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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Do you want be the next Israeli ambassador to Canada?

Daf Yomi Kesubos 112
Israel has been fighting to defend its international legitimacy since its inception.  A number of years ago, however, the focus of Israel advocacy switched from playing defense against the onslaught of anti-Semitic accusations to highlighting all the wonderful achievements of the State of Israel.   Israel is a beautiful tourist destination, the state provides equal rights for all, it is a leader in science, technology and medicine, and boasts a number of the world’s top universities and hospitals.

Rabbi Chanina would repair the roads in the Land of Israel.  He loved the country and did not want people to speak ill of its roads.   When Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi were teaching and it became too hot, they would pick up and leave the sunny area and move to the shade.   And when it got cold, they would leave the shady area and sit in the sun, so that no student would ever complain about dwelling in the Land of Israel.

There’s hardly a Jew today who does not appreciate the great blessing of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.  Even those in the non-Zionist religious camp understand that the magnitude of Torah learning today is unparalleled throughout most of the history of our people.  And that may be counted as one of the major successes of the State of Israel.

But as Rabbi Chanina makes clear, it’s not enough to just support the yeshivas in Israel.  Without the physical infrastructure – roads, airports, parks – Israel wouldn’t operate as efficiently as it does.  Israel is a modern miracle, spiritually and physically, and we must be prepared to support and highlight all of its achievements.  That means donating to JNF and UJA, and investing in Israel Bonds!

What’s more, it’s clear that Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi were similarly concerned that people speak and feel positively about Israel.  The country has some pretty warm weather and at times it can get chilly as well, but they worked hard to ensure the students would go home with a good report.  It’s not hard to view even the most beautiful land in an unkind light – that was the sin of the spies.  Our job is to present Israel in the very best light possible.

The Talmud enjoins us to be part of Israel’s marketing team.  Wherever you are, you should be an advocate for the Jewish state, singing its praises in every facet of its existence, from the spiritual to the physical to the material to the cultural.  May you become an unofficial ambassador for the holiest land in the world!  

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