July 17, 2024
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In the Amidah we pray for kibbutz galuyot (ingathering of exiles): “Sound the great shofar for our liberty, and raise a banner to gather our exiles, and gather us together from the four corners of the earth. Blessed are You, Hashem, Gatherer of the dispersed of His people Israel.”

What do we mean exactly when we ask, “gather us together from the four corners of the earth” to our land?

Obviously, we want all the Diaspora Jews to come and settle in Eretz Yisrael. But what is the purpose of kibbutz galuyot? Simply put: to build a country. After all, there is no state without a people, and kibbutz galuyot is necessary for constructing the State of Israel.

It seems to me that there is a deeper meaning behind the bracha of kibbutz galuyot hinted at in this week’s parasha and haftarah.

Vayigash tells of the end of the confrontation between Yosef and his brothers and of the reconciliation and unity in the family.

The topics of healing rifts and unification are also found in the haftarah, where the first stage of kibbutz galuyot is explained: “I will assemble them from every quarter.” Immediately following this, and also at the end of the haftarah, it is presented that kibbutz galuyot leads to the revelation of the Shechinah: “My Presence shall rest over them; I will be their God.”

This is, in fact, the order of the blessings in the Amidah: first, the brachot of the tzibbur, opening with “Sound the great shofar” and leading to the inspiration of the Shechinah: “And return in mercy to Jerusalem, Your city,” “Speedily cause the sprout of David, Your servant, to flourish.”

The message that emerges from this is clear: The Shechinah is bestowed upon klal Yisrael. Not on individuals. When klal Yisrael is in Eretz Yisrael, it is not just to prepare the infrastructure for the state; it is not just to create a strong nation; it is not just to settle the land. Kibbutz galuyot leads to the discovery of the Shechinah.

The haftarah explains that kibbutz galuyot is not the only condition—but also unity: “And you, O mortal, take a stick and write on it, ‘Of Yehuda and the Israelites associated with him’; and take another stick and write on it, ‘Of Yosef—the stick of Ephraim—and all the House of Israel associated with him.’ Bring them close to each other so that they become one stick, joined together in your hand… I will make them a single nation in the land, on the hills of Israel, and one king shall be king of them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.” (Yechezkel 37:16-17, 22)

This haftarah is written about us! We are privileged to be living the reality of kibbutz galuyot. It is even possible that most of Am Yisrael is already in Eretz Yisrael!

The continuation of kibbutz galuyot and the inspiration of the Divine among us is not in our hands, but we can be a “great shofar”—we can awaken and meet God in the Land of Israel and achieve unity. This will require vigorous cooperation and brotherhood, the unification of all of Am Yisrael to be the basis of the Divine and worthy of redemption.

The unity of the people is such an important message nowadays. Rifts exist among us and the division caused by disagreements endangers the unity of our nation. Only by connecting all of Israeli society, through genuine cooperation, in mutual support can we bring about kibbutz galuyot and merit the coming of the Mashiach.


Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon is head of Mizrachi’s Educational Advisory Board and Rabbinic Council. He serves as the rabbi of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, rosh yeshiva of the Jerusalem College of Technology and is the founder and chairman of Sulamot. He is a member of Mizrachi’s Speakers Bureau ( www.mizrachi.org/speakers ).

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