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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Va'etchanan

Parshat Va’etchanan

Galut Mentality

Dedicated to the memory of
Asher Ben Haim
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In this week’s parsha, Va’etchanan, Moshe offers a pretty depressing forecast. He says that the Jewish people will, a few generations down the road, betray their covenant with Hashem and be dispersed among the nations.
"There [in exile] you will serve gods, the handiwork of man, of wood and stone..."

Rashi hints at an obvious question. Why assume that because Jews are in exile they will automatically become idol-worshipers? He answers by citing Onkelos, who explains that when we are subservient to those who are idol-worshipers, then it is as if we are idol-worshipers ourselves.

In other words, when we are outside of Eretz Yisrael, we end up buying into the values of the host society and inflict spiritual damage to ourselves and families in ways we may not even be aware of.

Of course, being in Eretz Yisrael doesn’t guarantee immunization against the galut mentality and it’s unfortunately true that modern Israel has imported many of the worst aspects of Western culture. But that doesn’t detract from the power of simply being in Eretz Yisrael.

Reb Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, notes that Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to enter Eretz Yisrael in any circumstances, even as a bird - which certainly can’t fulfill the mitzvot connected to Eretz Yisrael. "We see that the very fact of being in a place of kedusha is something big," Reb Moshe says in Drash Moshe, "since Hashem sanctified this place, we must try to be there."

It’s impossible to ignore the times we’re living in. The so-called disengagement plan - which calls for the eviction of some 10,000 Jews from their homes, divides Israel as never before, sets a precedent for further giveaways and encourages continued Palestinian terrorism - is cause for enormous concern.

Our hope and prayer is that this Shabbat Nachamu will truly be a time of comfort and unity for Am Yisrael and that our eyes will be opened to see how all the events we are living through in this holy land are paving the way to the ultimate redemption.

This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
Aloh Na'aleh POB 4337, Jerusalem 91042
Tel: 972-2-566-1181 ext. 320 ~ Fax: 972-2-566-1186

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