Sunday, August 06, 2006


A-Minus: 1 Week, 2 Days

I'm not blind, and I'm certainly not the Aliyah poster child some of you (or I, for that matter) thought I was. I'm watching the news like everyone else. I'm seeing missiles slamming into buildings in Haifa, and it's pretty clear that Tel Aviv is not long in coming, G-d forbid. Hundreds of rockets are heading into Israel every day, there are massive numbers of internal refugees, and the Israeli military and leadership are physically incapable of protecting ther citizens. Diplomats are talking about cease fires and UN resolutions, but wars have a life of their own, and I have a feeling this isn't ending any time soon. The situation is quite serious and I am torn between many opinions on my options.

On the one hand, I remember life during the intifadah, seeing news reports which made life in Israel appear to be a confusing and terrifying whirlwind. But I also remember having my own two feet on the ground, realizing that, no, life goes on, and that terrorism, while frightening, is more of a vague sense of unease rather than an accute panic.

On the other hand, I want to act prudently and safely. It may be a lack of zealousness on my part, but the Torah does instruct us on not taking unneccesary risks. Of course, if everyone had taken this "path of least resistance," there wouldn't be a state of Israel to go to.

On the other other hand, a lot of my angst about making aliyah began before this situation started. How much of my gut reaction is just an attempt to avoid a massive life upheaval and the pain of separation from family and friends? Am I just shying away from confronting my own attachments?

On the other other other hand, I don't see myself being able to get married and start a family here and begin my real life. And if I am to build a life in the Holy Land, I am certain to encounter this sort of situation at some point in my life. Perhaps it's better to confront it now, while I'm single, only responsible for myself, and able to change course if necessary.

Were I to stay in the United States, I know myself well enough to know that I would immediately turn back to pining for the Land of Israel, to the point that I wouldn't be able to focus on the rest of my life. Were I to postpone temporarily, I would be in a miserable state of "neither here nor there," but I would be physically and materially well off. If I go... well, that is the great unknown.

This is definately a test, but I don't know of what kind. Perhaps it's a test of will, to see if I have what it takes to go through with this major decision. Perhaps it's a test of maturity. At what point does aliyah change from an act of mitzvah fulfillment to an act of pride? Or, more correctly, of not being able to swallow my own pride at having invested four years of working and dreaming to the point that I am not able to act prudently? Perhaps it is a test of emunah (faith.) I am deeply conflicted. I feel that I am not able to begin life as it's meant to be lived here, and yet that I am not able to lunge forward with the zealousness essential for success.

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