Allow me to go all “starry-eyed North American” for a minute. Because that’s how I felt reading this article by Rafi Miller (a YU student), which sums up more articulately than I ever could my own spiritual reasons for making aliyah.
Here are his main points… read the full article for depth and footnotes, but I am mainly borrowing his words because they are so articulately laid out.
- The Torah (duh): The Land of Israel is essential to God’s vision for the People of Israel.
- The Chiyuv: Settling the Land is itself still obligatory today, according to the Ramban and others.
- The Kavannah: Nearness to God is best achieved in the Land of Israel.
- The Yearning: Ever since Moses pleaded with God, our people has longed for the Land of Israel. We ourselves pray every day to return… I must ask myself: Do I mean the words I say?
- The Suffering: As of now-ish, 22,993 Jews have given their lives for Israel since 1860. This is the only one of Miller’s arguments that doesn’t, in itself, resonate as much with me. That they have suffered is not an argument to go live there. But his ultimate question on this issue is, “What would I be willing to sacrifice?” Wherever we live, we must be willing to stick our necks out for Israel or it will quickly and quietly cease to exist.
- The Eis Ratzon: This is a unique moment in Jewish history; we can arrive in Israel painlessly and quickly from anywhere in the world. The yearning and sacrifice he’s already mentioned has brought us to this moment. Will we be so arrogant as to not snatch up this unique opportunity?
- The Future: Lakewood is great, Toronto is great, Baltimore is fabulous… but the Jewish future is in Israel. Communities here in exile may implode, explode, splinter beyond recognition or even thrive in their own way, but to me, at least – it seems it’s time to go home.
Again, this is a synopsis. Read the original, please!