The view from Tel Azeka where David fought Goliath.
My Dear Nemesis (You Gotta Read Genesis)
I’m not sure if people understand this or not: Theodore Herzl was not the founder of Zionism. Zionism was founded after the exile from Israel 2000 years ago. Herzl organised the political aspect not the ideology.
Last year, I had the opportunity to hear a man from the Shomron council give a lecture. He asked the audience “Who was the first Zionist?”.
The entire audience answered, “Herzl”.
The man (whose name I cannot remember) pointed his finger at us and said “No. Avraham was the first Zionist. At the moment he agreed to Hashem’s command of Lech Lecha, he started Zionism”.
It was this man, his lecture and his words, that inspired me, to be the Zionist I am today. He helped me realise that Zionism is not separate from Judaism - it is a part of it. Last year, one of my friends studied a subject that included learning texts from Yechezkel and Yirmiyahu. One of her assessments was an essay about the “Triangle” - the covenant between Hashem, His people and His land.
Every religious Jew who davens 3 times a day, yearns to return to his homeland, to see Jerusalem rebuilt. When people say Zionism and Judaism are separate, they are incorrect. When people say Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism are two different things, they are incorrect. Zionism and Judaism are intrinsically connected - just like Jews are intrinsically connected to their homeland and their G-d.
This connection, this Triangle, is seen through this week’s Parsha, Achrei Mot-Kedoshim.
We are told
וְלֹא תָקִיא הָאָרֶץ אֶתְכֶם בְּטַמַּאֲכֶם אֹתָהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר קָאָה אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵיכֶם:
And let the land not vomit you out for having defiled it, as it vomited out the nation that preceded you.
The Land of Israel has a different status to all other lands in the world. Israel has a low tolerance of immorality. If Jews do not follow the Torah and keep the Mitzvot in the Land of Israel, they will be “vomited out” and exiled. This is further explained by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in a Sicha that explains Rashi’s commentary on the first verse of Genesis. He explains that the moment Bnei Yisrael conquered the Land of Israel, it was given a different status, and the land itself, as well as its inhabitant, are held to a higher standard. If they do not adhere to this higher standard of Torah and Mitzvot, they will be expelled.
Two perakim later we are told
וָאֹמַר לָכֶם אַתֶּם תִּירְשׁוּ אֶת אַדְמָתָם וַאֲנִי אֶתְּנֶנָּה לָכֶם לָרֶשֶׁת אֹתָהּ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ אֲנִי יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר הִבְדַּלְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִן הָעַמִּים
So I said to you, You shall possess their land, and I shall give it to you to possess it a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the Lord your God, Who has distinguished you from the peoples.
The juxtaposition of the two ideas in this verse, the possessing of the Land of Israel, and the fact that G-d has distinguished Israel “from the peoples” is significant. Jews are separated from other nations, through their fulfilment of the Torah and Mitzvot. Although the root ב.ד.ל is used here to denote separation, the root ק.ד.ש (from which the title of the Sidrah is derived) has the same connotation of separation, with the added meaning of ‘holy’. Only when Jews separate themselves through the practice of Torah and Mitzvot, are they holy and worthy of possessing the Land of Israel.
Today, we are lucky enough to see this Triangle being implemented in the Land of Israel. This generation has seen Israel become the world centre of Torah learning for the first time since the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. We celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut - Israel’s independence, through the Chidon Hatanach - the Bible Quiz. Newscasters remind their audience to count the Omer and the public sale of Chametz on Pesach is illegal.
May we merit, to see this Triangle implemented in its most ideal form, with the coming of Mashiach, במהרה בימנו אמן סלה.
עוד תטעי כרמים, בהרי שומרון; נטעו נוטעים, וחללו
Again shalt thou plant vinyeards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall have the use thereof"
(In honour of Tu B’shvat. Today, you can go to Samaria and see the prophecy as reality)
Happy Tu B’shvat!
Posters made by myself and the lovely vshavubanim
I’m sorry this Dvar Torah isn’t going to be as ‘deep’ or as long as usual. I’ve started school again and my schedule is WAY busier than before. However, this week I’m starting a shiur with my new chavruta (the lovely vshavubanim - if you don’t follow her, you should!) and we’ll be writing a joint Dvar Torah every week.
The main feature of this week’s Sidrah is שירת הים - the song that Moses sang when the Israelites finished crossing the Red Sea during the Exodus.
This first sentence of this song is
א. אָז יָשִׁיר מֹשֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת לַי־הֹוָ־ה וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֵאמֹר אָשִׁירָה לַי־הֹוָ־ה כִּי גָאֹה גָּאָה סוּס וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם:
1. Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and they spoke, saying, I will sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He; a horse and its rider He cast into the sea.
It is interesting to note that the word יָשִׁיר is written in the future tense and means ‘he will sing’. It is said that Moses will and the Messiah will sing another song, once the Redemption arrives.
This is significant to us, especially in the days that we are living in.
A Jewish proverb states
מעשה אבות סימן לבנים
The actions of fathers are a sign for their children
Essentially, this means that the actions and events that took place in the lives of our ancestors, will be paralleled in our own lives.
The culmination of the Exodus was the Revelation at Mt. Sinai and the Israelites’ entrance to the Land of Israel.
This will parallel to our own Redemption.
It is our duty to ensure, we learn and study as much Torah as possible and enter our eternal Homeland - make Aliyah. As we, the Jews, do this collectively, we fulfil the prophecies of the Redemption and are for sure, on the path to the Redemption.