Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spiritual and Identity Lessons from Operation Protective Edge

By HaRav Dov Lior
Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba

As there is a physical "Iron Dome" over Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel), there is the spiritual Iron Dome or Hashgacha over Am Yisrael (the Nation of Israel), and we must ask ourselves what has caused the current tzarot (troubles) to happen to the nation.  Maimonides writes in Hilchot Taanit that every tragedy requires reflection. There is no doubt that Am Yisrael has yet to understand the significance of our generation and is constantly searching for a partner to turn over lands to. We have an obligation to settle the land and yet we continue the Sin of the Spies. Even in the generation of the desert this was the biggest sin.

As a manifestation of the weaknesses that appear in the various circles within our nation, we see laws that attempt to strike against the Torah and the land. Some of our own are trying to erase our Jewish Identity, the key to our survival for the 2000 years we spent in exile. Am Yisrael has the unique quality of our faith and the Torah, so how is it possible that we should come to our land and try to blur the nature of our people?! For instance, how is it possible that there should be legislation against keeping Shabbat, with public transportation?! Or to join to our nation people who are not really Jewish, with the law regarding conversion to Judaism.

Is it for this that the Jews suffered for 2000 in the diaspora? To come home to our land and have our identity obscured? 

In Bilaam’s prophecy it says "From the top of the rocks I see him..." and the pasuk is interpreted to mean that if this nation maintains its culture and uniqueness - it will grow physically and spiritually stronger, but if it does not then the other nations will overcome it. The land of Israel belongs only to Am Yisrael, we must stop this so-called "peace process" and stop giving away regions. So long as Am Yisrael does not understand its destiny among the nations, G-d forbid, we are prone to much suffering of this sort.

I fear that the situation might only get worse as far as the other nations are concerned; the suffering we are going through is a result of weakness of our nation regarding Jewish life and regarding the land of Israel. 

We must strengthen ourselves in these matters, strengthen our leadership, in interpersonal relations, and regarding laws, not to legislate rules that harm the uniqueness of Am Yisrael. We are, first of all a Jewish state and only then a democratic one.

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