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The State of Israel

"The settlement of the Land (of Israel) by the Jewish People is a positive commandment… which applies in every generation and obligates every one of us, even during the exile." The Ramban, Suplement to Book of Mitzvot, Positive Commandment #4

It is a mitzvah to settle in the Land of Israel and to dwell there, as it is written: "…and you shall expel them and live in their land." The Sifre on Deuteronomy 12:29

"Dwelling in the Land of Israel is equal to all of the mitzvot." The Sifre, Parashat Re'eh 80

"The Almighty gave the People of Israel three wonderful gifts — but none was given without suffering. They are: The Torah, Eretz Yisroel and the World-to-Come." Talmud, Berachot 5

"There is no joy other than in dwelling in the Land of Israel." The Ohr HaChaim, Parashat Ki Tavo

"Whoever lives in the Land of Israel is fulfilling the will of G-d and is called a tzaddik (righteous), and G-d loves him… and it is superfluous to note that anyone who speaks ill of the land or of its inhabitants is like the Meraglim (the Biblical Spies who grievously sinned)." Rabbi Moshe Hagiz, The Sfat Emes

"Whoever lives in the Land of Israel, and recites the Shema (prayer) morning and evening and speaks the holy tongue (Hebrew) is assured a place in the World-to-Come." Sifri, Ha'azinu 333

"In the Diaspora, whoever increases its settlement (by establishing a home, business, etc) adds to the destruction of the worship of G-d. But in the Land of Israel this same work is considered a mitzvah since it settles the land." The Chatam Sofer, on the Talmud Sukka 36a and Yoreh Deah p. 136

The Jewish Future is assured in Israel
Not in the Diaspora

How can the religious Jew see the Hand of G-d in a state which was created and is run by Jews who deny G-d? How can one compare this state with the first two Jewish States which were created by believing Jewish leaders and which both were destroyed precisely because Jews behaved in the manner of the Jewish rulers of Israel today?

"And I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they came into the nations whither they came, they profaned My Holy Name when they [the nations] said concerning them: These are the people of the Lord and are gone forth from His land!"

"And I had pity for My Holy Name which the House of Israel had profaned among the nations into which they came. Therefore say unto the House of Israel: Thus said the Lord, G-d. I do not do this for your sake, O House Of Israel, but for My Holy Name's sake which you have profaned among the nations into which you came."

"And I will sanctify My Great Name, which was profaned among the nations, which you profaned among them, and the nations shall know that I Am The Lord, said the Lord G-d, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land."
Ezekiel 36:19

This is the reason for the rise of the State of Israel and the impossibility of its destruction. It arose and was created to wipe away the humiliation of Hillul Hashem - the desecration of G-d's Name!

"And when they came into the nations whither they came, they profaned My Holy Name." The very presence of the Jewish people in Exile, scattered among the nations, a minority without a home, a group defenseless and exposed to the whims and power of the host majority, a people persecuted because it is weak and has lost its land, government, army and national pride - that in itself is Hillul Hashem.

"Israel's lowliness is a Hillul Hashem in that the nations say of them, "These are the Lord's people [and they are gone forth out of His Land] yet He is unable to save them."
Rashi on Ezekiel 39:7

To the gentile who can, with impunity, control or trample upon the Jew, there is no Jewish G-d; for if this G-d was truly alive and all-powerful, He would not allow such a thing to be! And so the gentile, both inwardly or openly, mocks this Jewish G-d and declares Him to be empty and non-existent. This is the meaning of "Hillul Hashem"; the word "Chillul" deriving from the Hebrew word, "chalal" meaning, "empty" or "void."

That is why the essence of the Holocaust lies not in the murder of Jews, but in what that murder implied for the existence, power and truth of their G-d... "If we could degrade, humiliate, gas and burn all those helpless Jews," sneered the Nazis, then where then is their all-powerful G-d?" There was never a greater Hillul Hashem than this.

The religiosity or lack of religiosity of Israel's leaders was irrelevant to the creation of the State from a national or global perspective. "I do not do this for your sake, O House of Israel, but for My Holy Name's sake which you have desecrated among the nations...."

If the Exile with its humiliations, pogroms, persecutions, minority status and supping as a beggar at the tables of others, is Hillul Hashem, then an independent Jewish State which gives the Jew a home, a majority, his own land, his own sovereignty, his own army and his own trampling of the enemy on the field of battle - this is Kiddush Hashem, the Sanctification of the Name of G-d!

"And the nations shall know that I Am The Lord, says the Lord G-d… For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land."

Where then is the G-d of the Jews? Here He is! With all His power and omnipotence! Here, in the fact that a people that wandered to the four corners of the earth could return; here, in the sudden, stunning resurrection of Jewish armed might; here, in the incredibly swift military victories that gave rise to awesome legends of Jewish strength and prowess; here, in a rise from the ashes to the glory of an independent Jewish State where the Jew rules and is not beaten - but who beats, if need be. Here is "their G-d;" Here is Kiddush Hashem!

For centuries Christian theologians and their masses taunted us, confidently proclaiming that the Jews of the Diaspora would remain lowly and persecuted, and never return to their ancient homeland until we accept their false messiah. From time immemorial, the Moslems treated the Jews as "dhimies," a people that deserved to be trampled upon; a subjugated nation that had no national rights.

And then the impossible happened: From the ashes of the Holocaust- came the resurrection of the Jews and their might. From the beatings in the ghetto came the Jew who stood tall and proud with an Uzi in his hand; who now controls the Christian and Moslem "holy" sites. From the depths of Hillul Hashem came the era of Kiddush HaShem! The false, gentile religious were in a theological crisis. The Jewish State, in the eyes of the world, became the firmest proof that the Jewish G-d lives!

This is the era of Kiddush HaShem - of the Final Redemption - when the entire world (as we say in our daily Aleinu prayer) must finally recognize that the Jewish G-d is The Master of the Universe - and there is no other. But it also implies something else; the ending of the previous era of Exile - of Hillul Hashem - for these two eras ultimately cannot exist together. HaShem, the G-d of the Jews, cannot be the undisputed King of all the earth while His Chosen People are still under the control or depend upon the benevolence of their host nations.

If we truly understand the significance of our era we can also grasp a most fundamental concept: A Jew who willingly remains in the Diaspora is adding to the desecration and profanation of G-d's Name - irrespective of his personal level of piety. He is angering G-d by keeping the Divine Presence, so to speak, trapped under the authority of the gentiles. This intolerable humiliation must soon end; whether we want to recognize it or not.

Even G-d has limits to His patience. After all the mercy has been extended and the deadlines have passed, the moment of reckoning will come - just as it came during the Exodus from Egypt. G-d did not hesitate to kill 80% of the entire Jewish population - millions of men, women and children - who refused to leave the Egyptian diaspora and be part of the redemption process.

The main goal towards the Final Redemption - our whole purpose in life - is to sanctify G-d's Name publicly, privately, nationally and universally. The creation of the State of Israel fifty years ago and the initial return of the Jewish people were the miraculous first steps in part of this greater, national process.

Can Israel be destroyed? The answer is "no" even if it is controlled by heretics. But there is a Process of Redemption that eventually filters out those who are unworthy. Says the Maharal of Prague:

"The Messianic Kingdom will be an outgrowth of an already existing government. The new kingdom, dedicated to G-d, will arise from a secular regime, since that which is intrinsically holy, must emerge from a profane exterior."

Israel cannot be destroyed. But it does not preclude sufferings, tragedies, wars - including the future war of Gog and Magog when the entire world will unite in an effort to destroy the remnant of Jews in Israel. The worst part will take place right before the Final Redemption, just as the darkest part of the night occurs right before sunrise.

Ironically, the diaspora Jew will look from afar at the dangers facing Israel and view himself as being safe. It's a pity he cannot see the time bomb upon which he sits. It's a pity he cannot understand how he is angering G-d by keeping the Divine Presence, so to speak, trapped in under the hands of the gentiles. It will be tragic on the day - which is soon in coming - that he and his family will be uprooted, "with fury and anger poured out." Ezekiel 20:34.

The return of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel is the sanctification of G-d's Name. It is the guarantee that we will not be destroyed. The presence of the Jew in the Exile is a profanation of G-d's name. It is the guarantee that whoever remains will, G-d forbid, be destroyed.

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