I'm not a good liar, can't keep a straight face, so I have to tell you the truth. This is a tough time to make aliyah. Someone wrote in response to my last aliyah musing asking how at a time like this.
That's a reason I really admire those recent olim, like the ones I'll be meeting on the Nefesh B'Nefesh flight. Today's Israel isn't the innocent country I entered thirty-five years ago.
Last night I spoke at a ZOA gathering of young, and young at heart Jews. I asked them a question, and honestly, I had no idea what they're answer would be. I asked them:
"Do you believe that you can change the world?"
Personally, my answer is yes!
That's why I say that one must make aliyah, even now when time's a tough. We can't let difficulties stop us. We can't let the dictator get us down. We can't let the evil control us.
The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People. During our long history, of thousands of years, there have been many, many, too many mistakes and tragedies. I'm not sweeping the dirt under any rugs, and I"m not lying to you. Life in today's modern Israel sometimes resembles more nightmare than dream. But remember, even a nightmare isn't real, it's temporary, and one wakes up.
This is a test, a real test for all of us. One of the top Israeli films in the past year was "Ushpizin." It won many awards. It starred a famous Israeli actor, one who seemed to have given up his chance for cinematic fame, because he became religious. And he's not one of those religious guys with the same short haircuts as everyone else and a hardly noticeable kippah on the back of his head. He looks like he's all ready to play Tevye the Milkman in "Fiddler on the Roof." He hasn't compromised his religion, and he and his wife, in her haircovering became Israel's most famous acting couple. Their movie was about suffering and a "test."
These tests can't be studied for; though we can try to prepare ourselves spiritually and emotionally. These are the tests that G-d makes for everyone, like the education specialists demanding "accommodations" for various "learning disabilities." It's just that G-d assesses our abilities differently from the way we do. How many times have we asked ourselves and G-d how we can cope with the challenges we're facing?
Apparently our generation is capable of great things, and that's why the situation is so difficult.
Yes, this is the time for aliyah. Why? Because it's always the time. It's a mitzvah, commandment, that doesn't expire and is always ripe and waiting. And how can we, or you, make aliyah when the country is in such turmoil? We make aliyah, as always, with faith, faith and belief that we can change the world.
Yes, again, things must be changed, and it's up to all of us. If you wait on the sidelines, or far away you won't be able to contribute fully. Ok, yes partially, but not fully.
We in Israel need everyone.
Certainly, I can't promise you a "rose garden," or if there is one, there may be more thorns than fragrant flowers for a while. Life isn't always easy. Maybe I'm too "60's" to appreciate that some people want guarantees of material riches. When I breathe the clean air in Shiloh I feel richer than a millionaire.
Please, don't fear. Again I'll remind you.
Nachshon didn't drown, and Yitzchak wasn't sacrificed.
Batya in Golus
15th of Tammuz