back from LA, we experienced a miracle.

We were driving along HWY 5, enjoying the family time together in the car, when suddenly we saw a dead cow in middle of our lane, just a few feet ahead of us. I hadn’t seen it earlier as the sun had just set and it was not quite dark. I quickly swerved to avoid hitting the cow, but we were going too fast. Our van jumped violently to the right, then jerked back to the left, spinning around in the process. We hit the embankment on the side of the road and finally came to a stop with our van perpendicular to the road, jutting out into oncoming traffic.

I was shaken and in complete shock; after a quick check that everyone was safe and not hurt, I managed to straighten out the van so that we wouldn’t get hit by the approaching traffic, coming towards us at 80 miles an hour.

We were extremely shaken, to say the least, but thank G-d, miraculously no one was injured. I continued driving slowly with my hazards flashing until the next exit, where we pulled off to catch our breath examine the damage to the van. After inspecting the van, I was pleasantly surprised to observe only minor nicks and dents and no serious damage.

As we continued to drive, the miraculous nature of what had just occurred began to sink in. Most of the way there had been vehicles next to us, but just at that time there were no cars or trucks next to us or behind us. Who knows what would have happened had there been... The median was raised unlike much of the way where it is flat or lower than the road. This prevented us from rolling over... In a car with five children, who all like to sit in various positions, many times they adjust their seat belts in potentially unsafe ways. At that moment, everyone was sitting securely. Other than being a little shaken (quite literally), everyone was safe and sound.

This Shabbat I will say the special blessing “hagomel la’chayavim tovot,” which is customarily recited if one was saved from a mishap while travelling. After the tefillah, we will be sponsoring a special kiddush to thank Hashem for this miracle. Please join me to say L’chaim and let us use this opportunity to thank Hashem for all the miracles in our lives, the dramatic ones and the seemingly regular ones, like waking up in the morning. (Interestingly, this theme is reflected in today’s daily portion of Tanya, click here to read).

One more thing - when my second to youngest child, Zalman, had calmed down he asked me, “Tati (Daddy), please don’t do that again, I didn’t like it.” I assured him that I do not plan to.

A Witty Response to Wily Protestors

The latest protest from the anti-Israel crowd is another so-called "Flytilla". Here’s a welcome letter that was prepared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry for any activists that actually made it to Israel:

Flytilla letter.jpg 

(Source)

This does a great job at highlighting the hypocrisy of these people. If they had any interest in human rights they would go to places that there are real issues, not to Israel.

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.