By Ariella Bracha Waldinger
I was 54 years old when my husband and I made Aliyah to live in the Old City of Jerusalem. Prior to making Aliyah, I worked for the same company for 26 years and had a career I loved. I was successful, respected, and making great money.
Why leave? We need your expertise!
We moved into a big house in the Jewish community soon after my conversion. It was gorgeous. I decorated it beautifully and loved it. I was involved in the community and extremely happy.
Why leave your beautiful home, your new Jewish life?
My Orthodox conversion was a huge adjustment for my daughters who were 21 and 26 at the time. Their father was deceased, and we had an extremely close relationship. Aliyah would bring yet another adjustment.
Why do you have to leave?
“Life is a journey of the soul,” I said. “The Jewish people have a homeland that is vital to their spiritual destiny. I must fulfill my mission in this world. I cannot deny my purpose and destiny. It is calling to me.”
A Recipe for Disaster?
At the time of our Aliyah, I had been an orthodox Jew for only four years. I knew two people in the Old City, had no Jewish connections, no Hebrew language skills, and read Hebrew poorly. I had no close friends in Israel, no family to run to if times got tough and no idea what to do once we settled in. Was this a recipe for disaster?
Those thoughts never entered my mind. In a powerful, inner way, I knew with a certainty I had never felt before, that I was returning to my true home and my life would never be the same. I had to be there!
“A Jew belongs in the Land inheritance gifted to the Jewish people” and for me, that topped all other considerations: the big beautiful house, the great career, my shiny red Saab convertible, my friends, even my precious children.
Israel: The Place of Prophecy
After Aliyah, I recognized I had little understanding of the full significance of the Holy Land. I was divinely guided to the teachings of Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, OBM. He explains
In Eretz Yisrael, the place of prophecy, the influx of the holiness of the Land informs the soul and lends itself to inspiration, deeper intuition and heightened spiritual experiences. The Land with all its holiness supports the soul in a very real and meaningful way.
My Soul Purpose and Destiny
Some 17 years later, my love for this land has only become stronger. I have become rooted in our land inheritance with all its blessings. I have often wondered how I came to love Eretz Yisroel so deeply, how my soul became so attached to its soul, given who I once was and from where I came.
In the same breath, I have wondered why this feeling doesn’t manifest for all Jews, especially those who have spent time in Eretz Yisroel. The Torah is so clear about our connection to the land.
Defeating the Doubts
I surmise Amalek is at work because Amalek represents spiritual doubt and a lack of clarity about what matters most in life. The gematria of Amalek is sofek—doubt.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, author of over 50 books on Torah philosophy responds to those doubts and states,
Any Torah-believing, G-d-fearing Jew should need no more than this posuk to straighten out his or her heart. Interpret it, twist it, ignore it, do whatever you want with this posuk, but know that the Talmud understands it only one way:
The rabbis taught: A Jew should live in Eretz Yisroel, even in a city in which the majority of the inhabitants are idol worshippers than in the Diaspora even in a city in which the majority of the inhabitants are Jewish. For, one who lives in Eretz Yisroel is one who has a G-d, and one who lives in the Diaspora is like one who does not have a G-d, as it says, I am G-d your G-d Who took you out of Egypt to give you the Land of Canaan to be your G-d. (Vayikra 25:38). (Kesuvos 111a)”
“Why am I choosing to live outside the Land? And How does that affect my soul?
Quiet your mind and allow your soul to respond.
I believe the whys will disappear.
Hope to see you soon!
- Featured Photo from Irina at Pixabay