So here's the other Israel-related pasuk (verse) I like to think of (or that I don't like to think of, but that I sometimes think of in spite of myself and my guilty conscience). It's Numbers 32:6, and it's Moshe's response to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, who have expressed a desire to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan River instead of entering the land.
Here we go:
?ויאמר משה לבני גד ולבני ראובן: האחיכם יבאו למלחמה, ואתם תשבו פה
"And Moses said to the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben: Will your brothers go to war, and you will stay here?"
The Jews are getting ready to enter the land. They've just been wandering for 40 years, for the express purpose of getting to this particular land, which has been chosen for them by God. And a group of Jews decides at that moment that the economic opportunities outside the land are better suited to their needs. And so they ask not to go. They ask to live outside the land.
And Moshe Rabbeinu responds by asking if they are just going to sit "here" - outside the land - while their brethren go to war, while their own flesh and blood fight in order to live there.
Yeah. Like I said. Hmm.
So anyhoo, those are two of my favorite - or at least my most frequently thought about - Israel-related pesukim in the Torah. The specialness of the land itself; the nature and the constancy of our interaction with God, and the role the land plays in that relationship; and the collective responsibility of the Jewish people not to sit idly by while their fellow Jews put their lives on the line.
So, happy belated Yom HaAtzmaut.
(Postscript: The Torah, follwed by the book of Joshua, goes on to describe how the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and ultimately a portion of the tribe of Menasseh as well, were indeed given territories outside the land of Israel proper, and were allowed to settle and make their livings there. But only after they first headed off the conquering army themselves, and made sure the rest of the nation was settled safely and securely into their homes. Then, and only then, were they permitted to make their permanent homes outside the land of Israel. Like I said: Hmm.)
This blog takes up a lot of my time, and I'm greatly appreciative to my wife for supporting it. When she told me to point some people who were thinking about aliya, in the direction of my blog, I knew she understood that I'm trying to push a very serious and worthwhile agenda. Granted, posting about Jewish handshakes, Elvis the drug dealer, and
Therefore, I would like to call your attention to a new intiative for the JBlogosphere: JBloggers Stand with Israel. The message is apolitical -- you can stand with Israel because this is the land of the Jews, because of political Zionism, because of Eretz Yisrael, because it's the sole democracy in the Middle East, or even if you just like my blog.
If you have a blog, go ahead and put up this graphic...
...and if you're already privledged to live here in Israel there's this:
Jews pray towards Jerusalem in prayer 3 times a day...shouldn't your blog have just a tiny bit of focus for Israel as well?
Go ahead, put the graphic on your blog's template - you'll be glad you did :)
Also advocating this initiative are Ezzie, Irina and Sarah-- read what they have to say as well (and a big thank you to Sarah for the excellent graphics work!)
Now, I'm in a quandry how to end this post. On the one hand, Israel has just started a very serious defensive operation, aimed at stopping Qassam rocket attacks and bringing home safely, Gilad ben Aviva (Shavit)...so it would be a good time to remind people to keep Israel's soldiers in their prayers.
On the other hand, I hate using guilt as a means to influence people to think about Israel or aliya, and would much rather this ends on a lighter, positive note.
So...end it yourself with whatever works for you.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael