NEW POST: Rabbi Mike Feuer, “What Vessel is fit to Hold Am Yisrael?”

Face of the Nation

Walking the streets of Yerushalayim, I see a vision of Am Yisrael unimagined a hundred years ago. There is no race, class, creed or religion (!) unseen in the face of my people. It is a wonder sometimes that the center holds. And I often wonder what holds it.

History is a certainly a grounding force. Our system-track through the phase space of time, geography, culture and consciousness has given us momentum to spare. And a surfeit of shared experience on which to build identity. But history will never be the essential axis for Am Yisrael. We are too much the children of prophets to believe that what was can dictate what will be.

There is the Land. Without it, this vision could never be. In our time, we have seen Eretz Yisrael embrace her name – ארץ הצבי.[1] She expands and contracts to fit the body of the nation, and gives her fruit with a generous eye.[2] She is the foundation, but we must build the right house in order to live together.

We cannot forget the Holy Torah. In truth, it is the only thing big enough to hold Am Yisrael. This mighty people have been a catalyst for human cultural evolution since their birth.[3]  We could only function on a substrate like the Torah, which underlies all creation. But the Torah, like the soul, needs a body to serve.

Certainly a great love for Gd, each other and creation holds us together. As we consider vessels past, present and future over the coming weeks, let this then be our guide. And I pray that we merit to shape our hearts to the fittest vessel, able to hold Gd, Am Yisrael and the world.


[1] See Daniel 11:41, gem. Ketubot 112a

[2] See Yechezkiel 36, gem. Sanhedrin 98a, rashi there

[3] Remember Lamark and the theory of acquired characteristics? Giraffes stretch to reach the upper branches and their children have long necks? He may have been laughed out of the natural sciences, but he found his home in human cultural evolution. We have been sticking our necks out in half the world’s cultures for 2500 years. What we have acquired along the way is a story the whole world can tell.

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