Musings From My Trip to the (Un)Holy Land: Clapping Upon Landing

Every time I land in Israel (as I did today), something peculiar happens. Upon touching the ground, the passengers on the plane begin to clap. Not one or two claps, mind you, but serious applause. Now I have not tested this theory out, and I could be way wrong, but I am willing to guess that this is a unique phenomenon reserved for Jews, planes, and the land of Israel.

There a few ways to understand this. For example, you may choose (and here I am thinking of my spiritually inclined friends) to explain this by referring to the deep mystical bond that Jews have for the land of Israel (Eretz Israel). As Rav Kook once wrote: “Our relationship towards Eretz Israel is not accidental, but rather a natural and divine one for us, as our very existence and essence is tied to the beautiful land, and all the time we are removed from our land because of our sins this did not cause a change within our fundamental values. We are always connected with the Holy Land with all our hearts and souls to the land of Israel.” So this bond would explain the excitement and passion that Jews have upon touching ground in the holy land.

But I have an alternative explanation: I say that the reason that Jews erupt into applause when arriving on land is because we do not expect to land in the first place. That is right, our unconscious Jewish psych expects to die in a horrible plane crash, when this does not happen, the hands clap in gratitude and relief. It is simply the makeup of the Jewish psych – with one tragedy after another, a pattern unfolds. For the Jew on the plane, Hitler might as well be the pilot.

Hold that thought: My brother just called and told me that Spanish people also clap when landing. Crap! There goes my theory. Stay tuned for more of my random musing from my trip to Israel.

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5 responses to “Musings From My Trip to the (Un)Holy Land: Clapping Upon Landing

  1. lol. I landed in Buenos Aires 10 days ago and people clapped for a couple of minutes as well.
    In every long flight i took this happened and I have never understood why.
    Why do we have to celebrate the pilot s job? should my boss clapp his hands every time I do well my work? lol

  2. Every time I’ve landed in Cyprus, Cypriots go nuts with the clapping. I think it has to do with how much personal connection people feel to the land and culture. Americans don’t clap when landing in America, because there is no spiritual bond to the country. It doesn’t belong to them in the way that small uni-cultural (is that a word?) nations belong to their citizens. Landing in Israel, or Cyprus, or Argentina is like meeting an old friend after a long separation. The culture is familiar and comforting and you look forward to reconnecting. Landing in America feels like you’re going to a huge impersonal amusement park or a 50,000-person event with no particular theme.

  3. “Landing in Israel, or Cyprus, or Argentina is like meeting an old friend after a long separation.” Very well put, Terry.

  4. really nice Terry.
    I guess thats why I started crying of happiness when I landed home

  5. Call me mad but after a long absence from Australia I do have a peculiar sense of relief after landing back here. But I do think thats more to do with seeing the familiar surroundingd and family/friend rather than some deep seeded connection to the land itself.

    It’s been a while since I was in Israel but I will let you know. For me I imagine its nice to come “home” and a relief to be off the marathon flight. But heah just my opinion

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