Thursday, April 26, 2012

YOM HA'ATZMAUT: Clouds and pigeons

We celebrate today Israel's Independence Day, Yom ha'Atzmaut. During Yom ha'Atzmaut we say Hallel, to thank HaShem for the miracles He performed for us in our own days. A miracle, that unlike other miracles, is part of our visual memory. The establishment of Medinat Israel in 1948 and its survival against all odds throughout threats, attacks and wars. 

We also celebrate the gathering of exiles, and the fact that today we have the possibility to visit and to establish ourselves in the homeland of Abraham, Yitzhaq and Ya'aqob.

The Tora predicted the exile of the Jewish people to the four corners of the planet. But it also predicted that they will come back home (Debarim 30:5-6). The prophet Yesha'ayahu explained with a prophecy/poetry how this prophecy will be carried out. Addressing the Land of Israel he said: (60:4) "Your sons will come back from afar..." and at that time, there will be those who will come (60:8) "flying along like clouds, and those who will come flying like pigeons to their nests".

Rabbi Simcha Kook, chief Rabbi of Rehovot, once explained to me why the Prophet used the motif of clouds and pigeons. Clouds and pigeons represent two opposites in terms of their motion. Clouds do not control their movement. They are moved by winds. To one side or the other.  On the other hand, pigeons, out of all birds, have an extraordinary (and still scientifically inexplicable! See this) orientation sense which enables them to return to their nest from any location in the world, even thousands of miles away. They would not rest until they arrive home, defying winds and storms. 

The Prophet Yesha'ayahu said that in the time of our return to Eretz Israel, there will be Jews who, like clouds, will return to the land of Israel moved by "winds." Political winds, financial winds, winds of persecution, all of them divine winds, which will force these Jews to come back to their homeland. And there will be other Jews who, like pigeons, will come from far away, struggling against opposite winds, and driven by a passionate desire to come back home, to their nest.

At the end, either if they came back as clouds or as pigeons, all Jews B'H will be reunited back in the land of Israel. To fulfill the greatest prophecy and to rebuild the most beautiful home for the Jewish people, Medinat Israel.

Yom ha'Atzmaut Sameach!

from Aish, by Rabbi Berel Wein and Destiny film.