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Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.
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You are sitting and reading the newspaper. In the paper, you read stories about famous people, movers and shakers, people who are really making things happen. And you sigh. You put down the paper, stare at it and think, “Gee, I wish that I could do something GREAT in my life, something that I would be remembered by."
But who are we? We are little peons, we tell ourselves. We weren’t born to filthy rich families or have famous parents. What can ‘little old me’ do to make a difference in the world. But hark! There IS something GREAT that we can do. Something that would change the destiny of future generations. It is to move home. To come to Israel.
I have spoken about this on my show, and maybe some of you are wondering why I push aliyah, but you must know, that approximately 5 years ago or more, I started a radio program called, “The Aliyah Show” I knew that Arutz 7 needed a show like this, to talk about the opportunities Israel has to offer people who want to make their lives here. Jobs, communities, lifestyles, etc. The show was a huge success - thank G-d, and the show is still running today. It is still (now with Goel Jasper hosting it) encouraging and helping Jews return home.
About 6 years ago, I went on a 13 city tour to the USA. Speaking to Jews from Toronto to Miami, I told them that all of us have a strong desire to do something great with our lives. I told them that when they make aliyah, they WILL BE REMEBERED for something great. Their grand-kids will say, “I’m an Israeli Jew today because my grandpa David and my grandma Rachel (fill in the blanks with your names) left the 'Golden Medina' (America) and came to Israel.
By you coming to Israel, you are starting a dynasty here. You are planting your seed here and are the first, in 2,000 years of your family line, to make it home after our long exile. YOU have brought your family home after 2000 years! Because you came, your kids and grand-kids will feel at home when reading our prayer books and the Torah, because they will speak their mama-loshen (mother tongue), Hebrew. Hebrew won't be a foreign language anymore, and they will speak it without an accent. They will be home. Comfortable in being a full Jew in their homeland.
If you are a Jew, and you don’t speak Hebrew, then there is something wrong. You are a Jew. Your mother language is NOT English. English is the language that belongs to your host country. Just a couple of generations ago, many of our grandparents spoke Polish, or Russian, or some other European language. They felt that THEY were Russians, and they were proud of their Russian heritage, like you are proud of your American or Western heritage. And in the 1400’s, some of our ancestors spoke Spanish, and were proud Spaniards. But all of these languages and ‘identities’ we defined ourselves as, were just 'clothing' on us. Our bodies, our souls, were Jewish. And we SHOULD know Hebrew. If we do not, it just shows how far we have strayed from our essence.
What Happened To The Real You?
When we were young, we dreamt of our future. We imagined who we would want to marry, what profession we wanted to work in, and what mark we wanted to leave on this world. It’s years later, and what happened to the real 'us'?
This last week’s Torah Portion, Vayeitzei, [And Yaakov (Jacob) departed], speaks about Yaakov leaving home and going out to marry and make a life in Lavan's home. It also speaks about Yaakov's dreams.
Bereishis (Genesis) 28:12 "And he dreamt, and behold! A ladder was set earthward and it’s top reached towards the heavenward; and behold! Angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it.”
(Based on a dvar Torah by Rav Moshe Besdin ZT"L)...
Here, Yaakov is dreaming a very spiritual dream, with angels and heaven in it. It’s a beautiful and idealistic dream. He dreams of man’s ability to connect himself to G-d’s master plan, and build a beautiful and better future. He makes a vow to G-d after the dream that if G-d will be with him, he will serve G-d’s interests and tithe his earnings.
But what happens? Life takes its course, Yaakov marries, has children, works for Lavan, his father in law, and is concentrating on making a livelihood and building his wealth.
20 years later, after living in Lavan's world, Yaakov has another dream. This time his dream is about ringed, speckled and spotted sheep, - in other words, Yaakov is dreaming about his portfolios and his bank accounts.
How many times did some of us grow up, wanting to be a doctor in order to find cures and really help people and make a difference in people's lives, only to find ourselves scheduling cesareans because our golf game is on Wednesday mornings and we don’t want it to conflict. How many times did some of us want to practice law, so we could help the downtrodden and defend the innocent, only to become ambulance chasers or become criminal lawyers knowing full well we were protecting not the victims, but the perpetrators? Somewhere down the line, we lost our dreams and our idealism. We lost ourselves.
When Yaakov starts to dream about his portfolios, this is the time that G-d comes to him again and tells him, Bereishis (Genesis) 31:13 “Now -arise, leave this land and return to your native land.”
Living in Lavan's world, Yaakov was not connecting anymore with G-d’s plan and his own idealism and true self, as the father of the 12 tribes and the future of the Jewish people. If he would have stayed with Lavan, he would have continued to amass wealth, and forget about his dreams. G-d was telling Yaakov, it was time to go HOME.
The question remains: are WE home? Or have we gotten lost along the way? Are we really the doctor or lawyer we wanted to be, or just an ambulance chaser? Are we really doing something GREAT in our lives, something that is bringing G-d’s plan to fruition here on earth, or are we still just trying to amass wealth, and have lost our way?
Come home Yaakov. Come home YOU, dear reader. Return to our real selves, our real dreams, our real essence - to serve G-d.