Rabbi David Walk, Education Director

Congregation Agudath Sholom | 301 Strawberry Hill Ave | Stamford, CT 06902 (203)-358-2200 www.agudathsholom.org

Friday, August 11, 2017

greatpassover CN domain and keyword

(Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration in China. On August 7, 2017, we received an application from Jiaxun Ltd requested "greatpassover" as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names (greatpassover.cn, greatpassover.com.cn, greatpassover.net.cn, greatpassover.org.cn). But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it's necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is associated with your company or not?

Best Regards,

Daniel Liu | Service & Operations Manager

China Registry (Head Office) | 6012, Xingdi Building, No. 1698 Yishan Road, Shanghai 201103, China

Tel: +86-02164193517 | Fax: +86-02161918697 | Mob: +86-13816428671

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Walk Article

A GOOD LAND

Eikev-5777

Rabbi David Walk


A couple of weeks ago a young rabbi got up to speak between mincha and ma'ariv in the modern orthodox community, which I was visiting. He began by informing us that we were beginning the book of Devarim, and this was Moshe's final exhortation to the people to prepare for entry into Israel. Then, I got excited because he said that we should understand that Moshe's words are also for us. I sat waiting for him to tell us all to buy tickets on the next flight to Ben Gurion. Alas, he said that these words spoken so long ago are for that future time when something eschatological will happen letting us know that it's time for us all to go. I thought that I was listening to the end of Fiddler on the Roof, when the rabbi tells the people that they'll have to wait for Moshiach in another town. What a let down! Why isn't it time to go? I looked around the room there were decorations about Jerusalem, Chevron, Be'er Sheva, etc., but not Tel Aviv or Haifa. Because this modern and Zionist audience doesn't believe that what's happening in Eretz Yisrael today is significant in a spiritual or Biblical way. It's just news about a place we're more interested in than Syria or the Ukraine. The rabbi, the designer and the audience, I believe are missing an historic opportunity. We're reliving the period of Shivat Tziyon (end of sixth century BCE), when only about 20% of the Jews in Babylonia returned to Israel. I was hoping that we'd do better.

This is a great week to discuss this issue because this is the most Zionist parsha in the Torah, and my wife and I are flying off to live in Israel. It's hard to escape the heavy Israel bias in our Torah reading. For example, we have the second paragraph of Shema. The first section is about love of God and passing the tradition on to the next generation. However, the material this week is about performing mitzvot diligently, or the land will stop producing and eventually cast us out (we will 'quickly be lost', Deuteronomy 11:17). Israel is referred to here as the 'good land', and that rubric is used twice in chapter 8. Apparently, Israel is tov (good) in two ways. Our mission: to discover the two ways.

Here's the first tov: For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths, that emerge in valleys and mountains (8:7). the next two verses describe the seven choice agricultural products of Israel (You know 'wheat, barley, grapes, etc.'), and then the mineral wealth is praised (iron, copper). The second tov is the famous mitzva of grace after meals, 'bless the Lord, your God, for the good land (verse 10).' I believe that the first tov describes the objective virtues of Israel. The second tov is more subtle. It describes the special relationship we have with Israel through the observance of Torah and mitzvot.

Once we have introduced the second element, we can understand that our connection to the land is part of our relationship with God and Torah. In mystical literature we say that God, the Torah and Israel are one. By Israel, we sometimes mean

the people, sometimes the land. Here, let's assume we mean the land. And the verses throughout the parsha discuss the nature of the land's sensitivity to our spiritual state. If crops fail, it must be a punishment, as in 'Beware, lest your heart be seduced...And the wrath of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will close off the heavens, and there will be no rain, and the ground will not give its produce (11:16-17).' Bumper crops require thanksgiving. There's a major danger of thinking that 'it was my strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth (8:17).'

Of course, the land, as we said, has objective quality, and is not only special, but unique. It's not like 'Egypt where you sowed your seed and which you watered by foot... here the eyes of Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year (11:10 & 12). Its singular nature is specifically a result of God's supervision. Rivka and I were recently in the Mountain Time Zone of America and visited five national parks. Those locales are also extraordinary, but it's the awesome beauty not Divine supervision (sorry, Mormons) that sets them apart.

However, I think that the most powerful statement of Zionism is right at the beginning of this accolade for Israel. 'The entire commandment that I command you this day you shall observe, that you may live and multiply, and come and possess the land that the Lord swore to your forefathers (8:1).' The Ohr Chaim asks which mitzva is referred to in the verse. He responds that it means whichever mitzva, you, personally, find challenging. A fine p'shat, very much like the first Rashi in the parsha, about keeping mitzvot which are often trampled upon. But I think that the mitzva is settling the land, moving to Israel, making aliya.

There's something strange about the verse. It begins in the singular and then shifts to the plural. This is unusual, but not unique. I think there's both a warning and encouragement in the verse. Make aliya, even if you seem to be all alone. Others will join and it will, please God, snowball, and become a movement.

Many Arabs are sanguine about the Jews in Israel. They believe that this Zionist thing will peter out in a generation or two, like the Christian Crusader thing did in the thirteenth century. So far, we have proved them wrong by mass aliya from specific places. First it was the Arab countries, then Ethiopia, later the former Soviet Union. Isn't it America's turn? Wouldn't it be great if aliya outpaced assimilation? You can start the avalanche!



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