Our Sages teach us that the Master of the World works on many simultaneous levels. At the same time that Hashem was liberating the Jews from bondage in Egypt, He was teaching the Egyptians and the rest of the world a lesson.
The same thing is true of the present social conflict in Israel. There is no doubt that in Hashem’s all-encompassing Game Plan, all camps in the Holy Land are to learn something from the increasing polarization between the so-called “Anarchists” and the rest of the nation.
Perhaps the political Right needs to learn how to present sweeping reform in a more gradual fashion. And maybe the religious community in Israel needs to represent their communities and the Torah in a more endearing way. When it comes to the radical Left, perhaps their challenge is to learn to respect compromise and true democracy where the will of the majority holds sway.
And what about the Jews in the Diaspora – what are they to learn from the widely-publicized balagan in Israel? Unfortunately, many are using it as another and perhaps final excuse not to move to Israel. Let me explain.
I write many articles each week on Facebook promoting Aliyah which I also post on a wide variety of Facebook groups. More and more I have been receiving comments lately, especially from religious Jews, that read something like this: “Why should we move to Israel? The secular hate the religious. There is more anti-Semitism in Israel than anywhere else in world. The Israeli Police and Israel Supreme Court encourage it. We can raise our children to be better Jews here in America. If you expect us to move to Israel, first get your act together. Physician heal thyself!”
Certainly, after the trauma of nearly 2000 years of exile in foreign lands amidst alien cultures, we still have a lot of healing to do in the Holy Land where we have the Herculean task of building a united community composed of so many differing groups with differing backgrounds and beliefs. Nonetheless, during the forty years which I have been an activist for Aliyah, this new Diaspora complaint is obviously just another excuse in a very long list of supposedly justifiable reasons to remain in the flesh pots of gentile lands.
Thank G-d that our forefather Avraham wasn’t a complainer. Even though Eretz Yisrael was filled with idol worshippers he set forth to Israel immediately without a long lists of buts. Remember, in Avraham’s time there weren’t at least three shuls in every neighborhood, a mikvah in every community, thousands of Heders, Talmud Torahs, Yeshivot, Religious Ulpanot, national Kashrut, Hebrew spoken all over, a Jewish Calendar, and a concentration of more Talmidei Chachamim than in all of the Diaspora put together. Avraham came to the Chosen Land without searching for an excuse to stay put where he was in line to inherit his father’s lucrative business. The Torah testifies: he believed in Hashem.
To return to our original premise - whatever Hashem brings about in the world, He does so to influence different people in different ways. Looking at the social conflict in Israel, a Jew in the Diaspora has a choice. He or she can say, “There are problems in Israel. The Jews are better off in America, England, or Mexico City.” Or the person can react: “Yes, there are problems in Israel. The best thing I can do to play my part in the mission of the Jewish People is to follow the example of Avraham and make Aliyah to help in whatever way I can.”
Unfortunately, the comments I receive in response to my articles on Facebook indicate that many Jews are adopting the first line of inaction – to barricade themselves in the gentile countries where they live.
Today the possibility of Aliyah has never been easier. Organizations are present to help olim throughout the journey. There is ample housing and work opportunities. The economy of Israel is among the most stable in the world. Jewish education abounds. Yet they repeat: “Why should we move to Israel? The secular hate the religious. There is more anti-Semitism in Israel than anywhere else in world.”
The gate of Aliyah is still open but their minds are closed. Diaspora Jews who raise the banner of the social/religious conflict in Israel as a reason not to make Aliyah believe they are choosing a better Jewish life in their gentile lands, but could it be that it is Hashem who is rejecting them through this test of loyalty to the eternal Torah mission of establishing the Kingdom of G-d in Israel?
After all, as King David teaches, we are supposed to set Jerusalem above our highest joy, including above life in foreign lands. As the verse says, “If I ever forget you, O Jerusalem, withered be my right hand” – meaning my power to act in accordance with Your will. For decades Hashem has been patiently waiting. How long will His patience last?