Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Metzora
To dedicate this lesson

Between Pesach and Atzma’ut


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Iyar 1 5777
Shalom, dear friends. My name is Yechezkel. You may have heard of me: I’m a Prophet with my very own book in Tanach. I try not to show off or brag – in fact, my name is only mentioned one time in all of the 48 chapters of my book! I do however, have some very vivid and dramatic prophecies that have become quite world-famous.

First, there is the Merkava, the original Chariot of Fire. I can’t tell you exactly what it means - that’s a secret and even I am not 100% sure! – but it’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before – outside of a science fiction movie. And then there is the Valley of the Dry Bones; that’s also pretty spectacular; all the bodies rising out of their graves and coming back to life and marching to the Holy Land.

But I want to talk to you about another amazing prophecy that is quite near and dear to me - and very topical for today. You see, Pesach is behind us and we are now headed towards Shavuot and MatanTorah. In classical terms, it is a day-to-day progression from physical to spiritual liberation.

But there is another stop along this journey, and that is Yom Ha’Atzmaut, which is the subject of a prophecy equally dramatic. I speak of the day when a great miracle will occur (36:3); when the Jewish People will return to Israel from all the far-flung places of their exile. They will re-inhabit the desolate land and rebuild their homes in place of the ruins. And they will make the land bloom again, so much so that people from all over will say,

"This place – once desolate and sparse – is a veritable Garden of Eden! Its cities are amazingly built, teeming with new life!"

I said that so very long ago, but can you believe it’s now coming true, in front of your very own eyes?!

And so I’m reminded of what my teacher and mentor Yirmiyahu said (23-8): "The day will come when we will praise G-d not as ‘the G-d who brought us out of Egypt,’ but rather as ‘the G-d who returned us to our own Land.’ "

I am in awe of all the Jews who made this happen! Remember that when G-d took the Israelites out of Egypt, He led them in a round-about way, avoiding the Plishtim, because we weren’t ready for war. But the Jews who came out of the Shoa went straight from the death camps to the battlefield! They faced Paro’s very descendants – this time using tanks rather than chariots – but they didn’t panic; they jumped right into the fight, like Nachshon!

The Merkava, the Dry Bones, the Splitting of the Sea, the Manna – they all were pretty impressive miracles, to be sure. But the return of Am Yisrael to Eretz Yisrael, Israel’s victories in six wars, the flourishing of Medinat Yisrael – these are miracles that outshine them all. And that is why I will be proudly waving my blue and white flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut.
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