Saturday, April 23, 2011

Israel: An ordinary Country ?

Traveling where ?

Photo: Miriam Woelke


For most tourists visiting Israel, our country is not just an "ordinary" country as every place in the world. No matter what religion, the majority of tourists considers Israel as something special. But do we Israelis see our country as so special ?

I know Israeli Jews claiming that fulfilling all those Mitzvot is much more important when a Jew lives abroad. I haven't really experienced that when I used to live in Germany but, on the other hand, as soon as my environment started talking against Jews, I was proud of being a Jew and I must say that such Gentile remarks strengthen Yiddishkeit. Suddenly you feel like a Jew and see G - d from a very different perspective. First you didn't care too much and then a Gentile speaks out against Jews, you are there and hear it, and, at the same moment, a light goes on inside of you. Although you are not religious, you instantly feel like defending Jews and even Judaism.

Then a Diaspora Jew comes to Israel and usually doesn't hear such anti - Semitic statements anymore. He feels at home and that's about it. This is all he can do. 
Mitzvot ? Well, you already live in Israel. Isn't this Mitzvah enough ?

I have to admit that there are times when I do feel the same. We live in Israel and may keep plenty of Mitzvot. You don't do it or you do it. If you fulfill them, do you (in Israel) really do so with the best intention ? Are we aware of living in Israel ? I am sure that too many of us just take it for granted and we forgot to appreciate the fact of living here.

So, we are here. Lets see if anything is happening ! Meshiach ? Well, we have to earn a living, live our lives and just go on. Meshiach, of course, but we have other things to do. Maybe not now. 

And along comes a Diaspora Jew who is so excited of being here. He starts listing what amazed him in Israel. Plenty of kosher food, Jews everywhere and you don't have to justify yourself of being Jewish, the atmosphere, the whole country. Even the Falafel. 
At this moment we may start thinking about daily matters we usually don't see anymore because we are too busy. In fact, there are Israelis who would love to see Israel just like any other country in the world. On the other hand, we have the Torah and this alone informs us about the uniqueness and importance of our country.

I hope that I will remember my words tomorrow morning when the alarm clock is ringing and I need to get up for work. :-)

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