23 April 2016

The Message of the Seder Night

On Seder Night, Jewish fathers and mothers are supposed to tell their children the truth – that their future is not in Brooklyn or Brussels, but in the Land of Israel. In the same way that Hashem didn’t want us to continue living in Egypt, He doesn’t want us to continue living in Brooklyn or Brussels today. Hashem gave us the Land of Israel to live in. He took us out of Egypt and brought us to the Land which He promised to our Forefathers. He told Moses and the Jewish People, over and over, that the Torah was to be lived in the Land of Israel, not in gentile lands.

That is the message of the Seder Night. That is what we are supposed to teach our children – that we don’t belong in foreign, gentile lands. A Jew belongs in Israel.

All of this is simple and straightforward, right? You don’t have to be a genius to figure out from the Bible that Hashem wants the Jewish People, the Children of Israel, to live in the Land of Israel. It’s written there at least 500 times. That’s the whole story. It’s as simple as two plus two

Then why don’t the Jews in the Diaspora, understand? Why don’t they teach this simple message to their kids on Seder Night? Year after year, when they read the Passover story, and munch on their matzot and lettuce, don’t they sense that the Land of Israel is missing? Unfortunately, the answer is no. What could be missing? They have beautiful Pesach dinnerware, and gefilte fish until it comes out of their ears, and Passover cruises to San Juan and Hawaii. To their way of thinking, they are already free men! The Redemption is already complete! Passover is a nice historical story for the kids, but it doesn’t have any meaning today. Don’t bother them with messages. Drink the four cups and be merry!

That’s what happens when a Jew eats gefilte fish in gentile countries for nearly two-thousand years. He stops thinking like a Jew. He stops believing in the words of the Haggadah and in the words of the prayer, “Next year in Jerusalem.” For him, “Next year in Jerusalem,” becomes a slogan without meaning. The Torah turns into a list of precepts, and loses its entire national goal of building the Jewish Nation in Israel.

To a Jew who identifies with the foreign country he lives in, Judaism means keeping the other commandments, being a good person, and living a good life in Brooklyn, Brussels, or Beverly Hills. Forgotten is Hashem’s command to live in the Land of Israel. Forgotten is the commandment to establish a Jewish Kingdom in Israel with a Jewish king, and Sanhedrin, and Jewish army, and Temple.

A visit to Jerusalem – maybe. But live there? You’ve got to be out of your mind!

Readers who live in Israel will understand what I am saying. But Jews in the Diaspora will not. That’s because they live in foreign countries and identify with foreign things. That’s their exile. They aren’t free to think clearly. That’s the meaning of, “Now we are here in exile; next year may we be in the Land of Israel. Now we are slaves; next year may we be free men!”

A Jew in America thinks like an American. He thinks that America offers him everything he needs for himself and his family. He gets goosebumps when he stands up at the ballpark to sing the National Anthem. He thinks that he has already discovered the land of freedom. That’s because he lives in the spiritual and cultural darkness of America, just like the Jews lived in the darkness of Egypt until Hashem forced them to leave.

So, my dear brothers and sisters in America, and Europe, and Australia, and Mexico City, this Pesach, try something new. Teach your children the truth.



SF said...

B"H, we just made aliyah 2 weeks ago- after over 25 years of yearning. We, like many others, never had beautiful Pesach china or an over-abundance of food, and certainly never expensive Pesach vacations. That may be the reason for a select few to avoid aliyah, but for most people that I've spoken to it's elderly parents, special needs or OTD children, poverty(!) and/or enormous debt, an intractable spouse or a belief in certain "aliyah myths" (that you can't make aliyah with older children, need a certain amount of savings, etc).

Of course, the real obstacle is emunah that is not yet developed and the lack of an absolute belief that this is what H-shem wants from you! Because when you have emunah and a strong belief that H-shem wants you to make aliyah, all the above obstacles just crumble into dust.

As I was telling my friends, acquaintances and even doctors(!) of our aliyah plans, so many expressed their desire to do so as well. Only one person said they were not interested! Everyone else ( well-to-do and debt-ridden alike) either said they were jealous or told me of their own plans to do so.

I rarely comment on blog posts, but I felt strongly that I needed to do so for two reasons. Firstly, I love your blog and it's been so inspirational to me, but implying that ALL Jews who've not yet made aliyah are still in chutz la'aretz because they're enjoying their luxurious lifestyles is simply incorrect ( and please forgive me if I misunderstood, but that's what it seems like you're saying) and doesn't ring true to many of your readers from chutz la'aretz. Reading similar ideas on other blogs or in comments made me feel that the writer didn't quite have a grasp on what was really going on in the U.S. and was- frankly- a little insulting.

Secondly, IMHO, a better way to motivate people to make aliyah is to help them develop their emunah and to clearly prove to them that that's what H-shem wants from them ( the latter which you did here). Emunah is a tremendous avodah and while it's so essential, it's not easy to attain or maintain. You can't fault a person for their lack of emunah but you can help them develop it through encouragement, helping them see hashgacha pratis in their own lives and through sharing your own hashgacha pratis stories.

Again, please forgive me if I misunderstood what you wrote. I just wanted to stick up for the many friends and acquaintances still in the U.S. (and the many Jews like them) who are not staying for the above gashmius reasons and to help you understand and reach out to them better.

Wishing you a chag sameach and that we all absorb the vitamin E (Emunah!) from our matza in order to enable us to break through our barriers to do ratzon H-shem.

Neshama said...

Mazal Tov on your moving to Eretz Yisrael. The next few to five years will be challenging, but the Emes of it all is that you are settling in the historical home of the Jewish People.

Forgive me if anything I wrote was insulting; it was of course not meant that way.

There are many in Chu"l (chutz l'aretz) that want to move here but are afraid or otherwise; but there are the many who have lost the connection to Judaism and therefore do not know why moving to Israel is important. And there are the others who love the lavish lifestyle that they now enjoy and do not want to sacrifice.

Yes there are many different reasons for both viewpoints.

Again, Mazal Tov. Now, the real test of Emuna is about to begin.

אורנה ניצבת. דוד מלך ישראל חי וקיים said...

Neshama, that was beautiful same way as simple, pure truth is!
May your message reach the cold heart of every diaspora Jew and let him beat again, connect and come home!
Israel is going to be Yerushalayim and the rest of the world Israel!

GoldieZP said...

Neshama, I live in Boro Park at this present time. For the last 11 years have been davening and crying out to HaShem that I have the zchus to finally live in Eretz Hakodesh with my family. I fit in one of the categories that SF writes about in her 1st paragraph. Go to my shetel post and look again at the comment you left there. A gut moed.

Neshama said...

Oh, gosh, Goldie, I feel for you. But do know that those situations also live here in Eretz Yisrael. Not everyone, and even fewer can figure how they manage here. When it reads on paper it doesn't add up. It's only HKB"H who helps the poor to survive, and they do. People live with odd situations in BP and the same also live here. I hope to HaShem that you truly find a way . . . Daven to HKB"H to show you a way, to dissolve opposition from wherever it comes. Have you tried with Nefesh, and do not take their "no" to heart, try to go thru the Jewish Agency, they are still helping people.

Chag Kasher V'Samayach.

GoldieZP said...

My eyes are open. My davening is with kavanah. My ACTIONS show HaShem my desire. I have a wall right now. It is best I don't say more. But suffice it to say I am on the same page as your thoughts but perhaps that is one of my problem. That is seeing my brothers cluless because they do not see the signs because they do not have internet in their homes. They keep the tumah away.

Goldie ZP said...

But you don't have the situation that a spouse is not wanting to go.

אורנה ניצבת. דוד מלך ישראל חי וקיים said...

Goldie metuka,
You don't know...
Even in mitzrayim there where husbands or wifes that did not wanted to be part of the Seder and died, or refused to go.

I waited more then 20 years, every day.
Hashem got mercy on me and my children.
He did not let me give up!
People are scared of changes.
You have to see what is important.
Make priorities.
For me it was die inside and give up, or go.
You are not alone.
If there is desire, that means Hashem, that is in you, is calling you home to save you. Become His warrior of Light, that is inside you, to bring it home.
That is right now the only mission of every true Jew that is still outside!
Ask for solutions.
Your NESHAMA, part of Hashem is right now out there in great danger.
Bring it back.
So everyone else.

Orna Nitzevet

אורנה ניצבת. דוד מלך ישראל חי וקיים said...

Neshama, an excellent article from the blog falafel on the rye, of an excellent writer, teacher with dear family and wife.
(you can see the work of a real tzadik on the happiness of his wife).
Every diaspora Jew should read his work, to finally wake up.
Thank you!

Orna Nitzevet

אורנה ניצבת. דוד מלך ישראל חי וקיים said...