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.