When our plane landed in Eretz Yisrael five months ago, it was my first time ever being physically in this land. But it was a homecoming for my soul.
My grandparents, Adeline and William, visited here a few decades ago. Each week I use the green-glass Shabbat candlesticks they bought in Jerusalem, along with the silver Shabbat candelabra of my great-grandmother, Lizzie.
After the Jewish people were exiled from our homeland, my relatives spent generations in Europe until the temporary tolerance ended, the way it is in the U.S. as well.
For two millennia, we have wandered, waiting. Keeping the same Torah, regardless of circumstance, in every place we landed.
And now, it’s time. G-d has allowed us to come back home to this holy place.
As I explore the land, I see the material and mystical continuation of thousands of years of purposeful Jewish life.
And I experience beauty that takes my breath away, in the scenery, in the people, and in the indescribable ‘something’ of this place.
My taxi driver in Jerusalem said that he picks up people from the airport at the start of their trip, and then brings them back to the airport at the end. Every time, he said, they are changed—more elevated, authentic. Wherever they came from, whatever their life experiences, they can’t wait to return here.
I first applied to make Aliyah 10 years ago, then put it on hold until just three months before we finally made this destiny-changing move. I’m in constant awe that my family and I are actually here.
I sometimes meet people who were born in this land or lived here a long time. They leave, seeking something better. And then they inevitably realize what they’re missing and come back home.
As my Ulpan comes to an end, I am now seeking parnassah as well.
There are things I miss about life in the U.S. Some significant, some trivial. Then I remember who I am as a Jewish woman and why I’m on this earth.
I’m also painfully aware of the devastation of earthquakes in our neighboring nations. I pray for the souls who departed our world and the ones left behind to mourn.
Peace and quietude can never be taken for granted. As Jews, we have a mission–to be a light unto the nations, wherever we currently reside, until we can all be home.
Said the Lubavitcher Rebbe, “It is impossible for there to be any ‘bad’ in the Land of Israel. May there be revealed and obvious good, with peace of body and mind to study Torah’s revealed and inner dimensions.”
Tehillim – Psalms – Chapter 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me…May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of G‑d.