A Jew in context

I’m starting my blog with this post because to me it represents a lot of why we made aliyah and puts life here into perspective for me.

Shabbat Parshat Lech-Lecha.  We spend Shabbat with friends in Ginot Shomron. Friday afternoon our host takes us out to his backyard overlooking beautiful lush green hills and shows us a brown path, a wadi,  between two  of the hills — the border between the land belonging to the tribes of Ephraim and Menashe. Wow! Just like in the Tanach.  This is real.

Shabbat morning I sit in shul and listen to the ba’al koreh read the parsha – “Vayera Hashem el Avram vayomer, l’zaracha etayn et ha’aretz hazot.” – “Hashem appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” (trans. – Artscroll Stone edition.) Well, I said to myself, I’m Avram’s offspring and this land that I’m now living in is the land that Hashem bequeathed to me through Avram.

I’ve lived all my life with the Torah and with the knowledge that Eretz Yisrael is ours. But a lot of it’s been kind of esoteric – you know it exists, but it’s kind of not totally relevant to your life. Well, here it is.

Here I am living in the place that Hashem gave us, where most of the events of the Tanach have taken place, where all of the mitzvot are (or will again become) relevant. This is the place that Hashem handpicked for us and I’m privileged to be living here.

(This reminds me of one of the Megama Duo’s songs (for those of us who remember them) which included the words “it’s coming alive from the Bible…”)

To be sure, it’s sometimes hard to remember this on a day-to-day basis when I have to go about establishing our physical lives here and built-up cities are hard to relate to in terms of the Torah, but it is something that I am trying to keep with me as much as I can, because, after all, Eretz Yisrael is the context for my life as a Jew.


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