Thoughts From The Cellar

I have a friend has never been to Israel. In my mind that’s like living in the cellar your whole life, never having seen day. Getting a glimpse and then be lowered again is a loftier place to be.

There were many stretches throughout our history where people lived and died without seeing Israel. None of my granparents set foot on The Holy Land. I used to fantasize about getting them there.

It seems unfair to leave this world with out having been in Israel. But then there’s the question. The forbidden question. Is it worse to never go than to go and leave?

Long ago I read an essay called Goodbye Wall. It describes the beauty of visiting Jews approaching The Wall. The piece closes by imagining the feeling of The Wall when people leave her. And the author concludes with a whispered secret: Very late at night if you go to The Wall you can hear her crying over those who visit and depart, not knowing how to say goodbye.

Rabbi N. Fleischmann


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