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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Re'e

Parshat Re’ay

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Two good friends of mine, Yishai and Ezra, co-founders of KUMAH, have been known to say, "Aliyah is not the goal, it’s the starting point."

For those of us who have chosen to make Aliyah, we naturally feel a sense of accomplishment. However, Aliyah is just step one - and that’s exactly what Parshat Re’ay is telling us.

In this week’s Parsha, there are no longer discussions about whether Israel is the right place for the Jewish people - we’re past that, and the Parsha reflects that reality. "For you are crossing the Jordan to come and possess the land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you; you shall possess it and you shall settle it."

With this out of the way, the Parsha addresses why it is so important for the Jewish people to be in Israel. "Only at the place that Hashem, your G-d, will choose from among all of your tribes to place His name there, shall you seek out His presence and come there."

The Torah is, of course, referring to the Beit HaMikdash, the permanent resting place of G-d’s presence in this world, and the spiritual, cultural, religious and political center of the Jewish people.

There are many reasons to live in Israel. It’s nice, in December, to see Chanukiyot instead of Christmas trees, and to hear people speaking Hebrew, Lashon HaKodesh, everywhere one goes.

However, the Torah is telling us that there is a fundamental reason for living in Israel, more important than simply being part of the majority culture. Only in the Land of Israel is the destiny and future of the Jewish people being played out, and only those living here have the ability to take an active role in making it happen.

It’s time to get off the sidelines, and start becoming relevant to the Jewish future!
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