16 December 2018

What is the best reason for aliyah?

8 Tevet 5779 | ח" טבת ה"תשעט

This is the destiny of Israel according to the HOLY BIBLE (Bamidbar/Numbers 34:1-15). The map is in our indigenous language! See here for the English as well, and picture sources.

We are told many times in the book of Bereshith בראשית and other books of the Torah about the land where we are supposed to keep all the laws of haShem; and, deep down, most Jews know that at some point we are all supposed to be living here.

The problem is that, unless we have no other choice, people tend to follow one of Newton's Laws of Motion: a body at rest tends to stay at rest, called inertia. Its corollary, a body in motion tends to stay in motion? Not so much.

Jews especially. We (not all of us, but a great many) tend to dig deep roots wherever we end up living and want to stay there even though we have been "known" as wanderers. I must confess that despite having experienced anti-Semitism a great deal during my childhood,  it took me more than five (5) decades to get here even though I really wanted to come! Two main reasons stand out: 1) no connection to a Jewish community for the most part, and 2) no connection to Eretz Yisrael, except the fact that my maternal grandmother was born here. Yes, my mother's mother, not some relative from the Roman Empire!

Enough about me for now. I think, though, that I have found the best reason to make aliyah. You don't have to want to be here for the sake of the State or its structure to want to include yourself among us in our Holy Land.

It isn't because Israel is the safest place for a Jew to live, or that we've found the holy grail when it comes to antisemitism, as Theodor (Binyamin) Herzl had hoped we would. It certainly isn't because the laws here favor Jews, or that we feel we've got a grip on the land we live on, or that our leadership is the greatest. Oh, no. We are challenged on all these things every moment! As my second ulpan teacher said to us, "Every morning when we wake up and Israel still exists is a miracle" in Hebrew that even back then I could understand. It's also not for the benefits we receive on arrival although they do help somewhat during the most difficult part, the transition.

Here is the thought I had recently as to why it is imperative for every Jew to at least make the effort to think of this place as home and to endeavor to live here:

Israel is the only place in the world where the Jewish People as a whole has the obligation to take responsibility for itself, whether in how we think of ourselves, in how we rule ourselves or in how we conduct our relationships, both good and bad, with the rest of the world. It is the greatest opportunity for us to relearn how to be a nation without us being dictated to — if we have confidence in haShem and are proactive enough.

After 2,000 years, give or take, we have to figure out how to do everything without saying, "Yes, master. Anything you say, master..." to other human leaders. Yes, even after 70 years we still have a lot to learn. We have been taking bad advice from most of the nations around and we are still suffering greatly from following it. Especially when we live or have lived in a nation that has treated us relatively decently compared to the others, as the US has. Manfred Gerstenfeld, who usually writes for Israel National News, has this piece of advice for Jews from the United States, post-Pittsburgh, at The Algemeiner:

American Jews should reach the obvious conclusion: Jews in the world, including in the US and Israel, are a community whose fate is one and the same. They are subject to similar threats, which may differ only in the way and the time frame in which they occur.

Not only American Jews, but every Jew who still lives outside of Israel and who thinks he or she is safer there.

It takes more than physical strength to do the job, especially for the Jewish People: We need to be on G-d's side first and foremost. It's more important than to be worried about how the rest of the world thinks of us.

The non-Jews who look over our shoulder constantly because we took orders from the international community to allow them to stay among us are, to say the least, quite bothersome. Privacy is the one thing we need and don't seem to be able to attain mainly because we dare not say YOU CANNOT LIVE HERE. Even though our country — the portion of the Promised Land we have been able to cobble together until now — is pitifully small. But, the Jewish People is the responsible party for how things are done, or not, here in Eretz Israel.

Wasn't it the gentile prophet Bil'am (usually spelled Baalam in English) who said: "...it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations"? So why do the gentiles today insist that we not do so?

And why should we care? Here's a video that explains the war against the Jews and explains how to "get out of the dock" we've been in for the last 2,000 years. I've listened to it more than once, which is more than I can say for most videos. I intend to listen to it and others like it, more. I don't care that Ruth Wisse is a professor and not a rabbi (not that I don't respect rabbis. I suspect she does too, actually. Else, why is this video on Torah Café, of all places?). Perhaps this is one of the messages we've sorely needed to hear all along.

Could it also be that a site called The Rainbow Swastika, which deals with "New Age" people (a misnomer — they have been around since the days of Shabtai Zvi, at least) and their camouflaged and open antisemitism, explains it better than anyone else today? Read and judge for yourself.

Another objection is that a basic misunderstanding between American and Israeli Jews has been under the spotlight for some time. Evelyn Gordon has a great discussion on that topic; I'd only like to add that, among the "Jews of no religion," there were (and possibly still are) those whose families didn't have the wherewithall to afford membership at a synagogue, summer camp and Hebrew day school for their children. These things all cost major money, and it wasn't so long ago when Jewish communities didn't consider that some of their potential constituents might be poor. I was one of them once upon a time.

Need I remind you that in Israel, Hebrew is the native language, and every school for Jewish children is a Hebrew-speaking school? And who needs a special summer camp when everything else is at least relatively Jew-friendly to begin with? So, we can all see how the societal context of where one lives has great impact on how a Jew in a foreign land perceives his/her need for special Jewish movements to help retain Jewish identity — even despite the cost — even if religious practices hold no relevance for him or her.

I think our biggest problem, however, is that we haven't broken the habit we acquired after the destruction of the First Temple of relying on patron nations to help us stay afloat when we had our own country. Even though most of the greatest devices and conventions in the modern world were invented and developed by Jews, especially Israelis, we still mainly rely on the nations as we have since that long-ago period: Between our two temples our patron, particularly after the end of that period, was Koresh (Cyrus) of Persia. After the times of Hanukkah our patron was Rome...until we were banished from our Holy Land, sent to the four corners of the earth, and left to fend for ourselves.

Today, it is the United States. But America "dances at two weddings" as the saying goes. She also supports the "Palestinian" Arabs. She may have withdrawn money from them recently, but I imagine that people are taking bets on whether the "Deal of the Century" President Trump and Jared Kushner have been working on will actually restore a large part of that financial support to them. I think it more than likely will. It's part of a pattern: As usual, what has been given to us in the past was largely symbolic; and what has been given to our enemies has been material. Unless we stop relying on nations as patrons, no matter how friendly they seem, that will not change. For example, why does US President Trump still sign waivers for the US Embassy here in Yerushalayim?

Our only real, true and faithful patron is the Holy One, blessed be He, who established us on this earth through our forefathers and the Twelve Tribes — Ha Qadosh Barukh Hu.

As for the "when" — now is always the best time to further whatever plans you have...until it isn't. Serendipitously, another article, by R' Y.Y. Jacobson, explains plainly why the children of Jacob (Ya'acov) must keep the spirit imparted by the study hall (beit hamidrash) while wearing the garb of Esau (Esav) - laws guaranteeing the life of the Jewish People in its own land, the military backing it up with firm, consistent enforcement. Tehillim are especially important now, even when things are relatively quiet — if they ever get that way again.

The best reasons to make aliyah to Israel are still: Israel is the best place to grow up, get over our free-floating hatred for our fellow Jews, and let the Holy One, blessed be He, take SOVEREIGNTY over us at long last!

Recommended reading: The imperative response to terror: Sovereignty! | Hebrew עברית

May the Go'el Yisrael be revealed speedily!


CDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...


We have a rare opportunity to downvote the comments generated by positive responses to Gideon Levy from Haaretz here! He represents all that is reprehensible about Jews who hate fellow Jews, especially those who want to reclaim land that was STOLEN FROM US!

This article states loud and clear that he feels NO SYMPATHY FOR THE [JEWISH] SETTLERS - even the ones whose in-utero babies are killed!!!

Do it now, while free access is granted! So far, the regular readers have outvoted us. But read carefully before downvoting - some of the comments are on our side!

CDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Also, I got a message titled FYI FLASH: Chief rabbis from Israel [I don't know which rabbis, I'll write back here when I find out. I have put in the question - CDG] "are requesting [for us, the Jewish People] to say simultaneously WORLDWIDE on Monday, December 17th [today], the prayer "Shema Israel" to save Am Israel, the people of Israel, from all harsh decrees.

"This is scheduled for 9pm [21:00] in Israel, 2pm in New York and Miami, and 11am in Los Angeles...check for your location.

"Please share and forward as much as possible."

CDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

As for the anti-Zionism that has risen up of late, you must read this article by Bret Stephens (NYT, then The Seattle Times): Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism

Thanks to the one and only Jack Engelhard, here.