Kiddushim: Israel and our "Just Deser-vts"

Four floors below my Ben Yehuda Street window, Israelis and tourists are enjoying loud music, street performers, window shopping, felafel and hummus on pita, and otherwise having an enjoyable stroll.  I'm happy for them -- albeit I'm not so favorably disposed at midnight, 1 am, or later!  Perhaps if I were 35 years younger!

Taking my place among (mostly) Jews enjoying life in the only Jewish place was one of the main reasons I became an Israeli exactly two years ago.  It's why I spend as much time here as I can, even though doing so requires substantial sacrifice, especially precious time away from family.

One of those "sacrifices" is also a sacred obligation.  This week's Torah portion, Kiddushim, begins by G-d commanding Jews to be holy, because the Lord our G-d, is Holy.  (Leviticus 19:2). It ends by stating what will happen if we don't observe G-d's laws, of which holiness is key.  The land will "vomit (us) out!"  We Jews are thus in our land "on good behavior."

Nothing in American law or history conditions the continued presence of Americans in the U.S. Upon righteous conduct.  As Americans, we need only "preserve, protect, and defend"  the land in order to keep it.  But as Jews, we must DESERVE, protect, and defend Israel to keep it.  Deserving it may indeed be harder than defending it.  

Yet, that task makes having this land, and having my conduct be partly determinative of whether we keep it for present and future generations, that much more "holy satisfying."

Shabbat shalom from the Holy Land.  May we ever keep it such -- so that we can keep it!



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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb