Instilling a love of the Jewish homeland
By Judi Felber
Here's the scenario. The enemy is chasing after a man with the intent to kill him.
He's a wanted person. What should he do? Where should he go? One option is to flee to the forest. Find a hidden cave with a nearby water supply and wild fruit trees.
Now what? Well, he assumes he'll have to be hiding for years and years. So, he'll need to save the clothing he has. Yep, during the day he just takes off all of his clothes and buries himself in the ground with just his head exposed. At night, he can go out and forage.
Now, what if he is a leader of the people? How can he still inspire them? Again, not such a hard problem. He just gets word to his followers that he is hiding in the woods. Tells the children to go outside with bows and arrows and other toys so that the enemy thinks they are just going to play in the forest. When the children get to the cave, he shares words of inspiration.
This scenario lasts for 12 years (good thing he took your clothes off during the day)! By this point, the enemy has decided to leave and forget about the man. So he gets up and goes back to the city. My my my, look what he's missed. In fact, he can't handle all of the changes and he starts to yell at the people that they are bad and haven't learned anything from the 12 years he's been living in the cave. Never mind that the people have been living in fear under the enemy rule. Nope. Just yell at everyone and make them feel bad.
The supreme ruler (not part of enemy side) goes to the man and tells him to bug off and go back to his cave until he learns how to behave himself. This punishment seems to work because after he returns twelve years later, he is nice to people. In fact, the people respect him so much that on the day he dies, and every anniversary after, they remember their bow and arrow games in the woods and have bonfires to show what a "light" the man was.
Do you think this is a made up story? Well, this is the gist of the story of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the holiday of Lag B'Omer. To this day, on Lag B'Omer, children reenact the children of long ago with modern day field days at school and bonfires at night.
As advocates for Israel, we may sometimes may seem like extremist or fanatics, but our goal is to instill a love of the Jewish homeland. We sacrifice and give of ourselves to reach this goal. We meet those living in the diaspora, but we also bring them “to the woods” of Eretz Yisrael to inspire Jews everywhere. By using the content available from organizations like Israel Forever we can light the fire of the Jewish spirit and open the doors of Israel engagement for Jews everywhere.
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