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Friday, 16 October 2015

How to kiss the ground at the new Ben Gurion

Daf Yomi Nazir 55

If you get into a cab in Israel and ask them to take you to the airport in Tel Aviv, they’ll look at you funny.
“There’s no airport in Tel Aviv!” says the cabbie.
“Oh, my ticket here says Tel Aviv International Airport.”
“Oh, that’s in Lod.”

The international community thinks the airport is in Tel Aviv, Israelis say that their airport is in Lod.  But there’s now a movement of Kfar Truman residents (about five minutes outside the airport) who are contesting the Lod association.  You see, the airport is nowhere near Lod!  The nearest town is their tiny little Kfar Truman.  They want the airport renamed from Ben Gurion to Truman airport!

Like most airports, TLV has undergone major renovations and improvements over the last number of years.  Back in the day, you would deplane onto the runway and walk to the terminal.  Nowadays, the airport has fully modernized and you walk straight off the plane into the terminal.  It’s wonderful!

The only problem that people complain about, however, is our inability to do the age-old custom of kissing the ground of the Holy Land.  Back in the day, you would get off the plane, walk down the stairs and immediately bend down and give the ground a huge kiss to demonstrate your love for the Holy Land.  But nowadays, when do you do it?  In the terminal?  Looks a little weird, right?

One who enters the diaspora in a box, trunk, or closet, Rebbe says he is impure and Rabbi Yossi the son of Rabbi Yehuda says he is pure.   Let us suggest the following reason: Rebbe maintains that the airspace determines the purity while Rabbi Yossi the son of Rabbi Yehuda maintains that the land determines the purity.
Tosfos explains: If the earth is the determinant and one is in a box not touching the ground, he would remain pure.

For thousands of years, people learned this law about crossing the border between Israel and the diaspora in a box and thought, ‘That’s ridiculous, who travels in a trunk that doesn’t touch the ground?  What is this, some kind of illegal immigrant smuggling operation?’  And there were those who scoffed at the rabbis of the Talmud for making such preposterous suggestions, so out of touch with reality.

But just like the Tanach that prophesied that we would return to Israel ‘on eagles’ wings,’ our Sages were Divinely inspired with the apparition of a tube that could carry a person to the Holy Land through the air, without ever crossing the earth as it entered!   Rebbe saw this possibility and declared that ‘airspace determines purity.’   As soon as you enter the airspace of the Holy Land, you enter an elevated state of purity.  In fact, elsewhere our Sages teach that ‘the air of the Land of Israel makes one smart!’  Clearly, it’s not just the Holy Land, it’s even the Holy Air!

And so the question of kissing the ground in Israel is a moot point.  In olden times, when they arrived via the ground, that’s what they kissed.  Today, as soon as your plane flies into Israeli airspace, you can blow a kiss, because the air around you is holy! 

Sadly, we find ourselves in trying times in the Holy Land.  Now, more than ever, Israel needs not only our prayers, but our visits and demonstrations of support, not just in the air, but on the ground.  If you’ve been putting off visiting Israel, book your ticket today.  Kisses come from love, love means dedication and dedication means being there for your loved ones. 

Every time you enter the Holy Air, you become purified and elevated.  May you merit being there regularly, especially during times of need until you are blessed to spend every moment in Israel!  

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