Before they left for Israel a couple of weeks ago, my friend Rachel’s husband Ariel, a wonderful rabbi, mechanech (educator) and all-around mensch, spoke in our shul about “Top Ten Obstacles to Making Aliyah (and a response).”
I have the notes here and want to throw them away – but can’t until I share two things he said.
The first is a mashal, pretty much the way he gave it over:
“There was once a fish that lived in water. He had all the food he needed, all the space to swim in, and was protected by a protective barrier. His life was fine, consistent and easy. But something was nagging at him. He just didn’t feel at home, for he was living in an aquarium. Sure, the ocean is more dangerous and presents greater challenges and hardships, and it’s very difficult leaving the bubble he is used to living in, which is the only home he knows. But deep down inside, the fish knows that he was not meant to live in a tank. He was meant for the open waters of the ocean. The Jewish people were meant to live in Israel. That is our true home.
The second thing I took away from the talk (among many, many wonderful things) was from the section on “obstacles” – objections and excuses people give about why they’re not making aliyah.
There were ten of them that he listed, and this was, “#7: It’s not my time.” This is about frum (religious) people who say, “Hashem just doesn’t have a plan for me to go to Israel (right now…).” And his response, well, one of his responses is, “would you say that ‘it’s not my time to keep Shabbat now?’”
In other words:
You may not be ready / willing / able to live in Israel, BUT that doesn’t mean it’s not part of Hashem’s plan. Don’t write it off the “bucket list,” even if it’s out of your grasp right now. Even if it’s waaaaay out of your grasp. Even if you don’t think it will EVER be within your grasp.
The mitzvah to live in the land of Israel is on the books, whether we can live it yet or not. (To be fair, views on this mitzvah within the Torah world range from “it’s optional” to “it’s mandatory” and everything in between.)
What we should never ever do is suggest, even for a second, or fool ourselves or anyone else into believing that Hashem doesn’t want us there.
… All of which said, now that I have recorded this and shared it, I can advance the cause of packing / clearing off my desk by throwing away this piece of paper – so we can get over there and actually see these wonderful friends again in person!!!