7 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
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Finding a Home

Rivka wanted to move for the sake of her daughters’ education and her husband’s spiritual growth. But the price tag was way beyond her budget...


Take the Hint, Part 2

While all this had been going on, a couple of families that we were very friendly with had also made aliya, and were also having trouble finding the ‘right’ community. They’d been all over the place, and had been giving us a running report of their findings, so we had a few initial ideas.
It couldn’t be a big city – the girls needed freedom and a bit of green space. So Jerusalem was out. I didn’t want to go anywhere ‘new’ – it had to be somewhere established, where we could really gage what kind of community it was, and see if we would fit ok.
It had to have some Anglos – after trying to ‘be’ Israelis for three years, I realised that we actually weren’t, and we needed a few more people with the same sort of background, idiosyncrasies and social mores.
The school had to be a serious school; a school where there were other students who didn’t have videos and internet at home, so that my girls wouldn’t feel so isolated. It couldn’t be very expensive (after years of climbing out of debt, we simply weren’t prepared to fall back into it again); and it couldn’t be dripping with materialism and western values.
In short, it sounded like we were after a community that only existed in our imagination.
On Thursday, we made a short list of three likely candidates, and asked our Rav for his advice. He gave one community in particular the green light. It’s a community we’d both heard of, but neither of us was particularly keen on it. I tried to call the estate agent for the community, to see what the price range was – but she wasn’t answering. You’ll see why G-d fixed it that way in a minute.
So Friday morning, we got in the car and decided to take a look round. It’s a community of around 700 families, including a fair number of Anglos. I thought I didn’t really know anyone there. We literally had been driving for a minute, when my husband stopped the car, and said: “I know that bloke.”
Long story short, it was a couple we knew in London, but hadn’t seen for 10 years. Long story short, they invited us for Shabbat – that Shabbat – and we went. We went with some serious reservations and prejudices about what we would find; but by the end of Shabbat, we could see that G-d had found us the right place.
There was a wonderful school for the kids; a very warm, friendly community with enough Anglos to feel at home, but not so many to feel like we were back in Hendon. There were seven synagogues, and also a yeshiva located within the community, which set my husband’s soul on fire, when he went there to pray maariv.
Wow. We’d found the place. I was elated. That was Saturday night.
Sunday morning, I called the estate agent and I quickly realised that even the smallest property she had on her books was 400k NIS more than we had to spend, assuming we got top dollar for our own house.
I was absolutely crushed. For ten minutes, I cried and cried. I simply didn’t know what to do, and my daughter was still coming home from school with a haggard look on her face.
I texted my husband that we would need an open miracle to get there. “Good,” he texted back. “It’s good to go with miracles.”
I calmed down, and I realised that if Hashem had gone to all the trouble of showing us that we had to move, and even, of showing us where to move to, the small matter of the houses being completely beyond our budget wouldn’t stop Him for getting us there. But if I wanted a miracle, I had to ask for it.
So yesterday, Monday, I got in the car again, and drove to the Kever of Dan, the son of our forefather Jacob. Strangely enough, I’d been trying to get to Kever Dan for months, but I kept missing the turn. This time, though, I found it.
I had the women’s section to myself. What’s more, there’s a branch of Rav Arush’s yeshiva there, and the students had set up chairs all over the place in the surrounding forest, for people to do hitbodedut.
I spoke to Hashem for six hours, and I thanked Him that we would only be able to move via the power of prayer – and even then, to the smallest house we could find. What a tikkun for when we drove round Modiin looking for the biggest house we could(n’t) afford! What a tikkun for competing with the neighbours to have the best, nicest house!
If Hashem didn’t give us a house, as a gift, we couldn’t move. But this time, I didn’t want to move for materialistic reasons. I wanted to move for the sake of my kids neshamas and health; so that my husband could have an onsite yeshiva to help him grow even more in his learning and praying, so that I could have a Jewish home in every sense of the word.
At the end of the six hours, I had a weird feeling that the situation was already in hand. Somehow, in some way, the house had already been picked out of us, and now we just had to wait to see how it would happen.
That was yesterday. Today, I started showing our house to potential buyers. It’s crazy really; we have nowhere to move to, and no way of affording it. But I kept thinking of Nachshon ben Aminadav, who jumped into the water all the way up to his nose, before G-d split the sea for the Jewish people.
I feel that we are doing the same thing. I know Hashem wants us out of here, as He wanted the Jews out of Mitzrayim. I know that the barriers ahead have been put there by Hashem, to show us His amazing power and love for us.
He’ll split the sea for us, I know He will...
To be continued.

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