Tefillah Tips - Israel Independence Day Tips

Along with the other thirteen million Jews in the world as well as our cousins and friends, I would like to celebrate and express my appreciation for the sixtieth birthday of the modern state of Israel. Happy Birthday!! Around the world in so many places in so many ways, we are marking this day and focusing on the independence of Israel established sixty years ago.

It is nothing short of a divine gift that G-d has bestowed upon his people Israel. After two thousand years in the exile, we made an historic comeback, and so has the land itself. From agriculture, to high tech and pharmaceuticals and everything in between. The land of Israel has seen her people grow and flourish over the last two generations. Spiritually speaking, there are more Torah students in Israel today then there has been in any one place since the Babylonian academies that oversaw the editing of the Talmud! All this while being surrounded by over twenty nations that pray for our demise and ongoing condemnation by world opinion. Haloh Dovor Hoo – It is really something!

Yet our work has truly just begun. Our goal must now be Ahavat Yisrael – love of our fellow Jew. The old joke – two Jews three opinions, that shul is the one I do not daven in, and the Knesset is a reflection of shul board meetings all need to become antiques. If we want Shalom – Peace from our neighbors, then we must demonstrate peace amidst ourselves. If we want more positive world opinion, then we must have a positive opinion of each other. If we want G-d to continue to show His love for the Jewish people, then we need to as well.

Independence can imply oneness as well. Our enemy Balaam said it well – Am Levadad Yishkon – They are nation that dwells apart-not apart from one another, rather apart from the nations of the world. Our G-d is not their god, our truth is not theirs, our pursuits are not their pursuits and our accomplishments are not theirs as well. (sounds a little bit like Ruth)

As we mark this special Independence day, let’s take steps and make efforts to increase our Ahavat Yisrael, our oneness and true Shalom Al Yisrael.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Ephraim Epstein