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Thought for the Day: We Are One Nation, We Are the Torah Nation

I usually have a title when I start a TftD.  It's not always the title that gets "published", but I like to have plan.  This time I don't even have that; I have something I want to say, but not sure what the main message will really be.  I'll let you know at the end, bli neder and b'ezras HaShem.

My family and I went to Navy Pier last Sunday (July 20, 2014 CE/22 Tammuz 5774; that's for the archives).  It was a bunch of us (me, my better much-more-than-half, one daughter, three grandchildren), so we took the 'L' (Brown line, to be precise) and walked there from the Merchandise Mart.  Very nice day, by the way; but that's not the point.  As we walked back, I turned south one street too soon, which forced us to go further south than I expected, which put our course straight through the middle of an Arab rally (a "die in") as a show of solidarity with the Arabs who were left homeless almost 70 years ago by the neighboring Arab countries in the Gaza Strip.

Ok, ok... that's not the way they would put it, but I am more interested in historical accuracy than political correctness.  The fact that they say it differently, however, has important ramifications.  Here I was, not exactly incognito, walking with my family... I felt extremely vulnerable.  But why?  I'm not a citizen of the country of Israel; for goodness sakes, I'm barely Jewish!  My family (on my mother's side) has been on this continent since 1585 CE.  I have deep philosophical differences with the Israeli government.  None of that seemed to matter to the horde of masked Arabs through which we were walking.

The next day I was telling a coworker about my harrowing experience.  She asked, quite reasonably, "What's the real issue?  It seems to complicated."  I thought for a few minutes to come up with an answer that would satisfy her without requiring a 3000 year history lesson.  Then I realized that I couldn't and why the Arabs don't care whether I've ever even stepped foot in the land of Israel.

Israel is not a modern country.  There is an Israeli government with parliament, prime minister, president, and so forth trying to run Israel like every other country.  It can't be done; Eretz Yisrael is the land/country given by HaShem to His treasured nation, Am Yisrael.  I am connected to every other Jew and they are connected to me.  There is no rational reason for the Arab/Israeli conflict, because there is no such conflict.  There is a conflict between the way that many Jews are trying to run the country of Israel and how we all agreed -- some 3,300 years ago at Mount Sinai -- that it should be run.  There is a conflict between the way many Jews run their lives and how we all agreed -- some 3,300 years ago at Mount Sinai -- to run our lives.  Namely, as a Torah nation comprised of Torah individuals.  As long as that conflict exists, we'll have enemies driving us back to our destiny.

A state that is not run according to the dictates of our Holy Torah is untenable, of course.  A divided Am Yisrael is also untenable.  We have seen inspiring achdus/brotherhood and unity over the last few weeks.  We need to use that closeness to bring everyone closer to our national purpose, to remove the conflict between us and our Father in Heaven, and to bring true shalom.

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