Monday, June 19, 2006

Tell Me Why Not

For the past year and a half, since we began telling people we are moving to Israel, we have been asked why we are going. Last night, our friends made us a gooodbye BBQ, and I talked about the reasons we are making Aliyah.

And in short, it is because after watching family and friends successfully make aliyah, we looked at our own lives, and decided that we could make it in Israel, and it was the place that we wanted to raise our family.

But I have long felt that the question was the wrong question. Instead of me being asked why I am making Aliyah, I have left unasked the question of why those who choose not to move to Israel make that choice.

We all believe that Israel was given to the Jews by God. We all believe that our ultimate destiny as a people is to be and live in Israel. Every day, we daven multiple times and ask Hashem to gather us from all corners of the world and take us to Israel.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to move to Israel. But this morning I ask all of you the question.

Why aren't you moving to Israel?


Blogger Gebrec said...

I think Judah summed it up last night.

June 19, 2006 9:52 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Yes he did, but there are (hopefully) a lot of readers who weren't there last night, and i wuld like to hear what they have to say.

June 19, 2006 10:08 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

You know, Mayer Kahana wrote a whole thing about that very same issue. It's called "The Wall". It's basically about the journey of a person coming from America, davening and crying at the Kotel for the first time, the whole emotional experience, etc. Then, it fast forwards to like a week or two later and describes how that same person prays and then has to explain why they're leaving the Kotel to go back to America. It's a scathing yet totally dead-on description of the Diaspora mentality.

June 19, 2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Why not? I am.

Why not now? The advice of all our friends and family in Israel, because we don't want to ever have to move back. But iyH when the time is right... :)

June 19, 2006 11:32 AM  
Anonymous The Shver said...

To Ezzie:

Air is aware of others who had the same "someday when it's right" approach. I had that approach 35 years ago, too, and I'm still not living in Israel. Wish I'd known to ask Air's question back then....

I applaud Air & Veev for realizing that "Im lo achshav eimatai?" is a very powerful statement in the Mishnah. Sometimes, when it's the right thing, you just do it!

This was exactly my advice to them both when they decided to get married (I can already hear the very loud "what?s" & "ahems" from around the world!) and, with that experience and its aftermath in mind, it is my advice to them (and you) today, as well.

June 19, 2006 12:30 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Ez, exactly what are your Israeli contacts telling you? Also, how are you preparing right now for that time? Are you perfecting your Hebrew speaking skills, learning more about the culture, looking at viable communities for your family, etc? Just because the time won't be right for an x number of years doesn't mean you shouldn't be preparing right now and every day. Doing that makes the concept more real instead of some abstract vision that is labled, "the right time".

June 19, 2006 12:46 PM  
Blogger bec said...

funny question. we asked ourselves months ago why we haven't yet made aliyah although we've wanted to for years.
we're leaving the US for good in the summer of 2007.
but i think from now on, when people question our decision, i'm going to throw your question right back at them.

June 20, 2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

What I am not understanding is why the Rabbaim are not insistant that we go? When they decided certain shaitels were usser a decree came, and most people listened to it. When they decided that there were bugs in NY's water, a decree came, and most people listened. So where is the decree? While I love the idea of living in Israel, realistically I am very hesitant. I have a heard people quoting various sources as to why we must make aliyah, if it is so necessary, where is the decree? Why arnt mainstream rabbaim encouraging everyone to go?

June 20, 2006 5:09 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Heidi, when the Jews were allowed to leave Babylonia and move back to Israel to rebuild the Beit Ha'Mikdash, why did such a small percentage go? Why wasn't there a decree by the main-stream Rabbis then? It's hard to say that the reason is because they had life so good there, and that's where I'm leaning, but that's terrible if it's true.

June 21, 2006 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

I dont know. With everything like it is today, I cannot believe that Hashem would put us in a situation where we are not supposed to listen to our Rabbis. I cant believe that all the mainstream rabbaim of our generation are corrupt. Dont get me wrong, I think making aliyah is an excellent choice, but at this point in time, I cannot honestly say that it is for everyone.

June 21, 2006 11:21 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Heidi -

No one said mainstream rabbis were corrupt for not encouraging Aliyah. And I would guess that if you asked almost any mainstream rabbi about making Aliyah, he would be encourage you to go.

He just isn't going to stand in front of shul and insist thateveryone pack their bags.

June 21, 2006 1:40 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Why not?

June 21, 2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

Thats my question also. Why not? Again, I think its an amazing thing to do, and I am extremly supportive of people I know who choose go. However, I cannot say that going to Israel is what I am supposed to be doing. For some people it really makes sense. They have family there and they have means of supporting themselves. This is not the case for everyone though.

AT can you honestly say you would still be going if you had no family there? or if your family was unsupportive?

June 21, 2006 3:22 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

I can honestly say I don't know. But it is an unfair question, since they are there, so no matter what my answer is now, it doesn't matter.

June 21, 2006 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

It's just something to think about. Ideally I would love to go. But realistically, I do not see how I would be happy there. Our families would be devastated if we went. It would be a battle just to get there. Then, once we are there, we would be alone. Our children would rarely see their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. While I am sure we would make friends, I cannot imagine it would fill the void of having no family. Maybe it is the social worker in me talking, but I cannot believe that is what Hashem expects of me.

June 21, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger DodahR said...

Heidi, How can you say that Hashem doesn't expect us to move to Israel...It is the Land that he gave to us. And just as our children are given to us by Hashem, and we love them and look after them no matter what, we must love the Land and look after it. Hashem does not give us things that we can not handle. He tests us to make us stronger people, and Jews. Life is not about all the materialistic things we are worried to leave behind in America. Of course it is difficult to leave our families and friends. No one feels that more than me. But it is the year 2006, and Skype and MSN exist! People travel back and forth to Israel like it's a road trip. And the people of Israel become our family as well.
Everyone has to make their own decision. But think carefully, don't just dismiss the idea...

June 21, 2006 6:39 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Heidi, no-one is saying that moving to Israel fits every-one, but what does that have to do with the Rabbis not declaring that it's a Mitzvah for us to go?
Leaving family behind if a very hard thing. Unlike Air, I moved here with no family. I made Aliyah on my own. I do have cousins here, but we are not close at all and have not spoken for years. My only family here consists of my in-laws. It does get hard some-times. I havent seen my brother in almost 2 years. I have a niece I have never met. My solice is that Israel is where I am supposed to be, and that keeps me strong. I can visit them, and they can visit me. On top of that, my move has triggered the Aliyah bug in the rest of my family, and my sisters and parents will be moving here within the next couple of years. You dont know that that wouldn't happen with you. I can tell that there's a fight within you on the topic. I hope that other peoples' experiences and thoughts will help you find peace in the matter.

June 22, 2006 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

OC- you are right in that I am struggling with it. Part of my issue really does have to do with the Rabbaim. My husband, who was raised frum from birth, was never once encouraged to consider aliyah. Understandably, I can see why he is struggling with this idea. While we both love the land of Israel, we do not feel the intense passion that most aliyah makers feel. We have no family there, and very few friends.

We are both truth seekers and aim to do what is right. But, I am not sure if that mentality is enough to get us there and keep us there. If our families were going, there would be no question. We would go. I dont understand the mentality that going to Israel is like a "road trip". A couple thousand dollar road trip maybe.

Conceptually I totally understand why people make aliyah, and why it is important. I just feel that if it were that important, the Rabbaim would urge everyone to go. Of course if I went and spoke to someone and said I want to go, should i? he would say yes. But what if I went to someone and said, "I really dont want to go, I would miss my family terribly and Im not sure how I would make a living. Should I go?" I somehow doubt he would still encourage me to go. However, if I went to a rav and said "covering my hair is a pain and I dont like the way it feels. should i still do it?" I am almost 100% sure he would say "yes still do it." This is my struggle. I have worked too hard to be where I am right now to not be doing the right thing. I do not feel an intense passion to go, but I do feel an intense passion to do the right thing. Thats really where my struggle is.

June 22, 2006 11:39 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Very nicely articulated, Heidi.

June 22, 2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

I agree with Air. Very nicely put. I can more clearly see what you're saying. I really truly don't have the answer for why Rabbaim haven't made a decree. Even with my aforementioned, cynicism, I do believe that there is a struggle, at least within the Modern Orthodox hierarchy, to make a decree with the ramifications you mentioned. I'm sure there are indivdual Rabbaim who would tell you that it's a Mitzvah to go, but I don't think that a solid unified decree is coming any time soon. Good luck with your quest. The fact that you're even seeking the answer is a solid step in the right direction.

June 22, 2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Great Auntie Susan said...


June 28, 2006 4:17 PM  

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