Friday, May 9, 2008

Table Talk for Emor 5768

In honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut, I would like to share with you a thought sent to me by my good friend Rabbi Dov Lipman of Beit Shemesh:
The great Hassidic Rebbe of Sadigora, Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Friedman of blessed memory lived in Vienna. When the Nazis took over Vienna they sought to humiliate the Jews by forcing the great sage to sweep the streets of the city to the taunts and laughter of Austrian onlookers.
The German soldiers handed the Rebbe a broom, but while he swept, he recited a silent prayer: "Master of the Universe, may I yet merit to sweep the streets of the Land of Israel."
The Nazis then gave him a large flag and forced him to hoist it over a tall building. This time the rebbe intoned, "Master of the Universe, may I yet merit to raise the flag of Israel over a high place in the Land of Israel."
After surviving the war, the Rebbe was determined to fulfill his vision. And so, each year, on Independence Day, he would rise early, take a broom in hand, and proceed to sweep the streets of Tel Aviv in honor of God's answer to his prayer. And then the elderly rabbi would ascend to the top of Tel Aviv's Great Synagogue, and raise a large Israeli flag proudly for all to see.
The next time you find yourself either questioning the significance of the State of Israel on the one side of the spectrum or saddened by the lowly state of the country you love and its leadership on the other - think back to the Rebbe of Sadigora, with a broom in one hand, a flag in the other, and a heart full of gratitude to God for the miracle that is the modern State of Israel.
(adapted from article by Michael Freund)