Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gene Simmons and Signs of Redemption in the Land of Israel

One of my favorite Haftarot, perhaps my favorite, is the haftara for Parashat Parah, which we read last Shabbat. Here's the whole thing in English (Ezekiel 36: 16-38):
16 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying: 17 'Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their way and by their doings; their way before Me was as the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. 18 Wherefore I poured out My fury upon them for the blood which they had shed upon the land, and because they had defiled it with their idols; 19 and I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 20 And when they came unto the nations, whither they came, they profaned My holy name; in that men said of them: These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of His land. 21 But I had pity for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations, whither they came. {P}

22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord GOD: I do not this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name, which ye have profaned among the nations, whither ye came. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep Mine ordinances, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will save you from all your uncleannesses; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then shall ye remember your evil ways, and your doings that were not good; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you; be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel. {S} 33 Thus saith the Lord GOD: In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be builded. 34 And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, whereas it was a desolation in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say: This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited. 36 Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD have builded the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate; I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. {S} 37 Thus saith the Lord GOD: I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed seasons, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am the LORD.' {P}
To sum things up: The nation of Israel sinned and God scatters us among the nations. However, this causes a desecration of God's name. The nations see the Jews among them, and they misinterpret this as God lacking the ability to save His nation and land(see Rashi). Therefore, in order to sanctify His name, God brings us back to the land of Israel. Has not this prophecy been fulfilled in our time?

However that is not all! God purifies us and gives us a new heart to keep His commandments. This is also in the process of being fulfilled! Little by little, it is happening before our eyes! If you don't believe me, maybe you will believe rocker Gene Simmons. He visited Israel recently and this is what he had to say:
“One thing that’s striking is that I never remember seeing so many yarmulkes here. It’s all of a sudden teeming with hassidim – hassidim, but I don’t believe ’em,’ said Simmons, like a rapper. “I’m used to Israel as a secular place where people just are Israelis.

I much prefer it as a modern, not-so-archaic-looking place.”
Well Gene(or should I call you by your real name, Chaim), like it or not, that's the way things are. God is giving us a new heart, and we are coming back to our roots. The Teshuvah revolution is underway. Chaim, it's time to return home!
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