Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Windows of Opportunity

by Akiva at Mystical Paths, cross posted at Dreaming of Moshiach.

YNet posts a front page article on the topic of whether to stay in Israel or not. That's the conversation among the lead Israeli secular elites, all from the top zionist families of the past. Is it worth it to stay and be Israeli, or "The choice of whether to stay or leave. Whether we should leave our children with this exact life, or give them a new start in a new place. Whether we should offer them Canada, or Australia, or the United States."

While the secular elites are debating whether there's enough Western material excesses to keep them in Israel or whether they can get more in Canada, Australia, or the US, the orthodox Western Jews are having the reverse debate. Should they come to Israel?

Is there a chiyuv, a halachic requirement to be IN ISRAEL? I'm not going to go into that here, far better halachic minds than mine have been discussing that for quite a while now. Though, I would ask this question to anyone who says there is not...please explain to me why we don't have a chiyuv right now to bring the, or at least prepare to bring, the korban pesach (the logic I believe is similar, and ends with a similarly unsatisfying shrug for an answer).

The Jews of Bavel (Babylon) did not return. Their Torah lives on (the Talmud Bavli), but the communities did not. The Jews of the West have not returned...

It seems to me that there was a window of opportunity to leave to Eretz Israel, with maximum kavod (respect). All asset prices were up (housing, stocks), and Nefesh b'Nefesh along with the Jewish Agency were literally battling each other over who could do the most to get you to come.

But, like the Jews of Bavel, we didn't come. Interestingly, Ezra HaSofer (zt'l) returned from Bavel with 3,000. Nefesh b'Nefesh is now bringing 3,000 per year (which, btw, is a 90% increase from 5 years ago.) We built the beautiful synagogues and yeshivas and mikvahs, and supported Israel from afar. (We did send our children, at least to learn, planting good seeds for the future though.)

So Hashem changed the situation... there might be a little to worry about, and if you were there you could make a difference. Terrorism wasn't an only Israel thing anymore. We still didn't come.

Ok, we didn't appreciate the opportunity, the tide began to swing. The Jewish Agency stopped trying (their new idea is to put all their money into bringing reform Jews, who have no interest in coming, good luck with that.) Housing prices started to fall. Freak natural disasters started hitting major American cities. We didn't come.

Housing prices started to collapse. Freak natural disasters started hitting American cities every couple months. The stock market went wild, up, down, up, down. The situation in Israel cried for some Western Jewish influence. We didn't come.

Housing prices collapsed. The markets started a steady fall. Major financial tremors began. Freak natural disasters starting hitting American cities every 1-2 months. We didn't come.

The mortgage market completely collapsed. A credit crunch began. Markets fell major percentages. The value of the dollar began collapsing. Freak natural disasters started hitting American cities every 3 weeks! No change, the Jews aren't coming.

It was about as easy as could be, but now it's getting progressively harder to come. Assets may not be disposable anymore without major losses. Can't sell the house, maybe not even the car? Hopefully, Jewish communities haven't been buried in a snowstorm, hit with a hurricane, or a freak tornado, or a flood.

I'm worried, my friends, for the window of opportunity to come to Eretz Israel easily seems to be progressively closing.

It's NOT an easy transition. But, it's the place for Jews to be, it's the land that Hashem gave us, it's a place where even a few people can make a big difference, and a place with Torah like no other.

And the opportunity to come b'kavod seems to be fading.

Support the Path! - Posted at Mystical Paths,


Anonymous said...

Learn more Chassidus and leave golus, Akiva.

josh said...

Another simile:
I'm under the impression that the main reason for the existence of American diaspora over the past few hundred years was to create the Schottenstein 'havruta' Talmud edition. With this amazing initiative, 'ordinary', non-yeshiva educated Jews could read gemara and get an easy to understand explanation on the spot for any tractate, something virtually impossible until now without access to a talmid chacham.

Artscroll has completed the English edition of the Bavli, and the Yerushalmi is already under way. The Hebrew edition of the Bavli is almost 75% done as well.

Akiva said...

Anonymous - mentally, or physically? Already took care of the physical part.

גילוי said...

akiva, as with everything related to the Geulah, physical comes first. Now that you have left physical Galus, you can leave spiritual Galus. That is your zechut.

Anonymous said...

Akiva, nothing changed by you. If anything, it looks like a yerida: a) gaiva increased, b) Ahavat Yisroel decreased.

Chassidut teahces that the physical comes from the spiritual. Tzedaka brings parnosa, not the opposite, etc.

Need a Rebbe to guide you. Try here:

Akiva said...

Umm, ok, do I know you? And, what are you talking about (how do your comments relate to the article)?

Devash said...

Akiva, Anonymous clearly is on the defensive. It means he has a guilty conscience about not being in Israel himself so he's trying to make out how not only are you not better than he is for having made aliyah, but in fact he is superior to you because he is not guilty of your perceived 'sins.' It's an open and shut case of projection. It's a good sign that he feels guilty, but the healthy way to handle it, both physically and spiritually, is to let it bring about teshuva, not look to pin it on someone else.

You're fine. You've said nothing wrong. Don't let it get to you. It was a good post. And of course you're 100% right.

Anonymous said...

Should it be that someone who thinks "kavod" means financial matters should be running a blog? Better than taking pidyonos, at least.

Jewish Person said...

Devash, you are on target!

Akiva said...

A poor man is not humbled? Should one flee in fear with only what he can carry? That is not humbling?

To go with a 40 foot lift into a large apartment, movers doing all the work, is not b'kavod?

This article discusses financial situation, and is clearly talking about whether a person is humbled or operating in a respectful financial situation. It's not an article of spiritual level.

Or are you saying it's preferable to lose all of one's possessions? While there are some great merits to those who struggle and live in poverty with a focus on Torah, never have I learned we should intentionally impoverish ourselves. We may sacrifice our circumstances for Torah, but we don't go intentionally creating such a circumstance under the hope of receiving the merits.

After all, we may not be up to such a challenge.

Anonymous said...

Akiva,will you blog about safety in Israel?

Anonymous said...

Ideally all jews would be in israel . if the late lubavitcher rebbe ever moved to israel ( he never even visited ) millions of jews would have moved there . He said geulah will begin at 770 so lubavvitch does its keiruv till the rebbe returns . . If israel also wasnt run by erev rav many jews would feel more compfortable for all reasons in returning . Some people feel more compfortable with the non jewish anti semite then the jewish one ,,, witness the satmars.

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