Pidyon Kaparot Now

A Dream Land

Rabbi Yehoshua Alt

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The book Extraordinary Insights.

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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A Dream Land

There are those that have moved to Eretz Yisrael passionately but then have gotten caught up in the nitty-gritty and the problems that face them there. It’s easy to forget that original enthusiasm, whether it be because of a different culture, a new language, etc. However, they should think from time to time of the merit they have to be in the Holy Land. Even Moshe, with all his Tefilos, wasn’t granted entry into Eretz Yisrael. Many great people throughout history longed to come to the Holy Land but were unable to for various reasons. How lucky are those who have the merit to be in Eretz Yisrael?[1] And for those who don’t live there, how fortunate are they that they can just hop on a plane and be there within hours.


R’ Eliezer Papo, author of the Pele Yoatz (1785-1828), writes in his Sefer Oros Eilim that הכל אין כנגד חבת ארץ ישראל, everything is nothing compared to the love for Eretz Yisrael. So leaving your family and money shouldn’t hold you back from going to Eretz Yisrael. And back then it wasn’t just a flight away. Leaving for Eretz Yisrael meant you were on your own and that you probably wouldn’t see your family again. Many sacrifices were involved in moving to Eretz Yisrael in the past.


Of course there were many great people that were in Eretz Yisrael. And therefore we must think how lucky we are that we are walking on the same streets that Avraham and many other great figures traversed![2]


Is there any comparison of celebrating a Yom Tov such as Succos and Chanuka in Eretz Yisrael? Being among your people who are celebrating it as well.[3]


There are also the opportunities of numerous Mitzvos[4] that one can fulfill only in Eretz Yisrael. These include Terumos, Maaasros and Shemita.


Here is another thought to ponder. In which other country can you just travel to the kosel to daven if you so desire?! In this land, you are just a ride away from the site of the Beis Hamikdash!


R’ Yehuda Greenwald (1845-1920), who was the Rav of the city of Satmar, had a tremendous yearning to be in Eretz Yisrael. He commented that when he will merit to be in Eretz Yisrael, he will run to the kosel and daven there. He later related that when he arrived in Yerushalayim, his legs became immobilized, as he was so awed by the great kedusha that he couldn’t move. He then explained עמדות היו רגלינו בשעריך ירושלים[5] (“Our feet stood firm within your gates, O Yerushalayim”): my feet remained standing [as they couldn’t move] when I entered the gates of Yerushalayim.


Another thing to keep in mind is that there are so many tzadikim buried in Eretz Yisrael such as the Avos, Imahos, R’ Shimon Bar Yochai, R’ Akiva, R’ Yosef Karo, the Arizal among many others. This is an opportunity to daven at their graves.


Let us not forget that most events recorded in the Torah took place in Eretz Yisrael. It is the place where Torah comes alive! We learn about Akaidas Yitzchak, the Beis Hamikdash, Mitzvos like Shemita, Kever Rochel, Me’aras Ha’machpeila and so on but it only comes alive in this land.


We should also keep in mind that being in Eretz Yisrael is living through a miracle in history, as it never happened that a nation returned to its homeland after 2,000 years of exile! That is a clear miracle!

[1] For those who live in Eretz Yisrael it is advised to say the following formula which comes from the students of the Vilna Gaon: הריני דר בארץ הקודש לשם מצות ישוב ארץ ישראל כמו שכתוב וירשתם אתה וישבתם בה, I live in the Holy Land for the sake of the mitzva of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael as it says, “You shall possess it and you shall settle in it” (Devarim 11:31. See also Bamidbar 33:53).

[2] Even the street names can arouse feelings of kedusha. In one neighborhood you walk through the streets named after prophets such as Malachi, Amos, Yonah and Tzefanya. In other neighborhoods, the streets are named after Rashi, R’ Shach, the Gra and the like—greats from the long past to those of our time!

[3] It is interesting to note that in Israel, banks will recognize and deposit a check that is dated with a Jewish month (Eg: ג‘ סיון תשפא instead of May 14, 2021).

[4] See Kesubos 111a that one can walk four Amos (approximately 6-8 feet) and be assured that he will be a resident of the World to Come.

[5] Tehillim 122:2.

Author of the books Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights

Listen to the short Fascinating Insights Podcast at

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