Don’t Run Away

I consider myself an Aliyah “cheerleader and motivator” which means that I encourage Aliyah from a positive and optimistic perspective. I have always advocated the need to run towards Israel and not away from America (or wherever else Jews live). It is for this reason why I cannot stand with those people who are posting – all over social media – that Jews need to “leave America NOW, before it’s too late!” Yes, every Jew outside Eretz Yisrael should begin preparations to come home as soon as possible… but not because of riots, looting or Covid-19. Let me explain.

When I played tag or “ringalevio” with my friends (do kids still play that amazing game?), we always had a home-base. While touching that home-base, nobody could get us out… we were perfectly safe! I have been thinking a lot about this recently since many people look at Israel and consider it a nice, big, comfortable “home-base”. Yes, Israel must be safe for every Jew on the planet, but that is not why you move here. Sorry to disappoint you, but if you sell your house, quit your job and take your kids out of school to run to “perfectly-safe-home-base” Israel… you might be very disappointed… very quickly.

Please do not move here because of George Floyd or the lunatics who use that tragedy for personal gain. Its ok, and quite natural, for these recent events to speed up your Aliyah plans but I beg you – literally beg you – that this should not be the main reason you move here. I agree that the last 2 weeks have opened many eyes to what is really happening in the USA and that serious decisions need to be made but there’s a big difference between something being a catalyst for Aliyah vs the reason for Aliyah.

Dearest brothers and sisters; there’s only one reason why you should make the life-changing move to Israel. It is because you want to be part of the Jewish Nation and, since 1948, the only place that can happen is in the Land of Israel. That’s right… although you won’t like these next few words, I write them because nobody else will: There is no Am Yisrael outside of Eretz Yisrael.

When was the creation of Am Yisrael finalized? When we left Egypt? That was Part I. When we received the Torah? That was Part II… but there was one part left. Moshe told us (Devarim, chapter 27) that when we enter the Land of Israel, 6 tribes are to stand on Mount Gerizim, 6 tribes on Mount Ebal and the Kohanim are to stand with the Aron in the middle – in the city of Shechem. On that day, when that happens, and only when that happens, Moshe prophesized (verse 9); “Pay attention and listen, Israel. Today you have become a nation…” That awesome event (described also at the end of Chapter 8 in sefer Yehoshua) was the culmination and transformation of the People of Israel into the Nation of Israel… and it only happened after we entered the Land.

For the next 1,350 years (minus a few years here and there) Am Yisrael lived in the land. There were many challenges, wars, plagues and even mass destruction of Jews inside Israel but as long as we were there, the concept of the Nation existed. Unfortunately, after the destruction of the 2nd Bet Ha’Mikdash, we were exiled from Israel and dispersed all over the world. At that moment, the status of our Nation was put on “hold”. We remained the Jewish people and we stuck together as best as we could. We built communities and produced the Talmud Bavli and thousands of holy seforim. The Jewish people refused to become extinct and despite the odds, we remained alive and strong! Many communities started to pop-up in Israel (especially at the time of the Arizal) but they were still communities…

In 1948 everything changed. For the first time in close to 2,000 years, there was a Jewish government and a Jewish army. We were independent! Although that government was – and still is – far from the way it needs to be, this independence was much more than just another country in the UN. We, the Jewish people, were back in our land, defending our borders and speaking our language… it was the rebirth of Am Yisrael! The “hold button” was no longer pressed and the status of the Nation returned.

Just like we became a Nation in the Land of Israel in the year 2488, we became a Nation – once again – in the Land of Israel in 5708. What started in the Land… continued in the Land… and remains only in the Land. Therefore, to be part of Am Yisrael one needs to live, thrive and settle Eretz Yisrael. Being a Jew anywhere else – at this time in history – means that you are part of the Chosen People, part of the 5,000 year old heritage and 100% my beloved brother or sister… but not part of the Nation. This is the reason – and only reason – to make Aliyah!

Therefore, please make this your dream – whether or not – your favorite store was looted. Make this your goal – whether or not – your community was hit hard by Coronavirus. Make this your plan, your ambition and the thing that drives you, night and day, to reconnect to your Nation – to Am Yisrael!

May that day happen very soon. Amen!