Sunday, February 18, 2007

Only In Israel #8: A Tale of Three Cities

I have the esteemed privilege to be able to spend Shabbat all over this wonderful land that Hashem gave us as a gift along with his Torah. The past three weeks I spent Shabbat in Beit-El, Bnei Brak, and Ramat Beit Shemesh, respectively. And while all three places certainly have their differences I find they have some wonderful things in common.

For example in all three neighborhoods one would be very hard pressed to find a car on Shabbat. In all three one will find the streets full with many children playing and enjoying Shabbat. They are the future of the Jewish people! Can anything be more exhilarating?

In all three one will experience Shabbat on a higher more intense level than is possible in many other places on earth. Sure I could think of a handful of other places, (Tzfat springs to mind, and I've always been impartial to the Old City of Jerusalem) but nearly all of them are in Eretz Yisrael.

So attention Brooklyn Jews: when the siren goes off in Boro Park (and now Flatbush) in a futile attempt to build a "mini-Jerusalem" and "recreate" the atmosphere of the real Jerusalem, just remember you can't beat the real thing! So why risk upsetting the goyim (and make no mistake. They do get annoyed hearing the siren each week) when you are guests in their kind country when instead you can simply come home and play Jewish music over the loudspeakers for a half hour on Erev Shabbos because it's our home and we make the rules!

Take the Kumah challenge: Visit Eretz Yisrael and spend Shabbat on any Yishuv or any of the places I mentioned and you'll experience what Shabbat is really all about!

It's a little secret which we shouldn't keep to ourselves but everyone here knows that the Jews of Chu"L simply have no idea what they are missing. I thank Hashem every day that I am somehow worthy of experiencing Shabbat in Eretz Yisrael every week!

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