Torah Tidbits

24 April 2014 / 24 Nisan 5774
Issue 1020
Shabbat Parshat Vayeitzei
November 22, 2012

Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

Young people today often use the term “awesome” in everyday conversation.
“How was the movie/tiyul?” “Awe- some!” For those not used to this modern idiom, it can be somewhat jarring. Yet, in this week’s Parsha we find that Yaakov was first to use it.
When he awakens from his dream (B’reishit 28:16) Yaakov says “surely Hashem is present in this place and I did not know it”. He then adds, “How awesome is this place. It is but the house of Hashem and the gate to Heaven”. One might ask, didn’t he know of the existence of G-d and that He is to be found everywhere? Obviously he did know this. Rav Kook said Yaakov now becomes aware that there are levels of Holiness. True, all lands are holy in as much as they are G-d’s creation but some lands are more holy than others and some places in Israel are holier than others. (Mishna Keilim 1:6)
Invariably students realize what Yaakov intuitively realized (Wow, this place is awesome!). In fact, it is this feeling which motivates many to make Aliya.
One may feel a sense of holiness when visiting Yeshivot like Lake- wood. Yet, one should understand that the holiness is because of the assembly of Rabbinic scholars. It does not mean that the place is holy, because if the Rabbis leave the place of learning there is a void and the glory, splendor and beauty leave with them. Just like Yaakov’s departure (28:10 - Rashi), Jerusalem and for that matter, all of Eretz Yisrael is a holy, awesome place, irrespective of who is there at any given time. The Kedusha of Eretz Yisrael is eternal by virtue of being Eretz Yisrael. This has never been true about any other locale - not Sura, Vilna, or Lakewood.
A student in a Yeshiva spoke to his Rebbe saying, “I am overwhelmed by the awesomeness of Eretz Yisrael and especially Jerusalem. My davening here is qualitatively different than my prayers in the Diaspora. That is why I want to remain a second year but if I do, I will lose my spot in the Ivy League School to which I have been accepted. I am not bothered by that, yet, if I do not go back it will kill my parents as this has been their dream for me over the years. What should I do?”
What would you advise? Interested readers may forward their response to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Results will be published in the future.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

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