“… בְּשׁוּב ה’ אֶת שִׁיבַת צִיּון הָיִינוּ כְּחלְמִים”

We say this pasuk every week, but until I came to Israel it never had any real significance for me. During my senior year of High School we learned Shivat Tzion. We spent a long time learning Shir Hamaalot, since it is something that we say so often but don’t really think about. We learned how it describes the past and also dictates the future. This is not a prophecy that has been fulfilled yet; it is one we are watching happen today.

This past week I had the privilege of going to my cousin’s Givati swearing in ceremony at the Kotel, and while I have been to one before I never quite understood what was going on. This time I made sure to pay attention to the speaker and listen to what he said. They started off with a short memorial for the soldiers who were killed in battle. Then the speaker started quoting Tanach, and the first pasuk he said was this one. He spoke about the wars of Shivat Tzion, and how these soldiers embody what the Tanach describe as the people who protect our country. They call every soldier up individually, hand them a gun and a Tanach, at which point they promise to serve the country and are sworn into the army. The physical and spiritual are combined so well in this ceremony, both being strengthened through each other.

In the last couple of weeks I have started my Aliyah paperwork. It has made me think about why exactly I feel so strongly about making Aliyah officially, since I already live in Israel for all intents and purposes. There isn’t an intellectual reason why I feel so strongly about it, it is solely emotional. When I do make Aliyah, the only difference in my life is that my move will be certified. This idea brought me to a pasuk in the middle of Shir Hamaalot: “הִגְדִּיל ה’ לַעֲשות עִמָּנוּ הָיִינוּ שמֵחִים”

Right now I am at the beginning of the pasuk, I am living the dream; “When Hashem returned the captives of Zion, we were like people in a dream.” It is hard to believe that I have the immense honor of living in Israel and starting my life here. It is something that I dreamed about for so long and now I am living it. With official Aliyah, I am moving into the rest of the pasuk; “Hashem has done great things for us, and we rejoice.” The longer I live here, the more real it becomes for me. I feel myself switching over every day as I go about my life, and as my life becomes more normal. The second half of the pasuk comes with acceptance of the situation. Once you understand that what is happening to you is permanent, realization comes along with it. That is what my Aliyah process feels like, making my life here permanent.

So as I happily count down the weeks until my Aliyah is final, I anticipate what my future will be like. I have no idea. At all. But the one thing I do know is that I am where I am meant to be.