15 posts categorized "Aliya"

Diaspora Dead-End

Belgian Supreme Court

Will these individuals decide how to educate a Jewish child? Image above, Belgian Supreme Court, photo by Meir Alfasi via kikarhashabat.co.il

Community by community, the Diaspora is coming to a dead-end. Why? Moshiach is so phenomenally close, as so many of our spiritual leaders have said recently.

Until now, Hashem has been giving gentle prods to almost every Diapora community, telling them that by perpetuating the Diaspora, they're delaying the Geula, the full redemption of our people. As the time of Moshiach comes closer, the wake-up calls become louder. The gentle prods turn into painful pinches, and the painful pinches become electric shocks. The Diaspora can only pin the blame on its own deaf ear. To paraphrase the Prophet, if the lion roars, who shall not tremble?

The Jews in the Ukraine are now caught in the middle; they've been targets of antisemitic thugs from both sides of the fence, the pro-Russians and the Ukrainian nationalists. A trickle are making Aliya daily, but there's no mass exodus yet. What are they waiting for, another pogrom, Heaven forbid? 

I could go on and on. One thing though - Rashi quotes the Gemara in his commentary on this week's Torah portion and says in Hashem's Name (bold letters are the Torah, italic letters are Rashi's commentary): I took you out of Egypt so that you will accept My mitzvoth, even if they're difficult for you...I will give you the Land of Canaan in return for your accepting my mitzvoth...and I will be a G-d to you for anyone who lives in the Land of Israel, I Am his G-d, and anyone who leaves the Land of Israel is like an idolator (Leviticus 25:38 and Rashi's adjacent commentary).

What is Rashi telling us? Hashem is not particularly enamored, to say the least, with Diaspora style Judaism. The Rambam rules (Hilchot Melachim, 5:12) - right out of the Gemara at the end of Tractate Ketubot, 110b - that it's better to live among non-Jews in Israel than it is to live among Jews in the Diaspora. Most people don't want to hear this, but it's Halacha...

Just last night, Robert Singer, the chief executive officer of the World Jewish Congress - an international umbrella organization that represents Jews from more than 100 countries - declared in Ottawa that a dangerous wave of anti-Semitism is on the rise, especially in Europe. Yesterday also, the Supreme Court of Belgium decided in a major-precedent decision that Jewish children, who throughout history received Torah education in the traditional cheder, will now be forced to learn the local language and secular subjects. Coincidence? By no means, for everything comes from Hashem.

Jews around the world are still misleading themselves that they can be good Jews outside of the Land of Israel. Hashem thinks otherwise. Whereas every farmer and consumer in Israel feels the ramifications of Shmitta (Sabbatical) Year, few Jews outside of Israel - even observant Jews - give it a second thought.

Hashem has been yelling at the French Jews for a long time now. Yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Belgium is Hashem speaking to the Chassidim living in Brussels. There are messages being transmitted to every Jewish community worldwide. Countries are banning shechita (kosher slaughter) and mila (ritual circumcision) right and left, giving all kinds of "humane" reasons, but it's all thinly-veiled anti-Semitism.

Diaspora is a dead-end with no future. It's time to come home to our Land of Israel - the sooner the better.

A Nazi by Any Other Name...

Dachau Cremation Ovens
Above image, cremation ovens in Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich in southern Germany - Image courtesy SFC/ Shutterstock.com

In "Romeo and Juliet" by Shakespeare, Juliet says: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Tonight and tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day. If it were up to me, I'd remove the "remembrance" part and simply call it "Holocaust Day". Why? The Holocaust still lurks all around the world. It's ugly and deadly seeds are germinating and sprouting in the fertile growth medium of growing antisemitism.

To paraphrase Juliet, "What's in a name? that which we call a Nazi by any other name would smell as foul."

Here's what I mean:

Today's USA: The Ku Klux Klan, Skinheads and Neo Nazis

Today's Ukraine: Svoboda

Today's Italy: Casa Pound

Today's France: Front Nationale

Today's Greece: Golden Dawn

Today's Hungary: Jobbik Party

Every other country in Europe has growist Fascist and neo-Nazi movement, some already violent, like the one in Poland.

Now, let's add the growing global Jihadi groups, many hiding behind the back of so-called "moderate Islam", in Scandinavia, the UK, Germany, France and the USA.

How many times have the Iranians, Hizbulla, Hamaz and Islamic Jihad declared their intent to destroy Israel? Don't be foolish enough to think that they're only talking about Zionists; that's merely a polite term for Jew. An Al-Qaida bomb in New York City or a Hizbulla booby trap in Buenos Aires is not intended for Zionists - the target is Jews.

There's a concept in the Jewish Laws of Purity: Immersion in the mikva doesn't help someone who is holding a dead mouse in his or her hand.

Why cry about Holocaust Day while perpetuating the Diaspora and being the victim of another potential Holocaust? Why aren't people readingthe global anti-Semitic writing on the wall? Can't they realize that Hashem is telling everyone that it's time to come home?

Do you really want to do something about the Holocaust? Do you really want to prevent another Holocaust, G-d forbid?  Rabbi Yehoshua Fass of Nefesh B'Nefesh is a dear friend of mine. Write him an email right now (tell him that Lazer sent you) and tell him that you're interested in getting the ball of your aliya rolling. He'll tell you what to do. 

The greatest memorial for the 6,000,000 Jews who died in the Holocaust is a strong, truly Jewish homeland. Cherished brothers and sisters, help us build it. Come home now; we're waiting for you with open arms.

Don't Wait Another 10 Years

Debbie finally arrived in Israel last month, after ten years of longing. She has been corresponding with me for a little over a year, and the first thing she did was to show up at my Wednesday evening weekly Emuna talk and broadcast in English from the Chut Shel Chesed Yeshiva in Jerusalem. G-d willing, she'll be working in the mornings as an English teacher and spending her afternoons at a women's seminar for Baalot Teshuva.

Debbie wrote a message that we wants me to convey to all of you; it's really profound:

Rabbi Lazer, please tell your readers how I wanted to make Aliya ten years ago when I was 21. I also wanted to learn more about Judaism. I let my mother talk me out of both. During the last ten years, I wish I could say I've been treading water, but it's worse. I floated from job to job, had a miserable relationship with a person outside of our religion who I lived with for four years, and have sacrificed my own aspirations to keep mom happy. I was miserable and lost my self-esteem. You gave me the courage to pack up and do what I really want. Pass the message on to others - don't waste a decade of your own lives to keep others happy. Come to Israel today, and claim your Jewish birthright. Live your own lives. 31 is better late than never...

No, Debbie, don't cry over spilt milk. With Hashem's help, your Emuna will strengthen and you'll meet a good guy very soon. Your message is an important one.

The ingathering of the exiles is just one more sign of the wonderful times that await us in the rebuilt Jerusalem of Eretz Yisroel, amen.

Affordable - and Beautiful - Israel


Dear Rabbi Brody,

I really want to make Aliya with my family, but people have been telling me that if I don't have a half million US bucks, I won't be able to get a decent apartment. I don't want a mortgage, and with property values in my area, I'll barely clear $200,000 when I sell my home. What can I possibly buy in Israel with that amount of money? Thanks for your time and attention, Gerald from Midwest USA

Dear Gerald,

if you're looking for a flat with in an American neighborhood of Ramat Bet Shemesh or Jerusalem's Ramat Eshkol or Har Nof, $500,000 is roughly what you'll pay. But, if you're willing to both live and think outside the Anglo-Israeli box, then you'll have some wonderful opportunities, where $200,000 or less will suffice.

Gorgeous places up north with growing observant communities are Maalot, Nazareth Illit, Tzefat and Kiriat Shemona.

As far as the south of Israel goes, Arad has the cleanest air in the world and it's also gorgeous. For $200,000 or less in Ashkelon, you can get an apartment in walking distance to the Mediterranean. If you go to a place like Ofakim or Yerucham, you can get a palace for $150,000 or less.

Contact my dear friends at Nefesh B'Nefesh, because there are usually several incentive programs for moving to the Galilee up north or to the Negev down south. Both are wonderful places to raise your family. Remember also that education here is virtually free, but you'll have to a bit of legwork to find the right schools for your children. It's well worth it. The younger they are, the easier they'll adapt. May Hashem help you succeed! Blessings always, LB

Aliya: Like Cleaning for Pesach

My cherished and esteemed friend Doctor Arie Keehn, who is also a key partner in spreading emuna, send us a wonderful thought:  He was walking home from synagogue at the termination of Passover with his friend, Jay Wolf. Jay had mentioned that this was the time of year that they hung up a sign in his house that says: "Dust is not Chamentz and the Husband is not the Korban Pesach" (Pascal lamb). Arie asked if he could explain why people were not stressed to put away their Pesach dishes etc. in one night, but are overwhelmed for at least one month prior to the holiday.

Jay then related the message he gives to our brothers outside of The Holy Land. He likens Aliya to cleaning for Pesach. Everyone stresses out for that month prior to the holiday, but even though we are tired, at the end we get to celebrate the holiday of our freedom. Even more so with Aliya. Aliya is stressful during the preparation process, but in the end, we get to celebrate our freedom in our homeland. Every year we prepare for Pesach, but you only need to make aliyah once.

PS - The best preparation in the world for Aliya is reinforcing your emuna. Time to come home...

Time to Come Home

Before Shabbat, my beloved teacher and spiritual guide Rabbi Shalom Arush told me the following:

1. Despite all the threats against Israel, the Land of Israel is the safest place to be and no Jew will be hurt here, as we witnessed with the recent 220+ missile attacks in the South of Israel and no Jew was hurt other than minor scratches.

2. The Jews outside of Israel should start making a serious effort towards Aliya.

3. Hashem knows what's in your heart - even if you can't make aliya at this time for whatever reason, you should be praying to Hashem every day to enable you to make aliya.

Have a wonderful week!