Participating in the annual AIPAC policy conference is always a powerful experience. But the intensity of this year’s conference was especially palpable, taking place only a day before Netanyahu’s historic speech to Congress. The crowds were both electric and unified; I felt connected to my fellow Jews at the conference – and to Am Yisrael as a whole – in a way that I rarely have the opportunity to feel.
On Monday morning, I waited on a security line, together with thousands of other Jews, in advance of the Prime Minister’s speech. At one point, hundreds of us stood crushed together in a very tight space; it was like being on the subway during a particularly busy rush hour. Uncomfortable as it was, I felt a profound sense of connection – as if I was immersing myself in a Mikvah of Jews! Standing there, I thought of a teaching from Rav Tzvi Hirsch of Ziditchov (1763 – 1831), the founder of the Zidichov Chassidic dynasty. The Ziditchover taught: “Mikvah Yisrael Hashem” (Jeremiah 17:13) means, simply, “The hope of Israel is God.” But the Ziditchover translated this verse differently; “Mikvah Yisrael Hashem” can be read as “The people of Israel are God’s Mikvah (ritual bath)”! And so every Friday afternoon, in preparation for Shabbos, the Ziditchover would gather a group of Jews and ask them to stand in a circle, while he would lie down on the ground in the middle of the circle – literally surrounded on all sides by the people of Israel. And he would say: “I am immersing myself in the Mikvah of God!!”
Another unforgettable moment took place during National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s speech on Monday evening. Only a few days before the […]