Visiting the Good Land

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Visiting the Good Land


In Parhsat VaEtchanan (Dvarim 3:25), Moshe asks God “Please, allow me to cross over and see the GOOD Land that is across the Yarden, this good mountain and the Levanon.”


God’s answer was (Dvarim 3:27), Go up to the peak of the Pisgah (mountain) and look all around- west, north, south and east-see with your own eyes; for you will not cross the Yarden.”


Rashi comments: You asked Me- “and let me see the GOOD Land”; I will show you ALL of it, as it is said (Dvarim 34:1), “and God showed him ALL the Land.”


Rabbi Yechezkel MiKizmir points out that we learn in Masechet Rosh HaShana 18a that when God judges the Jewish people, He judges the entire Jewish people together, the people who have been good along with the people who have been bad. It is our hope that due to the merit of the good people, the Jewish people as a whole will be judged favorably.


It wouldn’t be fair for Moshe to go up to the mountain and only see the positive aspects of the Land of Israel. He needed to see everything, the full picture of the Land. It is the hope that the positives will outweigh the negatives but it doesn’t mean that the negatives don’t exist.


I have seen videos about Aliya where families claim that “their children adjusted into Israeli society and made all new friends in just one day”. What a culture shock it will be for other families who believe these videos when they actually come on Aliya. When the whole story is not presented, both the positive and negative aspects of living in Israel, a disservice is being done.


Since God will ultimately judge us as a group it is important for each and every one of us to set an example and reach for the highest standards, have a positive influence on others and serve as role models. When we see corruption in our society, we should not take the “If you can’t beat them then join them” approach but rather maintain our ethical standards no matter what.


It’s very easy to want to see the Land the way that Moshe envisioned, to just see the GOOD Land the way that a tourist does. When you are on vacation, staying in hotels, eating out and touring, you may not encounter many of the hardships that Israelis face such as poverty, crime, corruption etc. Some tourists take the opportunity to help out in a Soup Kitchen or visit the founders of the State of Israel who are now living in nursing homes. There was a story in last week’s Yediot Acharonot newspaper about an American boy who donated his Bar Mitzvah money to help a poor development town in Israel a few years ago. Now, as an older teenager, he decided to spend his summer teaching English to the children in that community. He felt that it was important to see where the money went and continue to help the community. He was actually pleasantly surprised with the level of English among the students that he worked with.


Those of us in Israel as well as those who are abroad must take it upon ourselves to serve as a light unto the nations and continue to help make Israel a better place.


We hope to see you soon in the GOOD Land!