Sunday, September 22, 2019

Pre-slichos kumztitz

Last night I sat in a pre-slichos kumztitz. There was a guitar and that usually means trouble. Whenever I see a guitar I know that the Zionism is close at hand. And sure enough, the rabbi went into a whole speech about the importance of living in Eretz Yisroel. He told us how he dreamed of this at a young age. He talked about having to give up materialism to do it. He seemed to think that everyone in America has a walk-in refrigerator. I don't know, maybe he lived like a king there. I didn't. The tuition payments alone soak up the income of most people I know. 

There are many idealistic people living chutz 'aretz. I know all kinds of kollel men in tiny apartments. I know Chassidic families in small homes struggling to feed their children. But this rabbi's remarks about people living chutz l'aretz were disparaging. To a rabid Zionist, these people are to be condemned because, you guessed it, they aren't living in the land. That's the most important mitzvah in the world to many Zionists. 

This is a black hat, black yarmulka rabbi. He would not call himself dati leumi. But he is dati leumi. He didn't talk about acquiring yiras shemayim before coming into Eretz Yisroel. He didn't talk about being punctilious b'mitzvos before coming into Eretz Yisroel. You have to be ready, be suitable, be on the level to come to EY.

Question: must one have a special spiritual preparation to go to Eretz Yisroel? And the an-swer is absolutely. (Yeremiah) HaNavi said,  וַתָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ וַתְּטַמְּא֣וּ אֶת־אַרְצִ֔י “You came and you defiled my land.” (Jeremiah 2:9) And therefore, it is of the most utmost importance that someone should be ready to behave, should learn how to conduct himself perfectly al pi HaTorah before he goes to Eretz Yisrael. And if he is good here, he must make a resolve to be even better there. There are no two ways about that. Well, it’s Eretz HaKodesh and it’s only for Jews who live b’kiddusah. Now if you’ll ask what about Arabs? And the answer is first of all Arabs don’t ask us any questions. And the second is an Arab we consider him just like birds. The birds that fly into Eretz Yisroel don’t have to have any kiddushah. An Arab or the gentile don’t have any tuma. They are like nothing to us. It’s like grass that grows there. But Am Yisroel they are pogem. When they do a sin, they cause great harm in the world. And therefore it’s of the utmost importance that a Jew before he goes to Eretz Yisroel, must make up his mind to be there b’kiddushah. Even just to visit. Nobody should go unless he’ll go b’kiddushah. If he takes along his wife, he must make sure that she is dressed completely properly because this is a land that vomits out the people who live there if they don’t suit her taste.  The land has to have something made to its taste. It’s אֶ֣רֶץ אֹכֶ֤לֶת יֽוֹשְׁבֶ֨יהָ֙ (Bemidbar 13:32) … Eretz Yisroel is finicky. It’s delicate. And only those people who behave properly can please the land.
Rabbi Avigdor Miller, “The Prophet Shmuel,” Tape #200 — 1:20 

Here is the order of life: first Torah, then Eretz Yisroel. If going into slichos, the rabbi talks only about the latter, then there is a problem. Don't we have teshuva to do? Isn't that the point of slichos? Maybe you want to say something about lashon hara, shmiras einayim, tznius, theft, selfishness, bitul Torah, or a 1,000 other sins. No, he talks only about living in the land. And weirdly, he did it to people who live there. It was like he was playing a tape from years ago, a speech he gave in some American city. Would have been better to say, now that you live here, be careful in mitzvos. Remember mitzvos? Does anybody remember mitzvos?

Here is how a proper rabbi talks:
It was not the land that Moses had been commanded to proclaim to his people at the outset of his mission as מורשה, as the inheritance they were to preserve (Ex. 6,8). The Law, to be translated into full reality upon that soil, was to be the true מורשה, the one true, everlasting inheritance, the one true center around which the nation and its leaders were to gather as one united community. Herein lay the goal and the destiny, the character and the significance of the people.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch "The Kehillah," Collected Writings, Vol. VI, p. 62

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