Eikev: The Israel Obsession



I think we have talked about Israel too much. Everybody is taking about Israel, every news anchor and news ship, every pundit and idiot, everyyukel and yokel. Because of this, we get caught up in the whole rhetoric and forget about the bottom line.

To remind us of the bottom line, I would like to specifically not talk about Israel. I believe that by not talking about Israel we can really come to hear Israel’s true message. Thus, I would like to talk about New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Johannesburg, Madrid, Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Cape Town, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Kathmandu, Mumbai… or, maybe Boring, Oregon, and Embarrass, Minnesota. (I kid you not, these are real names of real cities.)

As Sam Harris, one of the most articulate atheists around, put it recently, “The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.”

Israel isn’t about Israel. Israel is about the world.

This is how Rabbeinu Bechai explains a verse from this week’s Torah reading – A land the Lord, your God, scrutinizes; constantly the eyes of Lord your God are upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. He says this verse means that Israel is the heart of the world.

Perhaps the United States is like the head, perhaps Great Britain is like the mouth, perhaps China is like the reproductive organs, and perhaps France is like the taste buds. All of these “body parts” are energized by the “blood” without which they would wither and die. And this “life-juice” is pumped out of the heart – the heart that is the Holy Land of Israel.

It is our job as Jews to teach the world that Israel is its heart. And that peace in Israel is the key to peace in the world.


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