The idea for a special Shabbos dedicated to appreciation of all the miracles that took place in EretzYisrael this past summer during the Gaza war started this past August. At a communal simcha in early August, Rabbi Aryeh Zev Ginzberg was having a casual conversation with an acquaintance in the community who shared his plans of bringing his family to EretzYisrael for the YamimTovim for the first time. Rabbi Ginzberg was pleased for him and told him so, but being familiar with his struggles with parnassah, he was a little surprised about the upcoming trip, as a trip to EretzYisrael does not come cheap. The fellow sensed the rav’s thoughts and explained the following.
“I really cannot afford to make this trip, but after witnessing so many open nissim this summer in the war in Gaza, I really feel the need to go there and express my appreciation for the gift of EretzYisrael and to show my love for the land. And while it is indeed difficult financially, I knew that I must go to express my deep connection to the land of our people.” Rabbi Ginzberg was struck by this simple yet profound thought. When do we all have the opportunity to thank Hashem for the miracles of the past summer and for the great gift of EretzYisrael in general? Why do we only think about EretzYisrael when we are at war? Yes, there is a Salute to Israel parade and an official day that the medinah celebrates the land, but not all are comfortable in that venue. And so Rabbi Ginzberg thought, on a personal level, back in August, that Shabbos ParashasLechLecha, which is the very parashah in which our forefather AvrahamAvinu is introduced to EretzYisrael, would be the perfect time for us to offer Hakadosh Baruch Hu our collective thanks for all the miracles of the past summer and for the gift of EretzYisrael in general.
In that vein, the Chofetz Chaim Torah Center of Cedarhurst invited two special guests to spend part of this Shabbos with us. Our guest speaker will be Rabbi Yonason Rosenblum, who is a world-renowned speaker, prolific author, and keen observer of the political and social scene in EretzYisrael for the past 30 years; he will be giving the guest derashah on the topic of, “The Chareidi/Chiloni Divide—Is Unity Ever Possible?” Our guest ba’altefillah for Shabbos is one of the most popular entertainers of our time, Reb Yehudah Green. Yehudah will be the ba’altefillah for Shacharis and then will lead the zemiros at a special shaloshseudos event in shul as well. In addition, as a special highlight, exactly 15 minutes after Shabbos ends, Yehudah will lead a most inspiring Havdallah service. Unless you have seen him before, you have never experienced Havdallah like this! The extension of an extra 15 minutes is to allow the women and children to return to shul so everyone can participate in the Havdallah service together and witness the incredible ruach and energy that Yehudah Green is world-famous for.
Rabbi Ginzberg commented, “We are looking forward to spending another wonderful, ruach-filled Shabbos together and to express, on the very parashah where we are given the promise of EretzYisrael, our deep appreciation for all the miracles that Hakadosh Baruch Hu brought to our beloved land and, even more so, for the very land of EretzYisrael itself.