Torah Tidbits

Staying Connected to Israel
Shabbat Parashat Va’et-chanan
Shabbat Nachamu
July 20, 2013 – 13 Av 5773

Staying Connected to Israel

Moses was truly a remarkable teacher! Even at the end of his days, when he knew that he would not be entering the Promised Land, Moses referred to the Land of Israel as “Ha-aretz ha-tovah [the good Land].” Moses had heard the report of the ten spies who warned of the difficulties associated with entering the Land. He understood that these reports reflected a portion of reality in the Land of Israel. Yet, he chose to keep that report in proportion. He chose to frame his relationship with Israel in a positive light. That is why he called the Land: “Ha-Aretz ha-tovah [the good Land].”

What a great lesson for us all today…We hear many reports of difficulties in the Land of Israel. We hear of people who would divest from Israel, who would boycott Israeli products, or who would chose to ban Israeli academics from participating in international academic endeavors. Some of the reasons given for these reactions to Israel are based on completely unfounded accusations. Some are spin-offs of some complex and difficult issues which have yet to be played out fully in the arena of Israeli life. But, Israel is a work in progress. Compared to other societies that also struggle with various security issues and with social justice issues, Israel is truly a remarkable State. As Moses referred to the Land as “the good Land”, so can we!

One remarkable example of the good things happening in Israel is the recent story published about the Valedictorian at Israel’s Top Medical School, the Techion, in Haifa. A 27 year old described in the Huffington Post’s recent blog on Religion as: “a…stereotype buster: a charming, feminist, smart, open-minded and observant Islamic woman named Mais Ali-Saleh who grew up in a small village outside of Naxareth, in Israel’s Galillee.” The Blog telling her story, appeared on July 16, 2013. I recommend that you read this story. Surely, after reading it, you too will connect with the goodness and hope that Israel represents, for the Jewish people in their Land, and for all people who live and work within her borders. Israel is a work in progress. And, thankfully, despite the work that is yet to be done before we can say that the Messianic era has truly arrived, there are many such stories to bolster our spirits and keep us connected with Israel with a sense of pride and of hope, of partnership and of mutual endeavor.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Gilah Dror