Dear brothers and sisters in Israel, do not warn us, relate to us

I am crying with all my might for us to go home, every single one of us. I am crying especially for my fellow American Jews, who don’t all see the reality of this place as clearly as those in Israel do.

Hinda Leah Sheyman

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Israel,

To those of you who are sitting comfortably, even if in isolation and with social distancing, in the Holy Land, having been safely and happily gathered in, please retain some respect for your diaspora brethren.

Israel closed its borders. We saw the news. We know it’s a big, flashing warning sign. A reminder to claim our heritage, not to take the Holy Land for granted.

Instead of hope, or broadcasted prayers for the diaspora Jews’ return to our land, some of you are sending a cruel message: “Dear Family and Friends, you had your chance, and you kept pushing it off. Now, it's too late” (this is from the Facebook page of The Muqata).

Rabbi Nachman Kahana writes on Breaking Israel News and in the same vein in a Judaism section article: *The Jews will crowd the Israeli consulates in various cities to register for aliyah. But they will find large notices announcing Israel’s inability to absorb so many people, and aliyah to the holy land will cease.” 

Your words hurt us like a dagger in our hearts. How can you claim the doors will be closed to us when G-d Himself said He would gather us in? You certainly do not want to contradict the words of the prophets.

Do you have no rachmanus, mercy, on us? What about hope? What about a mission to try to gently fix the problem, not to chastise?


You could say the land spit me out - I certainly felt like it did. Regardless of what happened, G-d clearly had some other work for me to do outside of the land.
So many of us here in exile want desperately to come home. I myself lived in Israel for nearly three years. You could say the land spit me out - I certainly felt like it did. Regardless of what happened, G-d clearly had some other work for me to do outside of the land. G-d has shown me since then, in clearer terms, that my mission, at present, is to help the Jews here. This exile is a sinking ship, and I know it better than most. It doesn’t mean I’m willing to abandon ship and leave my people onboard.

You see, while you merit enjoying the gift G-d has given you - as you rightly should - your mission can no longer be directly related to the people living in galut. Because you are no longer in exile. You won’t be able to relate, not fully, as long as you’re one of the ingathered.

Life is clearer in Israel. G-d is closer. G-d is not so close here, in this deserted wasteland. 

Nevertheless, there are so many of us here who so deeply need Him, who need His purity and truth. And instead of warning that the doors are closing and it’ll be too late for those of us who tarry in the exile, you could be helping. You could be encouraging us more to come home. We are one nation, one family. Speak to us like family. Don’t lecture us; relate to us.

That’s what I’m doing. That’s what so many of us here are doing. Do you think we enjoy the emptiness this life has to offer? I’m sure many of us look like we’re enjoying it, but truthfully, we’re not. Our hearts are crying for our land. I’m not only speaking for myself, though I, too, feel the deep yearning in my heart on a daily basis.

When I pray for our collective return to Jerusalem, I also mean it on a practical level. I used to walk the streets of Jerusalem by myself, like I owned it. Because I did, and still do; it is my heritage. So when I pray for it, they are not empty words; I am crying with all my might for us to go home, every single one of us. I am crying especially for my fellow American Jews, who don’t all see the reality of this place as clearly as those in Israel do.

There are many of us who are not tied here due to selfish or vain desires. In fact, I personally know many people who would love to pack up and ascend to Israel. What’s tying them down? Well, there are a lot of things. The biggest thing, I’d say, is lack of family, which was my trouble when I moved to Israel in 2013.

I didn’t spend much precious time with my grandmother before she passed; I only saw her one more time after I moved back from Israel. Family cannot be taken for granted, and it is not easy for us here who deeply desire to make a life in our land. Meanwhile, we plan, and we plan. We’re working to make this dream a reality. But the reality is not as neat as you imagine it to be.

I would venture a guess that most American Jews’ desires to stay here in the exile is not as materialistic or shallow as you might think. We’re trying. We’re making our efforts. We’re even making our plans, concrete plans to move to Israel. Not nebulous proclamations of being in Jerusalem next year, but real, solid plans. 

What many of you - the ones already safe at home, lecturing us exiled Jews - don’t seem to consider is that apparently G-d still needs us here for now. G-d is working in His time to bring us over. It’s happening, and neither group should have a shadow of a doubt. But please don't claim  to have the knowledge that we’ll be stuck here for good someday - did G-d tell you that? I think not.

Believe me, I understand how frustrating it is to see the diaspora Jews continue to sit around. But maybe, just maybe, if you devote your time to educating the exiled Jews about our heritage and praying for our return instead of lecturing us from our real homeland, you’d remind us that G-d is limitless. He can lift us up right now and drop us off in Israel. Or He can give us the ability to come of our own will. Believe me, we are praying for it here. Perhaps the Redemption is on its way and then we won’t need planes. We won’t need government agencies and passports. If G-d wills it, He will bring us. Doesn’t matter what appears to happen in the “real” world. The “real” world is G-d. And G-d’s power is infinite.

G-d lifted us out of Egypt. This is how He wants us to remember Him. And He will lift us out of this Egypt, and it will be more incredible than our ancient redemption. It even says so in the prophets: 

“Therefore, behold days are coming, says the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, Who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ But, ‘As the Lord lives, Who brought up and Who brought the seed of the house of Israel from the northland and from all the lands where I have driven them, and they shall dwell on their land.’"  Jeremiah 23:7-8





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