Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kibbutz Galuyot - Ingathering of the Exiles



(This piece is not necessarily meant to persuade others, but rather the points here have persuaded me, myself.)


A certain b'racha warrants much of my kavanna as I say the Amidah these days:


תקע בשופר גדול לחרותנו ושא נס לקבץ גלויותנו וקבצנו יחד מארבע כנפות הארץ. ברוך אתה ה' מקבץ נדחי עמו ישראל.


Sound the great shofar for our freedom; raise a banner to gather our exiles, and bring us together from the four corners of the earth into our land. Blessed are You Lord, who gathers the dispersed of His people Israel. (Chabad.org translation – first site on Google)


Over the past year, I've become more and more convinced that a spiritual priority for the Jewish people has to be the ingathering of the exiles.  It's not that there's anything terribly wrong with America; it's just not Israel.  True, to each his/her own and there are many legitimate reasons for people staying in America.  But I feel personally obligated to contribute my person to the Jewish shift towards the Land of Israel.


What are we waiting for?  We have prayed for years to emerge from exile and once again return to the homeland and holy land of the Jewish people.  For the first time in two millennia, we exercise self-autonomy in our own sovereign state.  The State of Israel, in my mind, is not just around for those in need of refuge; we risk not taking full advantage of its presence by staying in the Diaspora.  Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut helped me realize even more that this is not just the state of the Israelis, but rather the state of the Jewish people as a whole.  Sure, we can send our youth here for short periods of time and send our money here, and that can be considered Jewish unity, but it is impossible for the soul itself to experience the holiness of the Land of Israel with just that alone.  Redemption, as it seems from Jewish sources, will only be completed when the Jewish people comes together physically in the Land of Israel.


Not every place in this country bares the holiness I wish there was, and the things I relish most – tranquility of Shabbat, abundance of Kosher restaurants, number of people walking around wearing kippot – are not to be found in every place.  Yet as I speak the lashon kodesh (holy language) and walk around with something very fundamental in common with almost every person I pass on the street, I find a sincere calling here to fulfill God's promise to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya'akov.  It won't be a perfect transition, and it also won't be happening immediately, as I do plan on completing college in the States.  But I hope one day to embody the full ideal of Zionism so that when I leave in less than a month, it will only be an extended leave from home, just to return soon.


Those are my feelings in a nutshell.


Kol Tuv,



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