Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Map of Souls

Adina Soclof

The spring morning was still cool. A light breeze caressed me as I gazed up at the Kosel. On the other side of the mechitzah, my son was donning his tefillin and preparing to be called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah. My happiness must have shone on my face because my old elementary school friend looked at me and said, “You’re glowing.” I nodded. “Where did you get this love of Eretz Yisrael?” she asked.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I believe that every Jew has a special place in his heart forEretzYisrael. But sometimes we need someone to stoke the dormant embers of this love, or just to turn us inwards and show us that it’s within us. For me, that person wasMrs.Gopstein.Mrs.Gopstein was an Israeli who somehow found herself in our Brooklyn classroom. On the first day of the year she unfurled a creased map of Israel that seemed as ancient as the Land itself and taught us the geography of Israel: cities, coasts, mountains, valleys, plains, and the Kinneret, that one freshwater source that the Land depended on. When we had mastered that, with what seemed like the magical swirl of her weathered hands, she would draw a map of Israel on the blackboard and challenge us: “Rivkaleh, come make a dot and show us where Chevron is.” “Adinale, come make a dot and show us where Tzfat is.” “Malkale, come up to the board and show us whereYerushalayimIrHakodesh is.”Mrs.Gopstein knew Tanach by heart. She taught us Chumash with the map as her assistant, stressing the places where the Avos and Imahos walked, where she had walked and played as a child. She made a dent in the map with her finger: “Banot, here is Be’er Sheva, this is where Avraham lived, this is where he made a brit with Avimelech.” “Banot, right here is Yerushalayim, where Avraham brought Yitzchak for the Akeidah, and later onYaakov slept there and dreamed his dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder to Shamayim.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without