Pilgrim or Tourist?

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

As Sandy and I prepare to embark on our congregational tour, I find myself pondering whether I am traveling to Israel as a tourist or a pilgrim. While tourists travel for leisure and seek pleasure or entertainment, pilgrims often seek a deeper connection to the universe, God, or a deeper truth. Tourists may enjoy their trip, but pilgrims hope to be transformed by it.

So, which am I? A pilgrim or a tourist? I hope to be both. As a tourist, I can marvel at the rich history embedded within every stone, savor the delicious food and drink that tantalizes our taste buds, and support a nation striving against overwhelming destructive forces, both internal and external. However, as a pilgrim, I travel with an open heart, mindful of the millions of people who have walked these same stones before me in search of a deeper and more meaningful truth.


Image by Shlomaster from Pixabay

I am inspired by the dream of Theodore Herzl, who envisioned the future State of Israel as a refuge for Jews facing persecution and destruction. The rebirth of the Hebrew language calls me to deepen my ability to read Jewish sacred literature and grasp its nuance and wisdom. And the sacred places, once inhabited by our ancestors, still offer their wisdom that can help us recognize the deeper nature of the world and our role within it.

I hope to always walk the streets of Tsfat, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem as both a tourist and a pilgrim, finding great enjoyment in seeking greater truths.

Please join us throughout our ten days of travel, so that we can experience this transformative trip together.

Rabbi Barry Diamond