As we head into Tisha B’Av, here’s yet another “antidote to the meraglim (the Spies)” post – i.e. a discussion of that which makes life in our beautiful Land so incredibly special.
Previous antidote to the meraglim posts include:
Our Sages taught that the Second Beit HaMikdash was destroyed due to sinat chinam (generally translated as “gratuitous hatred”).
Thus, what better way to counteract this terrible tendency (which, sadly, continues to rear its ugly head) than by showing how tightly intertwined we all are here in Israel.
After all, Israel is such a tiny country that not only is it nearly impossible to go anywhere without bumping into at least one acquaintance, but as every well-played round of Jewish geography (a favorite national pastime) inevitably reveals, Israelis of every stripe are - at most – separated by a couple of degrees of separation.
But what’s most amazing to me – even after all these years – is how closely connected the average, run-of-the-mill Israeli (as if such a person actually exists…) is to the country’s biggest names in politics, the IDF, academia, business, law, medicine, the rabbinate, high tech, journalism, entertainment, and any other field you could possibly imagine.
I mean, between the Shiputzim family and our immediate relatives, we’re personally acquainted with at least half a dozen past and present MKs and governmental ministers.
In addition, we’re on a first name basis with any number of noted judges, CEOs of major corporations, presidents of prestigious institutions of higher learning, top military brass, famous writers, internationally-renowned doctors, important rabbis, leading scientists, etc.
The world may think of them as the country’s movers and shakers, but as far as most Israelis are concerned, they are “regular” people, who live in our communities, daven in our shuls, send their kids to the same schools as our kids, serve in the same army units as our husbands and sons, shop in the same stores as we do, and wait in the same lines at the kupat cholim (medical clinic).
The list goes on and on, but here are two quick examples:
1) Not long after the CTO started basic training, we discovered that one of the senior commanders of his entire branch of the military lives just around the corner from us, and his children go to school with some of the Shiputzim kids.
2) A few years ago, both a Shiputzim daughter and a friend got sick while at the machaneh. Fortunately, another girl from their snif (chapter) arrived that day, and her father, who brought her to the machaneh, kindly offered to drive the two sick girls home. Which wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy, of course, except that the father in question happens to be the highly-respected rosh yeshiva of one of the country’s top hesder yeshivot…
May we be privileged to remember and strengthen the ties that bind us, and may our eyes behold Hashem’s return to Tzion with mercy, speedily and in our days. Amen.
יה”ר שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, אמן.
Have an easy and meaningful fast.