Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thirty Years in Israel

What can I write that I haven’t already written? That there isn’t a day that I don’t thank HaShem for bringing me here to live. That I’m constantly overcome with gratitude to Him for letting me stay. That I feel bad for all the Jews who haven’t taken advantage of the chance to come live in their homeland.

Sometimes I’m obnoxiously smug about the fact that I live in The Holy Land. Other times I’m officiously defensive about how good life is here. Occasionally relatives or friends, still living in America, remind me of all the wars and terror attacks we’ve lived through here.

Their words are true. This past week I’d planned to be on the train that the suicide bomber wanted to blow up. However, I wasn’t on the train and the terrorist was arrested before he could carry out his act of murder. So no one was hurt or murdered in that situation.

The last thing I desire in life is to be in or near a terror attack. If I am murdered in one in Israel, though, I know I would be well taken care of. Zaka volunteers would collect my body parts and no one would try to do an autopsy. I’d be buried according to Jewish law and the cost of the burial would be miniscule compared to funerals in America. Most important, I would know why I was murdered: because I was a proud Jew living in the only Jewish country in the world.

The rest of the world seems to have fallen on its head. Why was there a terror attack in Nice? What was the terrorist’s motivation? Pure hate? And how come he was able to murder eighty-five people before he was finally eliminated. I can’t imagine that ever happening in Israel with all our reserve soldiers and plain-clothes policeman everywhere.

Do I feel safer in Israel than anywhere else? I do, but that’s not why I live here. I live here because it’s a commandment given in the Torah.

My oldest son celebrated his Bar Mitzvah four years after we moved to Israel. At the Kiddush one of the rabbis praised my husband and me for having taken the huge step of aliyah. A year later the same sentiments were expressed at my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I found the praise somewhat disconcerting and hoped I’d done something worthwhile with my life besides making aliyah. Now, after marking our thirtieth anniversary of moving to Israel, I realize it is a major accomplishment. 

This coming week we’ll be fasting and marking the beginning of the three week period of mourning that culminates with the ninth of Av, the date both the first and second Holy Temples were destroyed.  Our Sages teach that in every generation in which the Temple is not rebuilt it is as if we have destroyed it once again. With all my heart I believe that by living in the land Hashem gave us and following His Torah and loving His people I am doing my part to help rebuild our Temple. I pray it will happen soon.  

courtesy of labelsonline

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