Avraham and Racheli have four children. He lives in the New York City area, learns in Kollel and manages with a part-time job and his wife's babysitting. He sees that America is a terrible influence on his children, even though they live in a religious neighborhood, but he's afraid that if he comes to Israel, he won't have an income and therefore won't be able to learn. He asks me whether he should make aliya or not. Here's my 6-minute answer, which hopefully dispels a lot of the myths that are going around:
Today is Memorial Day for Israel's fallen martyrs. There are hundreds of heroes' names missing from the memorial lists; these are the names of our fallen secret service warriors, who wage battles with our enemies deep behind enemy lines. Most people, even their loved ones, don't know who they were and what they did. They foiled hijackings, destroyed and undermined our enemies' sinister plans, and were part of Hashem's long arm of revenge. Words cannot describe the danger they exposed themselves to. I wrote this in their honor; it was difficult typing with so many tears in my eyes:
After almost a year of total drought, the 50 km-long Lachish River, which runs from the Judean Hills all the way to Ashdod and the Mediterranean, was completely dried up. Right before Purim, after almost a million people gathered in Jerusalem and prayed for rain, three days of blessed rainfall graced the Land of Israel from north to south. Here's what the river looked like after the rains:
My dear friend Gamlieli from the Pri Hagefen blog asked me to address a painful subject - Jews boycotting Jews. He told me the story about the very special people at Psagot Winery, north of Jerusalem. They are known to produce some of the finest wines in Israel, and in that case, in the world. Yet, many left-leaning establishments in Tel Aviv refuse to buy and serve Psagot wine because the winery is on the other side of the so-called "Green Line", the 1967 border. As such, Psagot is being boycotted by certain Jews in Tel Aviv.
If Jews boycott Jews, then what can we expect from the nations of the world?
Hashem and the Torah tell us what the borders of Israel should be. Judea and Samaria are the heartland of the Holy Land. I have no doubt that such over-the-Green-Line companies as Psagot, Tanya and Shiloh will thrive, boycott or not. It's a tough test, but with emuna, they'll see Hashem do miracles for them. The prophet Jeremiah promised (see Ch. 31) that this area would flourish with vineyards. They're here to stay.
Tell your local wine store that if they don't start stocking Judea and Samaria wines, you'll find a store that does. My answer to the boycott will be by gracing my Shabbat table with a bottle of wine from our beloved brothers in Judea and Samaria. We pray for their success.
This has been a horrific week for the Jewish People in the Land of Israel; that is, for those who still have a semblance of sensitivity.
This past Sunday night, a gas tank exploded in the Gilo section of Jerusalem killing a lovely G-d fearing couple and their two-year-old baby.
Yesterday, the Gross family - a lovely G-d fearing family from the Givat Mordechai section of Jerusalem - lost their two daughters Avigail and Yael of blessed memory from Phosphine pesticide chemical gas poisoning. Their two sons are still fighting for their lives; let's pray for Raphael Yitzchak Isaac ben Michal and Chaim Michael Shlomo ben Michal. To the best of our knowledge, the parents too are still hospitalized, extremely sick, but out of danger.
Undoubtedly, these righteous families are public sacrifices to mitigate the mountain of stern judgments that faces us.
Let's connect the spiritual dots: Both tragedies resulted from gas. Both happened in Jerusalem, and within one week. What is Hashem telling us?
Israel has been very concerned about chemical (gas) attacks from Syria and Hizbolla. Depending on military prowess and the so-called upper hand of the IDF, our leaders think they have nothing to fear. And, rather than fighting our enemies, they have been appeasing them so terribly that they are about to carve up Jerusalem, giving King David's holy tomb to the Pope and the Temple Mount to the Fatah.
1. Hashem wants us to assess ourselves and do immediate teshuva.
2. He is showing us that it's not gas attacks from Iran, Syria and Hizbulla that was must fear, but Him.
3. Jerusalem is Hashem's - it's not for sale.
We must wake up now, before the wake-up calls get louder. I'd much rather write about how to smile, but sometimes a person needs a bucket of cold water poured on his head to wake up. Cold water is better than gas...
May we all take these two horrific tragedies to heart and pray for the spiritual awakening of our nation.
The Torah tells us that man is a tree in the field. Therefore, the New Year for trees - Tu B'Shvat, which falls today (Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014) - is our New Year too. Last night, the Brody Tu B'Shvat Seder table held 26 varieties of fresh and dried fruit to celebrate. Our salad was garnished with the best Galilee olive oil and we had Land of Israel wine from the Golan, the Galilee, Judea, Samson Valley and Samaria - the best in the world. Don't forget to pray for a good etrog today. May The Almighty grant you the sweetest of fruits, both tree fruit and fruit of the womb, amen!
There's so much to learn from the trees. Here's an example: