gap year in israel

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Once upon a time there was a king with an only daughter. As she reached marriageable age, the king sought a prince to wed his daughter. The greatest princes came for her hand but she turned everyone down. Fed up, the king decided the next person to ask would merit marrying his daughter. The next person to ask was none other than a peasant. True to his word, the king gave his daughter to the man as a bride.

She moved back to his hometown into his little shack. She was forced to labor day and night to help her husband make ends-meet. Moreover, the townspeople didn’t treat her like anything special. She wrote letter after letter complaining to her father about her plight. Finally, the king decided he would travel to see if things were really as bad as she made it sound. Word got around that the king was coming and the entire town sprang to action to ready the town for his arrival. They cleaned and decorated the peasant’s home with beautiful flowers, filled it with delicious foods, and clothed the princess in exquisite garments; all for the honor of the king.

When the king finally arrived he saw his daughter being greatly respected, living a very different life than she had led on. He questioned her about this. “All that you see was in honor of your arrival. This isn’t how things usually are, and as soon as you leave my pitiful lifestyle will return,” cried the princess. The king called his son in-law, “Is all that she says true?” With tears in his eyes, the peasant said, “I’m afraid so. I am a poor man. We have to work very hard to make ends meet. We live among simple and envious people that cannot appreciate your daughter’s qualities. I try the best that I can, but I don’t have the means to give her the life she deserves. But you are a king with the means. Please take us from here and give us an estate by the palace so that she can get all that she deserves!”

In the above parable, the princess represents the incredible wisdom of Torah. Most of the time, she is neglected in favor of social media and television. She complains to G-d about her bad treatment. Suddenly, Elul and the High Holiday season comes and everyone rushes to try and connect to Torah and glorify her. We dance with her and parade her around on the upcoming Holiday of Simchat Torah. As the conclusion of the holiday season arrives, she cries that with the departure everyone we will once again forget about her until the next High Holiday season. G-d, the King, is rightfully bothered by this.

We respond to Him, “What can we do? We live amongst foreign nations and their foreign influences. We live in physical bodies with egotistic leanings. Please! Take us with You – to our Holy Land, to our Temple, to live together as we did once upon a time. Remove our evil inclinations and allow us to see clearly what ought to be prioritized.” May we merit to carry the energy of the holiday season along with the moral awakening we received during this time into the year to come, and may all the prayers we offered be answered in the most revealed of ways with the promised era of peace in the Messianic Era.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameiach

Shabbat simchat torah
Parshat nitzavim-vayelech