Israel is a magical place, a bustling country filled with timeless rituals, ancient sounds, alluring aromas, and colorful landscapes. Everything seen and felt from the intricate tapestries set high upon Jerusalem’s many rocky archways, to the great winds that roar toward the evening through the hills and valleys of Matula, grabs the soul and shake it as if to say, “Awaken!” From the venders of Jaffo who labor by the sea, to the mystics of Tzvat who toil high in the north, Israel is truly one of a kind.
Considering Israel’s unparalleled uniqueness, how do the Rabbis command, “Make Israel here,” i.e. make your “HERE”, wherever you are, Israel? If Israel is truly so special, how can one transform the consciousness of a New York City or Hollywood California, into the holiest land on earth? Let’s begin our analysis by first defining the spiritual meaning of “Israel”. Explains the holy Kabbalist (Jewish mystic) Rabbi Issac Luria of Tzvat, “Israel” (its Hebrew letters) permutes to form two words: “Rosh” (“head”) and “Li” (“to me.”) Israel, thus means, “A head to me,” i.e. a place in my mind! This, explain the Rabbis, is where “Israel” truly begins, for long before there was a physical Israel (Israel the land) there was a spiritual Israel (Israel the person), the 3rd Jewish Patriarch who fathered 12 righteous sons - the 12 tribes of the Jewish people. Israel is thus, first and foremost, a living consciousness, a special way of looking at the world. To best understand that “way” you need only to understand the first Israel, Jacob our father (who was named at birth Jacob, and only later, after battling and defeating the angel of Esav, was given the additional name Israel.) Explain the Sages, Jacob’s greatest spiritual talent lies in his ability to see and reveal Godliness in even the minutest of physical details. When Jacob arrives at a place, meets a person, or witnesses an event, however seemingly mundane, he immediately “digs in” - analyzes the experience - to discover the deeper spiritual meaning. By doing so, explain the Sages, Jacob constantly grows in his holiness (closeness to God) for he serves God everywhere no matter the activity.
And this, then, is how we can fulfill, “Make Israel here,” by searching deep within ourselves, our every mental, emotional, and physical experience, until we find God’s wisdom - the lesson intended for us. Once you become well practiced in such service you will discover that terms like great and small (profound and mundane) make no difference to the Creator, for in truth, every experience (no matter the size) can be an awakening, a sacred moment of Divine consciousness that is the beauty of the metaphysical mind-space called, “Israel.”
God Bless and may we all merit to spread our own personal “Israel” to the furthest regions of the earth.