I was misty-eyed at President Barack Obama's courageous attempt to create an atmosphere where peace can begin, to get the Muslim world at large to understand that we can have different views -- both commonalities and differences -- and still get along. It seems so simple yet it appears to be so difficult to put into practice.
While I appreciated his understanding of the centuries of persecution suffered by the Jewish people and his tribute to those who died in unspeakable circumstances at Buchenwald as a result of the Holocaust, I feel that there is a deeper Jewish relationship to the Holy Land that is not generally understood. It is a mystical connection that goes beyond politics and has been so beautifully expressed by the esteemed Rav (Rabbi)Kook (Eretz Cheifetz 1):
"The land of Israel is not some external entity.
It is not merely an external acquisition for the Jewish people.
It is not merely a means of uniting the populace.
It is not merely a means of strenghtening our physical existence.
It is not even merely a means of strenghtening our spiritual existence.
Rather, the land of Israel has an intrinsic meaning.
It is connected to the Jewish people with the knot of life.
Its very being is suffused with extraordinary qualities.
The extraordinary qualities of the land of Israel and the extraordinary qualities of the Jewish people are two halves of a whole."