Come to Israel, now?

It’s been over a week since my last real post, and I had many thoughts that bounced around my head since then. On one hand, the post was nice for anyone in the US, because it made one feel rather comfortable kind of ignoring the urgency of some other blogs. It also kind of left the impression that parnassah is the end all answer to whether one should come here. I’d like to share some of my subsequent thoughts.

The Chofetz Chaim, in his seforim Shem Olam and Ahavas Chessed, uses a certain theme to help us in our thinking about our service of Hashem. Many times we have a certain attitude when it comes to our performance of mitzvos which might be somewhat lackluster. The objective comparison will always shed light on the more correct approach.

The Chofetz Chaim tells us that we need but look at a storeowner to understand the proper approach to Avodas Hashem. Someone who loves money will do anything to make money. He will get up early to work and go to bed late. He will travel to distant lands to buy the right merchandise. He will dedicate himself completely to the task of making a buck.

From the way such a person behaves, we can learn how we must approach our service of Hashem. There is a level of dedication that is necessary for success in any area, and certainly in the most important area of connecting to spirituality. If we must get up early to achieve it, if we must go to sleep late, it must be done. If we must travel to a far off land in pursuit of this most important goal, and if it might involve a great sacrifice, it must be done.

If someone would invest years of difficulty in order to one day be the millionaire of his dreams, would it not be worth a similar investment to earn the greatest closeness to Hashem possible by living in Eretz Yisrael? Is there no greater goal that one could imagine? Is there anyplace one can serve Hashem as Yisrael? Is there another place one feels the constant hand of Hashem guiding him? Is there another place that people are really as focused on their life’s goal of serving Hashem? Is there another place that loving Hashem is really an aspiration? Is there anywhere in the world?

Is there another place where the entire country of six million Jews is eating matza on Pesach? Is there another country where six million of its inhabitants are fasting on Yom Kippur? Is there another country where the standard greeting on Friday is ‘Shabat Shalom?’ Is there another place where every single person on the street makes sure your kid is warm as you pass by on a cold day? Is there anywhere else where everyone calls you their brother? Is there any other place where ‘baruch Hashem’ rolls off the non-religious taxi driver’s tongue? Is there a place where people feel each other’s pain and each other’s joys the way they do here? Is there another city like Jerusalem that as soon as you enter the holiness is palpable?

This is our land. It’s the land Hashem promised to our people for all time. Let’s come home with love.

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