Picture this: a government minister delivers a complex shiur klali to a packed Beit Midrash. Believe it or not, it happened in the Lev Yehudi Beit Midrash in Ramat HaSharon. Just before Rosh Hashana, Netanel Ben Siman Tov, director of Lev Yehudi Yisraeli, and I, accompanied Minister of Science, Rabbi, Professor Daniel Hershkowitz on a trip to the Ramat HaSharon Garin Torani. The experience was awe-inspiring and it made me stop and think as the countdown to the Yamim Noraim continued.
Minister Hershkowitz stood in front of the Beit Midrash and gave a shiur that could rival a Rebbe in any Yeshiva. He had the Mordechi and Rav Yonatan Eibschitz at his fingertips! I wondered what it would be like if all government ministers could stand up and give a shiur klali. Politics aside, a representative of the government of the State of Israel fluently sharing Torah thoughts is something really special. There is no doubt that Hershkowitz is a politician; but he understood that within that role, he is also a Jew. When he stood in a Beit Midrash, he shared Torah. That’s something that can only happen in Eretz Yisrael.
Israel is a modern, up to date country in so many ways. But it is also full of small, holy details which are sometimes in danger of becoming commonplace. Details like Shma Yisrael and the Hebrew date on the radio in the morning. Or mincha at the OU center with the policeman on the local beat, the mailman who delivers your mail – even the traffic cop who writes your ticket.
When we prepare before Rosh Hashana, we tend to evaluate ourselves. Who are we now? Who were we last year? Have we changed, have we grown? But there’s a bigger, more global picture too. The minister who delivers a shiur, and the traffic cop who stops for mincha are part of that picture. They’re part of a vision, steps to the geula that Hashem reveals each day.
I stop to consider our contribution to that vision. How many more Jews moved to Israel this year? How many came closer to Torah through Lev Yehudi? How many young people were saved through the Zula and Makom Balev? How many ate kosher because of the OU?
Living in Israel, we have the opportunity to witness, up close, what happens to the Jewish People. It’s easier to focus on Jews when you’re in Israel, because everyone is Jewish. Sometimes that’s something we shy away from. But take a good look, because the problems may be Jewish problems, but the triumphs are Jewish triumphs.