It is well known that God commanded us 613 commandments at Sinai. It is also well known that unfortunately a large portion of these commandments we are unable to observe today for security, political, or other reasons. The primary groups of mitzvoth that we yearn and pray to keep but are still not in our grasp as a people include: mitzvoth of the Beis HaMikdash (app. 160 mitzvot), mitzvoth pertaining to the Land of Israel (app. 50), and full Judicial and political power according to the Torah (app. 40). However, unlike just 65 years ago, the primary requirement in mitzvoth pertaining to the Land of Israel, i.e. the majority of worldwide Jewry living in the Land of Israel, is not only not limited, but encouraged by many organizations that aid in Aliyah. With God’s kindness, we have merited that, according to a recent census, the Land of Israel has the most Jews than any other country in the world. Indeed, the ultimate goal of the majority of worldwide Jewry living in the Land of Israel is closer and more realistic than it has been for about 2500 years (according to one census we need about another million/million and a half Jews to shift the balance). If we cooperate in unity, both Jews who are able to come and Jews who are unable to come to the Land of Israel, we can, with God’s help, make this great dream a reality more speedily than ever. The Torah promises us that the mitzvoth are “not beyond the sea” nor “in the heavens”. Rather , “the matter is extremely close to you in your mouth and heart to do it” (Deut. 30, 14). It is by communicating to each other, and imbibing within our hearts the meaning and importance of this dream that we can make this dream reality. It is for this reason that “Leshichno tidrshu” has set out to greaten awareness to this matter to hasten the realization of this dream.
The Torah talks extensively about this dream, the ingathering of exiles, in Deuteronomy chapter 30, verse 2 and 3 saying that first the people will contemplate “the blessing and the curse” that have become on them, return to God, and listen to His Voice to keep all the mitzvoth with all their heart and soul. Then God will ingather the exiles, circumcise our hearts, etc. In “Leshichno tidrshu” we have set out to “listen to His Voice to keep all the mitzvoth” by studying “the mitzvah”, explained by our sages to be our Oral Tradition, Halacha, in regard to the group of mitzvoth so close to our grasp, the mizvot of the Land (this study is also alluded to in the Psikta which learns this concept from a different verse). We have also made efforts “to return to God”, by greatening awareness to the Holy Presence. Now, we would like to add a brief section to give real-life examples in contemplating the ways of God, so that we may complete these steps to the ingathering of exiles in the fore-mentioned verses. The goal of this section is not to show miraculous stories, or grandiose wonders, but rather to show ways of contemplation of everyday events, to open our hearts to see the ways of God in both blessing and, God forbid, curse. By doing such we become more aware to the concept of Providence, especially because these stories are from the Land of Israel. By contemplating God’s Providence, we become more aware to God’s Holy Presence and live and experience the spirit of the Holy Land, where the “Eyes of HaShem Your God are upon it from the year’s advent till its end.” This idea is definitely not novel, as we see that King David pleads many times to God in Tehilim that he may tell of God’s Providence upon him to others.
This brief supplement completes one of the primary messages of Hebron, bringing unity among the people by tapping into our common roots, the Patriarchs (Hebron also means to unite – lehaber). In contrast to the study of the mitzvoth of the Land in our first section which is catered mainly for those familiar with Torah sources, this new supplement is catered for the general public, religious and non-religious alike. We believe that the message of the Land of Israel can and should be delivered to the general public in unison as a way of experiencing God’s Presence in daily life. We hope that these stories will give inspiration to others to contemplate God’s Providence in general, and especially in the Holy Land.
Example #1: One person tells: “I was hitchhiking, waiting for a ride for about 20-30 minutes. Usually, in my area, I find a ride within about 5 minutes. I prayed to God that He help me find a ride speedily and with ease. However, no car stopped for me. I suddenly remembered a verse I learned: “One who removes his ear from Torah study, even his prayer is an abomination”. Consequently, I opened a book to learn Torah. Immediately as I began to learn a car stopped to give me a ride.”