I don’t agree with many of the choices made by our government’s officials. I don’t grasp the goals of many of the choices made by our rabbis, either. I do know, however, that Israel is the vortex of the Shechina and is the best place from which to herald the arrival of Mashiach. I pray to continue to wait for him here.
Years ago, before my family made aliya, my deepest understanding of this Holy Land was one of submerged and erupted mountains and of an embittered history. Then, as now, the amot of this unique place were hard won. Whereas Hakodosh Baruch Hu gifted Avraham with this land, it has been the histadlut of Avraham’s descendents to maintain the inheritance.Directly or surreptitiously, our ancestors created moments that foisted life-improving situations. In turn, our forbearers urged their children and grandchildren to continue to dislodge the chaos from the holiness, i.e. to carry forward the championing of our people.Yet the gallantry of persons entire leagues beyond our comprehension notwithstanding, we lost our heights. The resulting depth into which we fell was not merely an earthly depression, but was also the shakedown of our collective neshamot. In hindsight, we are fortunate to be alive today.It’s easy for me, sitting in an environmentally-regulated office, overlooking two of the main arteries into Jerusalem, or for you, cozy on your sofa or comfy chair perhaps covered by a lap blanket, to nod to our forefathers’ sacrifices and to mouth words of dedication. Regrettably, such limited efforts will not actualization our people’s dream. Rather, it remains incumbent upon us to devote and rededicate our beings, to bringing glory to the Almighty - especially during this short span that predates the sounding of the silver trumpets.We must strive to reach closer to "He-Who-Is-Incomprehendable" if only to please Him. We must not merely aspire to a life infused with Torah learning, but also to a life in which our lessons become our undertakings. We can not afford to wait for another Shmitta year or family simcha to elevate such service. We don’t have the extravagance of time. The persecutor collects the dust of even our ill-placed thoughts in order to persuade the Heavenly Court of the court’s correctness in separating us from G-d.Right now is the exact moment that we need to stop defining our wellbeing according to the fashions of larger society. If a small child can be aware that a foodstuff might be traif, that a blessing’s efficacy might have been compromised when mumbled, or that an elder, from beneath whom a bus seat was taken, might have been disrespected, then we grownups, too, can be aware of the consequences of our actions. A lone prayer, said with full intensity and focus, for example, is a celestial diamond.Sure, most of us are preoccupied with the usual concerns of health, wealth and longevity. Sure, most of us are busy creating openings for our generations. We are, nonetheless, obliged to be vigilant that each of our mentations, utterances and feats count. In Shamayim, from where the view is literally perfect, there are record books. The Boss’ troth to Avraham Avenu is written in one. Likewise, our pledge to uphold the covenant made at Mt. Sinai, is recorded. There are times, too, that journal our personal choices and places where the totality of our nation’s goings-on is weighed. Such adjudication occurs more frequently than every attosecond. Accordingly, from such heights, our “visionary deeds” might seem simplistic, while our “carelessly” executed mundanities might seem the stuff of good behavior. We could be wrong about which of our choices matters most.Skeptics laugh and wonder, aloud, why we: hold ourselves culpable for obeying traffic regulations, for remembering to wipe our feet before entering others’ home, for calling pals who missed a minyon, for celebrating our children’s mastery of the aleph bet, for speaking softly to our spouses, and for saying “hi” to neighbors we recognize, but with who we are not acquainted. We know that those operations are not trivial. In fact, our way of being, itself, might ultimately teach scoffers that paying attention to the seemingly insignificant details of our lives can be a means of bringing back the Beit HaMikdash.Look around. In North America, righteous goyim are trying to raise red heifers. In Western Europe, rabbis are fighting to maintain our right to shecht our meat. In the east, business people are foregoing comfort in order to provide assimilated travelers with heritage. Little children collect small change to reforest Eretz Israel. Pensioners gather their limited funds to purchase new Sefrai Torah. Parents write checks to pay for orphanages.Sara Schenirer, the once seamstress of Cracow, was more concerned with clothing Yiddishe souls than with garbing herself with a family. The Chafetz Chaim was focused on honesty and simplicity to the extreme that his shop was closed for more hours than it was open. A small girl, who lives in my neighborhood, stopped playing with her friends long enough to carry the bundle of an elderly passerby. Some of us are making the effort. All of us must make the effort.We live at a crucial juncture. There’s work to be done on behalf of a Greater Plan. Come home. Join in. Live the deal.