Every year around this time I leave behind the laptop computer and my myriad projects to welcome the Mediterranean shores of the land of my heart and soul. This year, my annual Israel pilgrimage takes wings on Thursday, November 29. I will be in Netanya by Friday night, November 30.
As I write, Israel is planning a large-scale military operation in Gaza, the nation is run by a man who buys into failed liberal notions of appeasing Israel’s enemies, and there are concerns about the future of Jerusalem. Still, for Israel this is relative peace. The security fence, much hated by liberals worldwide for depriving Palestinians of a view of the horizon, has made suicide bombings rare.
But it is not politics that draws me to this place. It is a sense that this land is the place of the World to Come and the days of Messiah. Mark Twain famously commented in his time about the appalling wretchedness of the land. In his day it was largely infested with swamps and unused land. It was a sparsely populated no man’s land.
In the same way, even with decades of progress, I see the squalor of the land in contrast to its future promise. Sure, Jerusalem is greatly enlarged and quite beautiful as the sun rises and sets on its golden stones. And the swamps are drained and the fields swell with produce. They even grow tomatoes in the desert now!
Yet I see so much more in Israel’s future than the progress that has been made. The desert will bloom. Mt Zion will become chief of the mountains. The temple will stand once again. Jerusalem will be called the throne of HaShem.
So I go and I look out over the plain of Megiddo, and I see potential. I take in the panoramo of the Judean hills and I see them dripping with sweet wine someday. I stand on the Mt of Olives and I picture him coming down, Zechariah 14 style, to split that mount and rescue the ones suffering in Jerusalem. I stand on the Muslim temple mount, forbidden to pray by the law of the Wakf, which the liberal government allows to rule there, and I see a glorious temple in place of that gaudy 7th century dome which imitates Byzantine style.
This year, I will be bringing my Blackberry. I will be writing some travel notes. I will be texting my thumbs off, sending notes home for you who read this blog.
I hope you will check in and read, starting daily on December 1. I hope you will make a spiritual aliyah with me.