16 November 2009

Bookstore browsing turns up the strangest things

I picked up a small book that purported to present the writings of a famous rav from years past regarding the days prior to Mashiach. It was very disappointing. I glanced through it and saw a reference to the "three oaths" that we dare not violate by forcing our way back into the Land of Israel. I briefly scanned a few paragraphs about the evil Zionist entity and then was struck by the following statement: "We survived two thousand years of exile without the Land of Israel, but we wouldn't have survived ten years without the Torah."

First I wondered why he chose to see the Torah and the Land of Israel as mutually exclusive. I mean it's not as if being in the Land of Israel means we have to give up the Torah. Maybe he was trying to make the case that many Jews came to Israel and gave up the Torah, but I would put those numbers up against those of the Diaspora anytime. Who is to say that they wouldn't have done the same thing in chu"l? Like there's no assimilation outside the Land of Israel?

But what really struck the deepest chord in me was the idea that we have succeeded as a people if we continue to survive against all odds. Are we not meant to do more than simply survive? Is it not our mandate to fix the world?

"...I made you for a people’s covenant, for a light to nations. (Yeshayahu 42:6)"
And isn't Eretz Yisrael the only place we can be "a light to the nations?" Despite the idea assimilated among the xian nations that we should be Jewish missionaries traveling the world and spreading the gospel of the Noahide laws, we are actually supposed to create a model society in Eretz Yisrael based upon the Torah's instructions. The nations of the world will see how desirable it is to live acording to the Torah and request our assistance to teach them how to emulate our example.

I'll tell you this, if Hashem had not willed our survival, even the Torah would not have saved us over the last two thousand years. And if Hashem had not willed it, there would be no State of Israel in existence today.