This Shabbat is SHABBAT SHLACH as well as Shabbat Mervarchin, as we are soon entering the Jewish month of Tammuz. Parashat Shlach is very famous because the Torah is teaching us about the Meraglim (Spies) Moshe sent out to investigate the Land of Israel (in those days Canaan). We all know the story of how the Spies came back after 40 days and started talking in a negative way about the Land of Milk and Honey. It was the unknown the Jews were terrified of and the Spies exploited the position by putting more fuel into the existing doubts. Except for Yehoshua and Calev, all other spies were speaking slander and only pointing out the negative things. The result was that the people started wining and complaining. G – d was angry and said: “You think that this day is bad. Wait and see what is really bad !” Meaning that the Spies came back on the 9th day in the month of Av (Tisha be’Av). It is said that it was this day the Spies were sinning and, as a punishment, the two Temples were destroyed on Tisha be’Av. Until today, Tisha be’Av is a day of mourning and a 25 – hour fast similar to Yom Kippur.
Shabbat SHLACH is starting tomorrow night at 7.10 pm and is ending on Saturday night at 8.28 pm. Rabbeinu Tam is at 9.03 pm.
The spies didn’t tell lies about the Promised Land but what they didn’t do was pointing out all positive aspects. They only concentrated on the negative and thought of themselves as small and insignificant. Moreover, they were worried about what the other nations living in Canaan thought about them (see the Torah commentary of the Kotzker Rebbe). This kind of behaviour is haunting us until this day. Too many Israeli Jews consider themselves as insignificant and seem to be possessed proving to the nations that we are a great people and a functioning democratic country. The sad reality is that we can do whatever we want, the nations will always hate us and never be on our side.
However, it is not only the other nations pointing their fingers at us. There are also Jews who constantly criticize Israel and speak the worst slander about our country. Asking various Diaspora Jews they may tell you that they love Israel BUT living here, rather not. Although Israel is a great country, many Jews are using excuses such as
I am not making Aliyah because
Israel has a high unemployment rate,
the costs of living are enormous,
I don’t see how I will be able to sustain myself,
rents are too high and I may end up living in the street,
Hebrew is hard to learn,
the Middle East mentality is not for me,
Israel is constantly living under the threat of being attacked,
“As a Jew, I do support Israel by donating money and celebrating an Israel Day but actually moving there – No, thanks !” Is this kind of attitude similar to what the spies did ? Is G – d punishing Diaspora Jews for not living in Israel ?
In another couple of days I am celebrating my 15th Aliyah anniversary. By the way, I haven’t left Israel since I made Aliyah. Not due to financial reasons but I was simply not in the mood to travel. Did I miss out on anything ? Some people may say YES but I don’t feel this way.
Making Aliyah doesn’t mean bathing in milk and honey. On the contrary, if you don’t come as a millionaire, you are forced to enter the hardship called “daily life” or “making ends meet”. The job situation is not the best and many times, you may find yourself carrying out low paid labour. But that’s life and any immigrant to any other country is having the same experience. If you are from the States or Canada, Nefesh be’Nefesh is providing you with plenty of cash but there comes a time when the money is gone. The sooner you learn Hebrew and get adjusted to Israeli society the better. Otherwise you end up hating everyone and everything. There are quite a few people who do this. Others return to their former countries as soon as they are fed up with Israel.
On the other hand, there are many Olim staying despite all the difficulties. Even if their knowledge of Hebrew isn’t that great, they do concentrate on the positive aspects in Israel. They are not searching for luxury but are happy leading a modest lifestyle. At the same time, they very much appreciate being here. Having escaped anti – Semitism taking place in other countries. And yes, there is Arab terror taking place in Israel but we have an army and police taking care of this. Abroad this is not always the case making it harder to trust authorities.
Although there is a lot of treife food available in Israel, if you want to keep kosher, it is not a problem. The majority of Israeli citizens is Jewish and nobody needs to justify himself for being Jewish. This is usually very different in the Diaspora. I have seen a lot of new immigrants constantly stating that “life is like this and like that in the States or elsewhere”. Israelis don’t want to hear this because you are in Israel and you either adjust or leave. It is impossible to compare Israel to any other country and Israelis get tired of listening to that.
On the one hand, I do understand Jews living in the Diaspora. Many find it too hard to start all over again and don’t have the energy for such a drastic a change in life. On the other hand, those Jews who really make an effort will end up in Israel. It always depends on your mindset. However, a positive mindset is no guarantee for a successful Aliyah but it does help a lot. 🙂
I am anything but a materialistic person. A roof over the head, a bed, a table and a chair are more than enough for me. I don’t need to be rich nor am I longing for luxury. There are plenty of Olim complaining about their modest lifestyle and never stop thinking about how great everything was back in the US, in Europe, Canada, etc. People like to complain but ignore the fact that there are others who don’t even have a roof over the head. For me my mountain bike is already luxury.
It is up to every single Jew whether he lives in Israel or doesn’t. However, what I do hate is Jews only talking slander about Israel and even actively supporting our Arab enemies. It is not easy to live in Israel but, Israelis do enjoy a lot of positive things Diaspora Jews can only dream of.