Myth and Facts on Aliya to Israel
Based on the book Lech Lecha The Obligation of Aliya to the Land of Israel
By Rabbi Mordechai Atiya, of blessed memory
A strong Diaspora community will always be needed to lobby for the Jewish State and influence key nations to support Israel's cause. A situation in which all the Jews move to Israel is not desirable.
The return of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel is an integral part of the Divine Plan.
According to the late Jerusalem Old City Kabbalist Rabbi Mordechai Atiya, author of Lech Lecha – Sod HaShvua, all of the trials and tribulations that befall the Jewish People in their long exile are messages sent from heaven to awaken the Jewish People to leave the foreign lands they dwell in.
On a micro level, the life of the Or HaChaim (Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar) is an embodiment of this teaching that the tragedies of the exile are divine signals to prod the Jewish People to return to Israel.
In his native Morocco, the Or HaChaim was targeted by the government, falsely accused of things that he had no part in, thrown into jail on more than one occasion, and even thrown once into the lions den - coming out unharmed. In 1738 when hunger plagued Morocco, he began his long journey to Israel.
In the introduction to his Torah commentary, the Or HaChaim writes:
"Those who pursued me didn't turn back. I prayed for peace, but behold, enemy after enemy assaulted me, one trouble after another, until I was up to my neck in distress. I wondered from town to town, becoming a fulfillment of the verse, 'He that flees from terror, shall fall into the pit…' And G-d opened my eyes, and I realized that the reason for these troubles was none other than to signal me to ascend to the place of the Shechina, the city which is so exalted and so dear to G-d of the world."
Note that the final straw that convinced the Or HaChaim to make aliya was the financial collapse in Morocco induced by famine. It was not a decree specifically targeting the Jews.
Every Last Jew Will Leave the Diaspora,
Rav Mordechai Atiya states emphatically in his book that sooner or later, the Diaspora will be emptied of all its Jews, adding," And happy is the man who saves himself and his family in advance by making aliyah to Eretz Yisrael [pg. 3].
Regarding the first redemption from Egypt, the Torah says, "…afterwards he [Pharaoh] will let you go from here; when he shall let you go completely, he shall surely expel you out from here" . The Torah commentator Rabbeinu Bachyeh explains the use of the word kaleh [completely]: "when Pharaoh sends you out, he will send all of you, and will not leave a single one of you."
So, too, regarding the final redemption, the prophet Yechezkel says, "…and I will gather them into their land, and I will not leave any of them there" . Rashi explains: "I will not leave one of them in the exile."
Hence, the liquidation of the Jewish presence outside of Israel and the return of every last Jew to Israel follows the paradigm, "What was in the past (in the redemption from Egypt) is what will be in the future (in the final redemption)."
Rabbi Atiya admonishes:
"And G-d forbid that one should sit with folded arms in the exile waiting for miracles and wonders to occur, because we have a principle that an awakening of human initiative is a necessary prerequisite to Divine intervention."