There’s a well-known term that I would like to look at from a different perspective and it’s called “Game Changer”. Political analysts have written many articles trying to figure out exactly what the game changer was for Donald Trump, when he ran against Hillary Clinton. Sports columnists are always writing about the game changer in a championship season and business people are constantly talking about the game changer in the economy or stock market. Now it’s my turn and I want to know about a completely different game changer. In the last 2,000 years, what was the game changer for the Jewish nation?
I would imagine that over these last 2,000 years there have been many game changers for our nation. The Mishna/Talmud was definitely a game changer and so was the printing press. Rashi was a game changer and so was the Rambam and many years later, the holy Baal Shem Tov added his name to that unique list as well. Sarah Schenirer was unquestionably a game changer with her founding of the Bais Yaakov network and – as unfortunate and tragic as it was – the Holocaust was a game changer as well. But what else? What event – in the last 100 years – changed the face of the Jewish world forever? Think about something so grand, so awesome and so incredible that was done to our nation that, simply put, changed life for every Jew on the planet… including those that hadn’t even been born yet! Put on your “thinking cap”. What was it?
The answer is simple; the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Until we build the Bet Ha’Mikdash and restore the Davidic dynasty with Moshiach ben David, nothing will ever come close to that nation-changing event. I believe that of all game changers listed above this was the greatest of all, for one reason; the State of Israel – and only the State of Israel - will ensure that Jewish life continues and will preserve all previous game changers. In 100 years from now, who in Europe will know how to read Rashi? How many Jews in South Africa, Mexico and Argentina will be connected to the Baal Shem Tov and, sadly, even in America, outside of a few pockets of Torah communities, who will send their daughters to Bais Yaakov? Let’s face reality; the founding of Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel) was the game-changing-game-changer of the last 2,000 years.
As I have written many times in the past, my love for the State of Israel does not blind me to the truth. Things here are not perfect but what is perfect in life? Is your job perfect? Are your kids perfect? Are you perfect? Be honest… The important point to stress is that despite the imperfections, the shortcomings and the high price of gasoline, this is the greatest gift our nation has received in the last 2,000 years! The Jewish Nation has returned home! Places mentioned in the Bible and studied in history classes have come to life with thousands of Jewish children running through the streets of Bet El, Shilo and Kiryat Arba. Mitzvot that were ignored for thousands of years such as Shmittah, Orlah and Ma’aser Sheni are being studied and practiced throughout the Land and most important of all; there’s more Torah studied today in Eretz Yisrael than ever before!
Baruch Hashem, what a privilege it is to see a strong Jewish army, houses being built across the country in the tens of thousands and delicious, sweet fruit grown in the land by Jewish farmers who keep all agricultural halachot. Let me summarize and rephrase all this into one simple sentence: What our grandparents dreamed about… we live!
People living in Israel – with all the problems and imperfections - are living the dream… the dream of 2,000 years of coming back to our homeland. You cannot ignore that reality. You cannot sit during these “Three Weeks” and cry about Jerusalem when, instead, you should be dealing with the construction and not just the destruction.
This week, during the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute, said that there’s no mitzvah in the Torah to cry but there is a mitzvah to build. How right he is! We need to build the Land, we need to build our Nation and we need to build the third and final Bet Ha’Mikdash. No longer are we a weak and broken people. Our King has given us strength, motivation, direction and all the tools necessary to repair 2,000 years of damage. Let’s make it happen now because… the game has changed!