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Rabbinical HOMEiletics: Part 3

Don’t Just Discuss Religion and Politics

Do Something About it

As the uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving is upon us, we see articles and discussions in the media about what is appropriate to discuss at these gatherings. After recent elections in the United States, it was reported that family members who embraced politics differently would no longer gather to celebrate. There has been lots of ink spilled on the topic of the polarization and extremism of politics, morals, and values in our day.

What about discussing Israeli politics? There has certainly been turmoil surrounding the results of the recent right wing and religious parties’ victory. Many in the media have been lamenting the end of Israel as we know it. Really? It’s incredible how people superimpose their own fears on the realities in front of them. Israel, while proudly Jewish, is the only free democracy for one thousand miles in all directions.

After two thousand years in the exile, where Jews have been bystanders at best, and at worst persecuted in the lands we have dwelled in, we are blessed to live at a time when our Homeland has been reborn and is the envy of the nations. Israel has achieved greatness and is a world leader in a plethora of spheres in addition to Torah, ranging from biotech and cybersecurity to water conservation, space travel, and let’s not forget happiness. All this, while Iran and her proxies are still aiming missiles towards Israel threatening her destruction, and Palestinian terror is unfortunately alive and well causing anguish and sadness with their attacks.

In the Parshah last week, Efron the Hittite, the first Middle Eastern businessman we meet in the Chumash, has a letter forever deleted from his name after offering to give away the Machpela Cave to Avraham, but then selling it to him while our mother Sarah’s corpse is awaiting burial for an exorbitant 400 Super Shekels.

The Talmud in Bava Metzia 87A states –

מכאן שצדיקים אומרים מעט ועושים הרבה רשעים אומרים הרבה ואפילו מעט אינם עושים.

Rabbi Elazar said: From here we learn that the righteous say little and do much, whereas the wicked say much and do not do even a little.

Positive talk at the table is good when it leads to action. One can sit and philosophize and pontificate through the night, but the only way to effect positive change is by doing something about it.

When Hashem made available the Torah to our ancestors, they didn’t sit around a table full of trimmings and discuss it to death, נעשה ונשמע – they did something about it! Anyone who is concerned about Israel, the nation of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the G-d of Israel, should long to return to Israel and consider how to make it happen.

Nefesh B’nefesh has begun active outreach to the orthodox Jewish community of North America called, it’s Shayech (, because it is.

There is no better place on the planet for a Jew to live as a Jew than on the holy soil of Israel. Perhaps it is time to contact OHA and/or Nefesh b'Nefesh to learn how you can find your way home to live on the central stage of life where Jewish history began 5000 years ago and has formally returned to 75 years ago.

We live in incredibly interesting and dynamic times. While antisemitism is far from a new phenomenon, emperors, kings, religious leaders, and governments have been spewing anti-Jewish propaganda for millennia. Over the past month we have reached a new plateau as the most recent antisemitic slurs in the United States have been uttered by a hip hop artist and a professional basketball star, causing a societal earthquake inspiring billion-dollar companies to defund these stars and an actual NBA suspension all because they claim falsely that Jews are running society.

In Israel we are living on the land Hashem promised our father Avraham. We are fulfilling the Mitzvoth Hashem presented Moshe in the desert. We are working together, building together, arguing together and struggling together to forge forward and with Hashem’s help see the development of a Jewish Nation that our prophets prophesied of in years past.

We have the opportunity our Zaydes’ Zaydes and our Bubbes’ Bubbes couldn’t even imagine. It will happen IY”H when we advance from talking and propel into action.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Ephraim Epstein

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