Regularly my posts about the importance of Aliyah attract wide-ranging comments. Many people claim that I am preaching a message that no one wants to hear. While everyone is glad when we see photos of new olim arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, the numbers are most disheartening. A recent NBN flight brought 215 new olim from North America, a tiny drop in the bucket. Even if the overall Aliyah figure from NA reaches 2,500 this year, these pioneers represent only 0.05 percent of the approximately 5 million Jews (not necessarily halakhic Jews) remaining in the world’s most comfortable Diaspora.
When you add the fact that only 30% of the total global immigration to Israel last year were Jews, there is indeed reason to believe that the message of Aliyah is falling on deaf ears.
Nonetheless, with G-d’s help, I will continue to repeat the age-old call which is the message of our shofar blasts at this time of year, as well as in our daily prayers where we yearn for the Great Shofar of our Redemption – to return to our sovereign Jewish Nationhood in Israel.
I, and others whose essays appear on Arutz Sheva, will continue because truth has value in its own. When truth is upraised in the material world it triggers untold chain reactions of truth in the upper spiritual worlds and this explosion of light returns to Earth adding goodness and healing to all existence. As Rabbi Kook writes in his book “Orot”:
“When the yearning to see the Land of Israel increases, the vision of the concrete, holy image of the Land which the eyes of G-d are always upon from the beginning of the year until the end becomes deeper and deeper. And the depth of the holy yearning of the love of Zion, of remembering the Land to which all the good things of life are bound - when this valorously increases in the soul, even in one individual - behold, it acts like an overflowing spring to all of the Clal, to the entirety of the Jewish Nation, to the myriads of souls which are bound up with him, and the voice of the shofar of the ingathering of the outcasts awakens; and great mercy increases; and the hope of life for Israel sparkles; and the planting of G-d develops and blooms; and the light of Salvation and Redemption spreads out and out like the dawn which stretches over the mountains.”
There are people with sensitive and high-powered souls who instinctively feel the emptiness of Judaism in gentile lands. Shrouded by a feeling of darkness, they sense deep in their beings that the Creator of the Universe and His Torah must be more than putting on small black boxes, eating gefilte fish and singing songs on Shabbat. For them, encountering the Torah of Eretz Yisrael is a life-saving breath of pure holy air. Immediately they understand that Torah is the blueprint for building the TORAH NATION which Hashem created to bring His Word to the world, a NATION which dwells in the special Holy Land which he created for His Holy People.
Struck by this lightning of understanding, their hearts fill with joy, their malaise vanishes, and they rush off to become a part of this exalted Torah of Redemption, willing to abandon material comforts and risk their lives in order to put their lives in line with the will of Hashem and His Plan for all Creation.
Indeed, the inner yearning for the Land of Israel is part and parcel of every Jewish soul, inseparable from our love of Hashem and His Torah. The spark only needs to be awakened from the spiritual darkness and from the material cobwebs of our long exile in foreign lands.
Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."