What Does Olive Picking Have to do With Aliyah?

Image                                                                                Image This morning I rolled out of bed and decided to go out to pick some more olives. I wanted to make this a time to do my lehitbodeduit/to be alone to talk to G-d .  I wanted to be in into nature and to talk with G-d about all that my family needs.As I surveyed my neighborhood olive trees I noticed several things.

1. You have to be willing to go where most people won’t – to be successful   Most of the best fruit  trees are surrounded by 5 foot bushes and vines with prickers. The Middle East is a difficult neighborhood to live in  with hostile murderous neighbors on all sides and the stakes are great.  If you don’t know what you would die for then what are you living for? I see a living Torah and I see the fulfillment of Torah prophesies everyday. We are miracles! Everyday that we are here is a miracle.

2. The best fruit is always on the tops of the tree in the full sun. Somethings are just meant to be out of reach- but you have to try. Aliyah is so easy today relative to our ancestor’s time and there is so much help and encouragement available, but you have to make the effort. It is  lot of effort to learn a new language and make a new life, but it is doable.

3.  Where there is no water there is no decent fruit, just shriveled and small  green fruits- not even the birds want.  I bless, Rabbi Lazer Brody, and the other innovators of the drip irrigation system.  It is a chaval/a waste to see shrunken and withered fruit for lack of water. In Judaism Torah is water and water is life- hence, “mayyim hayyim/living waters”. Outside of the land the connection is not the same quality.  As they say, G-d here is a local call.  Everyday you can walk the land and open the Tanach and feel the Torah alive.  The same can not be said for Lakewood, or Baltimore etc.. . these are pale imitations of what a rich Jewish life we are supposed to be living.  We are in sync with the Torah seasons and the rhythm of Jewish life.

4. There is more than enough olives in this country for every family who wants to have olives on their table if they want it. There is more than enough land in this country for the return of all of the exiles to come home and live off the land. There is no excuse for a life outside of Israel. We have a blessing for this land- we need to be worthy of it and step up and claim our inheritance.

5.  You have to want something very badly to be willing to crawl through the mud and prickers to get at the best olives. Life here is not always easy, but this is our family. Every family has a crazy uncle or two. It is no different here.  To live here you have to develop a tolerance for the diversity of your fellow Jews. It is good for your soul.

6.  There were fences that prevented me from getting to the best olive trees. Those fences were put there to prevent people from falling down the hill into the 200 feet deep wadi. In life sometimes we need fences.  Torah is our protection in this life. You may not always agree with the fences, but it is there to guard your soul.

So as I stood under the thick canopies of the olive trees and I asked G-d/Hashem to send me more grandchildren, jobs for my children, raises for my sons in law,  health for the sick ones, a quick aliyah for them all- most of all I asked Hashem for Moshiach.  It seems that the world is so perilous and this is a crossroads- we need Moshiach most of all. There I stood in hot Israeli sun I thank G-d that I am home and on my land eating the fruits of the gift G-d gave to all of us.

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