Friday, October 19, 2007

Go to Land which I will show you.


This week's parashat shavua, weekly Torah reading is that of "Lech Lecha" -- the following is quoted by "A Simple Jew"

Me'am Loez, Parshas Lech Lecha:
"Hashem decreed that those who live in the Holy Land suffer. They suffer because of crowding, because of the rulers of the land, because of hunger, and because of want. Few are the years when such troubles do not exist... We who live in other places, and do not merit to make aliya to Eretz Yisroel, have an obligation to help those who live in the Holy Land, so that they can live in peace. When we make it possible for them to pray, our prayers our also accepted. When we do not help them, they are persecuted by the government there."

"We must constantly keep the people who live in Eretz Yisroel in mind, since this is the place where our ancestors are buried. If Jews did not live there, the gentiles would come and dig up the ancient graves, plowing over the graves of tzaddikim who are buried there. We must also be concerned with the ancient synagogues and Torahs that are there. Since so much of our history is tied up with the Holy Land, each individual should support it to the best of his ability."
I have mixed feelings about this quote.

On one hand, I'm happy the Me'am Loez writes about the importance of living in Israel, and recognizes the merit of living here.

However, is the reason of having Eretz Yisrael "in mind" because it's where our ancestors are buried? Yes, if Jews didn't live in Hevron, we would have zero access to Me'arat HaMachpela. If Jews didn't live in Israel, then the arabs would destroy any Jewish holy site they could come across, as demonstrated by their excellent track record of destroying the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, Kever Yosef, and all the shuls of Gush Katif.

Yet what happened to living here because it's the land promised to us, the mitzvot that can only be done here, the centrality of Eretz Yisrael to Judaism?

Regardless, this is an excellent shabbat to review your commitment to thinking about Eretz Yisrael, aliya, and discussing the importance of what goes on here with your family and friends.

1. And before I sign off for the week, here's an interesting analysis of the significance of "40" to the current state of Yerushalayim (from friend of the Muqata blog, MevaseretZion)
It is forty years since God gave us the blessing of a unified Jerusalem. And it seems that, in forty years, we have squandered the miracles and blessings showered upon us before the eyes of the world in the Six Day War. Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, is ready to hand over parts of Jerusalem to the arabs who have never ceased to call for our destruction.

We have tried everything that has been suggested. Land for Peace is a proven farce, and unilateral withdrawl brings our enemies closer than ever with more sophisticated weapons that they bring across their open border with Egypt. Israel suffers from a lack of enthusiasm because its citizens know that what they fight for heroically today will be seen as oppression and conquest tomorrow. Without Torah, zionism cannot survive, and we witness the pathetic crumbling of secular zionism with politicians who are willing to trade Israel's very security for a smile and handshake from US presidents and Arab terrorists.

And now, we come to the lowest point: The most obvious miracle performed in 2000 years, the return of the Jews to Jerusalem and to the Temple Mount, is turned into a trading card. The splendor and spiritual meaning of our redemption of our holiest place is lost in Olmert's desire for international approval. And the nation sits desolate, in apathy and shame.

Read the rest here.
2. Mazal Tov to Rafi (Lifeinisrael) and Mrs. G on the birth of a daughter. He also has a good (but depressing) post about how the Chareidim are destroying the Israeli Rabbinate.

3. Mother in Israel has a great shmita post about a trip to her Shmita produce store (with pictures). Our's is similar, but we don't have yevul nachri (everything is Jewish-grown produce)

4. Lastly, here's a great picture that describes the service at a local restaurant...



Shabbat Shalom,

Jameel & co.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

26 comments:

Lurker said...

The Me'am Lo'ez, in the passage you quoted, is espousing the popular galus viewpoint that living in Eretz Yisrael is not particularly critical. He sees Eretz Yisrael as little more than a national graveyard -- a view shared by many galus Jews to this day.

It should be remembered that the Me'am Lo'ez was written for am'aratzim, not talmedei hakhamim (see the introduction, where the author explains that his target audience was people who couldn't read Hebrew and never learned Torah). And as DovBear is fond of pointing out, the Me'am Lo'ez is known for saying various things that are problemmatic and wrong, and we ought not to be reticent about saying so.

A Simple Jew said...

Lurker: Well, I guess I am one am ha'aretz who still holds the Me'am Lo'ez to be precious.

Anonymous said...

Who made the mechutzaf Dov Bear and authority. All he does is say motzei shem ah. What a chutzpah to think he can even argue on the great people that wrote Meam Loez starting with Rav Yakov Culi zt'l. Do you want to join the like of DB who diparage everything sacred claiming I know the right way. Vehu Rachum Yechaper....

Rafi G said...

local restaurant? which one? to me it looks like one in America... the condiments all look American...

Anonymous said...

May there be many more "Amei Ha'aretz" in Klal Yisrael like "A Simple Jew" and no more "non Amei Ha'aretz" in Klal Yisrael with attitudes like "Lurker" and his ilk. Amen!

Lurker said...

My, my, I'm touched to see all this pride in am aratuzut. For those who've forgotten (or don't know), here's a sample of what Haza"l thought about amei ha'aretz (from TB Pesahim 49b):

R. Elazar said: "It is permitted to stab an am ha'aretz even on a Yom Kippur that falls out on Shabbat." His students said to him: "Master, [why don't you] say 'to shecht him'?" He replied: "This [shechita] requires a bracha, but that [stabbing] does not require a bracha [and an am ha'aretz doesn't even deserve a bracha]".

R. Elazar said: "One must not join company with an am ha'aretz on the road, because it is says 'for [the Torah] is your life, and the length of your days' [Devarim 30:20]: [An am ha'aretz] has no care for his own life [seeing that he doesn't learn Torah], how much more so for the life of his companions!" [I.e., you can't trust him that he won't attack you.]

R. Shmuel b. Nahmani said in R. Yohanan's name: "One may rip an am ha'aretz like a fish." Said R. Shmuel b. Yitzhak: "And [this means to rip him] along his back."

But if you guys think being an am ha'aretz is cool, then hey -- don't let me (or Haza"l) stand in your way...

To Anonymous @ 7:24: There's no need to rely on DovBear for criticism of the racist idea perpetrated by the Me'am Lo'ez regarding all black people being cursed. Already 700 years earlier, the Ibn Ezra ridiculed people who made this claim as being ignorant (Ibn Ezra, Bereishit 9:25). (Note that this didn't stop the Me'am Lo'ez from regurgitating the idea anyway.) Or do you also regard the Ibn Ezra as a "mechutzaf" who is "motzei shem ah" [sic]?

mother in israel said...

I don't know how that celery slipped in there. I went again yesterday and the celery had kedushat shviit. Didn't see any yevul nochri. Watch out, it could happen at your local makolet too. Even in the Shomron.

elchonon said...

Lurker,
Bush v'cherpa on you, typical misnagdishe sinas chinam for which the beit hamikdash was destroyed and why we are in galut.

Your arrogant hatefull additude wipes all your torah learning away!

What did hillel say ? dont do unto others (ahavat yisrael) and the rest is just perush..

There is no torah without ahavat yisrael as it says by the jews when they recieved the torah "vayichan sham yisrael" rashi asks why singular ? as they were am echad b'lev echad.

Why does shema consist of "havaya echad" and not yachid ?

Because hashem (havaya) is only obe when yisrael is one (yisrael v'kudsha brich hu chad)

Take your hatefull comments elsewhere, i'll have you know that my father is buki in all of rambam, tanach, shulchan aruch, chasidus and more and learns me'am loaz...

Who are you to attack a tzadik from a bygone generation who wrote a 30? volume peresh and is quoted by everyone...

Who are you to talk lashon harah and incite hate?

So you dare call the me'am loaz racist for quoting the pasuk when hashem cursed cham? your racist for cursing "am haaretz"

Lurker said...

elchonon: ...typical misnagdishe sinas chinam...

*snicker*, *guffaw*. I think that statement speaks entirely for itself. No comment needed...

elchonon: Your arrogant hatefull additude wipes all your torah learning away!

Undoubtedly. Whereas your arrogant hateful "additude" [sic] toward all misnagdim positively glorifies and magnifies your own Torah learning.

elchonon: Why does shema consist of "havaya echad" and not yachid ?
Because hashem (havaya) is only obe when yisrael is one (yisrael v'kudsha brich hu chad)


That's all of Yisrael except for those stinking misnagdim, right?

elchonon: Who are you to attack a tzadik from a bygone generation who wrote a 30? volume peresh and is quoted by everyone...

You should educate yourself a bit. R. Yaakov Culi (the one we're talking about) wrote only the volumes on Bereishit and part of Shemot. The rest were written decades later by others.

elchonon: Who are you to talk lashon harah and incite hate?

The one who incited hate was R. Culi, when he promulgated a baseless canard -- which had already been refuted by the Ibn Ezra (Bereishit 9:25) as being wrong and based on ignorance -- that promoted the hatred of an entire third of the human race, which was created b'tzelem Elokim. I did nothing more than make note of this fact.

elchonon: So you dare call the me'am loaz racist for quoting the pasuk when hashem cursed cham?

Your question is so chock full of ignorance, that I'm not even sure where to begin:

* Hashem didn't curse anyone; Noah did (Bereishit 9:24-25).

* Ham wasn't the one cursed; Canaan was (ibid).

* No, the Me'am Lo'ez was not racist for quoting a pasuk; but rather for promulgating a canard that was already demonstrated to be pure nonsense by the Ibn Ezra. Since this racist canard is not in the posuk, and is not a valid interpretation of the posuk, the racism belongs solely to R. Culi.

elchonon said...

lurker,
The am haaretz was not created b'tzelem elokim? I have absolutely no hate or disliking to any jews based on their derech.. I may be against the derech but them.. that is unless it is hatefull to fellow jews.

You are the one bringing up gemara passages talking about stabing(!) a am haaretz on yom kipur.

That comment was out of place and uncalled for!

Who are you to judge any jew and his level of learning.. there are those (most poskim) that hold that most of what you do is bitul torah (blogging included)

A worker is only required to learn "perek echad shacharit, perek echad arvit" wheras he talmud chacham who is mevatel his learning just 1 bit mavie alav chet..

I dont wish to judge you and any other jews, I try to dan l'chaf zchut..

I am guilty of bitul torah as much as the next guy and even more so considering I have a near photographic memory have forgotten so much torah

(not to brag but the late bobover rebbe, rav shalom zt'l tested me on mishnayos pesachim baal peh when I was 8 and had nothing but praise)

So I am guilty of forgetting torah and not learning and being a am haaretz.

Regardless of any views you may have your not in position to judge others.

I cant remember where, but I learnt that hashem values the tefilot of the simple jews higher than the greatest tzadikim...

Tefilah is from the heart, ahavat hashem is from the heart, emunah is from the soul.. better to be a mentch than a talmud chacham.

And finally, as long as your not on the ibm ezra's madrega, please refrain from attacking a tzadik like rav yaakov culi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaakov_Culi

Lurker said...

elchonon: You are the one bringing up gemara passages talking about stabing(!) a am haaretz on yom kipur.
That comment was out of place and uncalled for!


In your earlier comment, you wrote, "So you dare call the me'am loaz racist for quoting the pasuk when hashem cursed cham?" Apart from the the fact that you don't understand that posuk, I can reply similarly here: So you dare call me hateful for quoting the Gemara where Haza"l talk about stabbing an am ha'aretz?

More to the issue, though: You have completely missed my point. The impetus for my quote of that Gemara was certainly not to suggest that anyone go out and stab an am ha'aretz, chas v'shalom. Rather, it was in reaction to the following lame comments that praised am aratzut:

A Simple Jew: Well, I guess I am one am ha'aretz who still holds the Me'am Lo'ez to be precious.

Anonymous (10:12): May there be many more "Amei Ha'aretz" in Klal Yisrael like "A Simple Jew" and no more "non Amei Ha'aretz" in Klal Yisrael with attitudes like "Lurker" and his ilk. Amen!

In response to this bizarre celebration and encouragement of am aratzut, I cited the Gemara in Pesahim to remind people of the highly negative regard in which Haza"l hold amei ha'aratz -- and to suggest, by obvious implication, that am aratzut might not be something people should take pride in or promote.

In fact, I went out of my way to emphasize that I wasn't trying to deny anybody's right to be an am ha'aretz if that's what he really wants:

Me: But if you guys think being an am ha'aretz is cool, then hey -- don't let me (or Haza"l) stand in your way...

elchonon: Regardless of any views you may have your not in position to judge others.

I'm not judging others. I'm just suggesting that people not turn am aratzut into a character trait to be praised and emulated.

I have nothing personal against amei ha'aretz, just as I have nothing personal against blind people. But I do recognize blindness as a handicap, and I would criticize anyone who wanted to promote the spread of blindness.

elchonon: Tefilah is from the heart, ahavat hashem is from the heart, emunah is from the soul.. better to be a mentch than a talmud chacham.

On this point, I agree with you 100%.

elchonon: And finally, as long as your not on the ibm ezra's madrega, please refrain from attacking a tzadik like rav yaakov culi.

I did not attack R. Culi. I criticized something that he wrote, which is not at all the same thing. Blind racism is something that must be criticized, precisely because it leads to the very sinat hinam of which you spoke.

And in case you (or anyone else) are one of those people who misguidedly believe that bigotry of the sort promoted by R. Culi is OK, because it's only against goyim -- know this: Racist hatred contaminates one's mind completely, and Jews who adopt racist attitudes against non-Jews inevitably become racist against their fellow Jews as well. That's what leads to hilulei HaShem such as this one pointed out by Jameel just last week.

elchonon said...

Wait, the only reason I attacked your quoting of the gemara's passage on am haratzim is because you had attacked rav culi as being racist..

A simple jew was merely responding to your statement that meam loaz was written for am haaratzim.. thereby he called jimself a am haaretz seeing as he and most jews study meam loaz.

Lurker said...

elchonon: Wait, the only reason I attacked your quoting of the gemara's passage on am haratzim is because you had attacked rav culi as being racist..

Uh-huh.

Now go back and re-read that sentence over a couple of times, slowly.

Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it?

Anonymous said...

lurker- I think you got excited for nothing. I think they were trying to say that a so called "am haaretz" like ASJ is no am haaretz. If you read his blog you see he is guy with a serious desire to learn Torah. Anam haaretz is someone with no desire to learn more. A learned person can also be an am haaretz. BTW, the Meam Loez doesn't say he wrote it for am haratzim only that he wrote it for everyone to read. I think we should all have a bit more Ahavat Yisrael - we'e in it together. Shalom.

yehudis g. said...

Just want to point out something relevant that everyone else seems to have ignored. Until fairly recently (I mean from the first aliyos of the talmidei Baal Shem Tov and the Gaon), the idea of actually coming to the Land to live instead of to die in righteousness was almost unheard of. This was the great chiddush of the first aliyos; to revive the idea of living in the Land as a precursor to the geulah. This is seen most clearly in the tradition of the talmidei HaGra, as recorded in the Kol HaTor (yes, I know that not everyone respects this sefer).
So why so many ad hominems about the Me'am Lo'ez? There was no infrastructure, no agriculture, no industry... How were people to live here? Even after the establishment of Petach Tikvah as a means of moving away from the chalukah, the process was not smooth. The chalukah didn't only exist because of Torah study; it existed because there was almost no way to make a living in the Land. The words of the Me'am Lo'ez just reflect the prevalent reality of almost 2,000 years' duration: the exceptionally righteous would come to the Land as a way of casting off the impurities of this world to prepare for their journey to the next. Tzaddikim came here to serve G-d, learn Torah, and die in purity. That's all.

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