(photo credit: JP)
Walk the walk
Sir, – Kudos to Gil Troy (“How can Jews be ‘Orthodox’ without
living in Israel?,” Center Field, April 27).
It has long amazed me that
we, as Orthodox Jews, have agonized over making sure that there is not a thread
of linen woven into a wool suit, that on Pessah we eat a small piece of matza
called a k’zayit or that we don’t pick out kernels of corn on Shabbat lest we be
accused of being a borer (one who is selective).
How can it be that
aliya, a mitzva mentioned no fewer than 85 times in the Torah, is relegated to
non-existence by so many otherwise observant Jews? ZE’EV M SHANDALOV
The writer is a rabbi
Sir, – Gil Troy raises what appears to be a simple,
obvious question. After all, aren’t God, Torah, the Jewish people and the Land
of Israel bound up with one another according to the simplest understanding of
the weekly Torah reading? Regardless of whether or not there is a halachic
imperative to make aliya before the Messiah appears, the obvious intent of the
biblical text is that, according to Orthodoxy, it is God’s will that the Jewish
people leave their native land, come to Israel, dwell in Israel, perform mitzvot
in Israel and become inculcated into a holy nation, God’s chosen
Whereas a halachic Jew is permitted to leave the Land of Israel
if he is in need of a job, shiduch or special Torah study program, most Orthodox
Jews abroad prefer only to retire or be buried in the Land of Israel rather than
live active lives here.
Truth be told, unless a person has an important
position in a Diaspora Jewish community or an immediate care-taking requirement,
he or she is basically choosing comfort, culture, financial endeavors and
convenience over an Orthodox religious imperative.
Sir, – I once heard of a custom in Eastern Europe, at a time when Jews
could only dream of ever coming to Israel, that an announcement of the location
of a forthcoming wedding would conclude with: “However, if the Messiah arrives
before then, it will be held in the holy city of Jerusalem.”
test for sincerity of the answers people give to Gil Troy’s question is the
degree to which they honestly regret not being able to currently live in the
Promised Land.YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem Woeful hasbara
Sir, – April 27
letter writers Neal Gendler (“Anyone Listening”) and John Katten (“Show Them
Hospitals”) both address what has been a serious failure for what seems like
forever in our beleaguered country.
What is the problem? Is it arrogance
on the part of those entrusted with telling our story? That they know best? Why
cannot we, the public, effect a change in what is either done or not done on our
behalf? There can be nothing worse than feeling helpless in the face of
ineffective and often counter-productive practice in our public relations
processes.SHEBA F. SKIRBALL
Jerusalem McCain’s in favor
Sir, – The
options available to American voters in November 2008 were basically limited to
Barack Obama and John McCain.
The significance of this is relevant to
Glick’s latest excoriation of the current US president
(“Obama’s altruistic foreign policy,” Column One, April 22).
Obama to task this time for supporting the “al-Qaida-penetrated anti-regime
forces in Libya.”
It is unfortunate but typically disingenuous of Glick
that in her near-2,000- word screed she does not inform her readers that while
Obama did join the NATO-backed opposition to Muammar Gaddafi, it is McCain who
is Washington’s most passionate proponent of the initiative. He defended Obama
by saying he could not wait for Congress to take even a few days to debate the
use of force.