02 May 2017


Iyyar 5777
Day 21 of the Omer
Yom Ha'atzma'ut

As a thinking person and one who does not blindly follow the crowd, I can't say that I celebrate Independence Day per se in Israel. On the one hand, you've got a leadership that is more concerned with preserving "Democracy" and waging a war on Torah and Torah-loving Jews than it is the real enemies, both within and without. And on the other hand, we can't even say, well, at least we are no longer under domination by the nations of the world. This same "leadership" does not make a move without first getting permission from foreign powers.

However, I very much appreciate that the State of Israel exists and that its doors are standing wide open to welcome Jews home. So, I celebrate this day as Homecoming Day and I can be happy in the knowledge that better days are ahead. The "Leadership" is not representative of the spirit of our people.

The following anecdote, I think, is what Israel is all about.

On Sunday afternoon, I was at a bus stop waiting for a bus. A large group of schoolgirls and assorted other people were crowded on the sidewalk and sitting on the curb. Four boys (no kippot) came pushing a shopping cart full of stuff. One of them, with a huge grin, spoke up loudly, "Tzadikim, Tzidkaniot, slicha, slicha." Everyone immediately made way for them to pass, and the boy thanked them with the words, "Tizku l'mitzvot."

A bus came. I got on. It was standing-room only. And immediately, a young man (no kippah) jumped up to give me a seat. Two stops down, the driver is closing the door and a man (no kippah) rushes from the back of the bus to the front brandishing a set of keys. He breathlessly explains that a young girl who just exited the bus has dropped them and the man wants to try to catch her and return them. Without a word, the driver (no kippah) opens the door and the man runs out. The bus is packed and I expect the driver to lose patience and drive away. But, he surprises me by waiting and opening the rear door for the man to jump back on, his good deed done.

This triumph of the Jewish heart and the Jewish spirit and the fact that we have returned is what I celebrate on the day we take cognizance of our nationhood.