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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach D'varim

Parshat Devarim

Rabbi Harry GreenspanTammuz 21 5757
3120
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The book of Devarim consists of the final words of Moshe Rabbeinu to the people of Israel. Thirty-seven days before his death, he delivers his charge to a nation about to enter Eretz Israel. This coming week we bridge the gap, so to speak, between Shabbat Chazon, reliving the destruction of the Beit ha-Mikdash, and Shabbat Nachamu, its consolation and reconstruction.

Rav S.Y. Zevin tells of a tzaddik known as the Bat Ayin who was the rabbi of a city in Russia. A meshulach from Eretz Israel came and described the beauty and majesty of the Land. In summation, he said, "Rebbe, what more can I say; the simple stones of Israel are mamash yahalomim (truly diamonds)." Very inspired, the Rebbe decided to make aliyah. After much travail and effort, he arrived in Tzfat and was immediately recognized as a a rabbinic leader and tzaddik.

Years later, the Rebbe met the meshulach and thanked him profusely. "I see with my own eyes that your praises of the Land are true, except what you said about the stones being diamonds." The meshulach's response: "Nu, when one is zocheh, one sees." Taken aback and quite agitated, the Rebbe ran home, locked himself in his study, and did not emerge for several weeks. Finally, in a state of great joy, he came out and requested that a banquet be prepared. At the feast, the Bat Ayin retold the events precipitating his aliyah and his recent reencounter with the meshulach: "I am certain," he said, "that this was a message from above that I had not yet been zocheh to a true appreciation of our Holy Land! I fasted and implored God to open my eyes. Today, I can finally say, in truth, that I see the simple stones of Israel as diamonds!" The holy stones already exist. We merely need the eyes to appreciate them!

The Talmud relates: "All who mourn over Jerusalem will merit and see its rejoicing." Rav Kook asks: Why isn't it sufficient to say he will "see" its rejoicing? He explains that many people will one day see Jerusalem in its glory, but only those with the "eyes" and special merit will experience and appreciate its splendor!

In these past ten months, I have merited to see the holiness of Eretz Israel in four ways. My davening and learning have been enhanced and intensified with a "booster shot" of spiritual vitamins. The chesed performed by "regular" people leaves me speechless. And, finally, the range of skin tones, languages, cultures, and hashkafot leave me breathless! May we all merit quickly to see the diamond inside every stone of our Land and in every Jew!



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