When I was a little girl, I thought I was going to be a chef or a computer programmer like my aunt and do things like the rest of the world did. I never saw my future as being a religious young woman, having 5 kids B”H, and much less living in Israel or even having an Israeli-born baby. But here I am; Hashem had other plans for me. I moved to the small town of Ramat Bet Shemesh which I’m sure many of you have heard of, probably because there are many English-speaking people here. It’s a very warm and loving town. We came on our own, with no family and counting with a single hand the amount of people we knew that lived here.
Being the first ones in both sides of our family to move to Israel was no easy task emotionally. At times, we learned a few things the hard way, but I don`t regret it for a moment. Nothing compensates for being here. Since we moved we have had many family members visit and friends calling, which always makes me happy. Some people we know that stayed behind always ask questions; they always tell me that they have a friend who tells them how difficult it is to live in Israel and about the economy, how there are no jobs, no money, no food, etc. and how in the end they had to leave Israel. Now, what happens to my friends who hear all this misinformation? Here is my thought:
Image, above: Avdat Spring in the Negev Desert, one of the exquisite pearls of Land of Emuna
Many people have the dream of moving to Israel, how wonderful it will be, etc. Deep inside they feel remorse because they know they should be here. This is the Land which Hashem gave the Jews after all. Hearing someone else speak about how bad it was from the third person who’s heard it kind of gives them and excuse to not even want to try anymore. Then comes the other famous excuse: “But Israelis themselves moved out Israel because everything is so difficult there… even rabbis!” The list is endless.
We should ask ourselves the following questions:
Did they move out because they wanted a better spiritual life or a better materialistic life in the first place? Do you want to move to Israel and expect to be more comfortable, with a big house and fancy car, everything as much as your life in chutz la’aretz (outside of Israel)? If that’s the case, then I suggest you remain in chutz la’aretz because this Holy Land will spit you out if that’s your way of thinking. It’s right there in the Chumash, “A Land that consumes its inhabitants”.
However, if your primary goal is to be spiritual, to strengthen your emuna, to get closer to Hashem, to the tzaddikim, to have a better Torah education for your children, to be far away from all the TV bombardment, immorality in public places, to finally feel normal and not feel like a weirdo from another planet, then this is the place for you. Don`t get me wrong, If Hashem decides to bless you with good things, which there is plenty of here too, then B”H; but that should not be our main reason, to look for Israel’s Beverly Hills. Our focus always should be to go up the spiritual ladder.
Everyone that comes here has a different lot. We can’t be comparing ourselves with others in how our life in Israel is going to be. We can`t be hearing all the lashon hara, like the sin of the ten spies who spoke negatively about our land just so we can have an excuse and not face the fear of coming to a different country; of growing spiritually. Trust me, once you’re here you’ll realize how foolish you were for waiting so long.
I always tell my friends that once you make the decision to come and pray about it, you will see miracles. How Hashem opens the door to His people, just like in the times of Moshe Rabeinu when we left Mitzrayim. We are just like the generations of Moshe Rabeinu in another way also, while Hashem wanted to take us out to free us from slavery we still worried if the watermelon was going to taste as good as the one in Mitzrayim. We are the same slaves in chutz la’aretz, we have to let go of all our fake life of materialism and listen to Hashem calling us out to see His miracles.
Yes, it will be nice to have dollars or Euros coming in as a source of income like the “Jones” family, (while it lasts at least), but what if you don’t? Why has that stopped you until now? Do you think that it’s not good enough if Hashem provides for you in another way? Or do you think that He can`t provide for you as much here? “Mine is gold and mine is silver” says Hashem. What do you have to worry about? We need to have more emuna in Hashem, because what is meant to be for one person – their tikkun – is not meant to be for yours. So let’s stop looking to see how this one is so poor in Israel or the other one is so rich, because Hashem has a different plan for everyone, as well as different test of difficulties.
This is the Land of Prayer, the Land of Emuna; nothing comes through our own efforts and you’ll quickly realize that here. It’s not a bad thing, on the contrary, Hashem wants us to pray for everything we need. How can we not be more focused on what really matters: our spirituality, not on gashmiut or being too busy assimilating.
I remember when we were looking for house to move into, we had to pray a whole lot to find it. Money wasn’t even the issue, Hashem just wanted us to go through Him. Once we found it, I felt so accomplished because I had done what He wanted me to do, which was to trust only in Him and just pray. I saw how Hashem blessed us with even more than what I asked for.
He wants us to obtain things through prayer. Everyone knows that here, it’s everyone’s advice! We need to remind ourselves that He alone gives us what we need when He wants, where He wants, no matter how many hours we work. All we have to do is pray and strengthen our emuna, once we engrave this in our minds and hearts, we’ll have no problems no matter where we are. Like Rav Arush says: “Everything we obtain without prayer is detrimental to our spiritual life!”
There are things that are going to be a little frustrating and different than what you are used to, but those are little things that you shouldn’t let get in your way. In the end, all I can say is don’t be foolish, don’t hear all the negative stories about Israel; especially if you’ve never being here. Everyone is different, everyone has a different lot. Ask yourself: Does the person telling me these things have emuna? Do I have the necessary emuna to believe in Hashem’s promise? Do I really have an uncontrollable situation in chutz la`aretz that is making me stay? Like sick parents or share child custody.
In that note, I hope to see you soon in this Holy land which has so much to offer for the ones who want to be here for the right reasons, to do mitzvot and live a better Jewish life. I love this Land beyond words and I’m very happy and fortunate to be here and I know you will too. May Hashem bring all Jews in the world to together in the Land of Emuna as our tzaddikim have been encouraging us so we can be protected under His wings.