American Jewry, How Do I Know I Love You

To my friends all over the world, and specifically in America.

There is a wonderful teaching from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. It’s found right in between the first and second parts of Likutei Moharan, titled “Echad Haya Avraham”. In this powerful teaching, Rebbe Nachman explores the character of Avraham Avinu. What made Avraham Avinu Avraham Avinu? It was when he understood what it means to love someone. Avraham Avinu became Avraham Avinu when he realized that he really loved people. He loved his generation and he loved the world- enough to not care what they would think of him. He realized that if he loved someone, but was really more concerned about what they thought of him, then he couldn’t really love them.

Loving someone for real means loving them regardless of what they think of me. If I truly love them, and sincerely care for them, that comes before anything.

What does this have to do with right now?

Many people have already had the privilege of hearing the words Lech Lecha. They have packed up their bags and moved to Eretz Yisrael. Sadly enough, quite often they believed in using the “guilt card” toward family members and friends who were still living back in the States. I have never met anyone who has moved to Eretz Yisrael because of guilt. Nor should they.

I hope and pray that each and every one of you believes that we all here love you so much.

It’s time to come home. Not because of any zionist motive, or any other motive.

It’s just time to come home.

Perhaps the current riots will end in the next few days. Maybe they won’t, but maybe they will. The mere fact that this is actually happening right now, however, should be enough to make us stop and say to the Master of the Universe – “Thank you so much for this gift called America- it’s been an amazing gift!” It has given so much to humanity and truly has been so incredible to the Jewish people as well.

And yet, what is taking place right now in the States forces us to do some deep introspection and adopt the concept of “chayecha kodmin- putting your life first.”

Who would have dreamed that 75 years after Auschwitz, Rabbis across the country would have to gather up the sifrei Torah from their shuls, and hide them in their homes, out of fear of the shuls being broken into and vandalized. This is just one example of the unfathomable.

We could give a million different reasons as to why someone should come home, but the truth is that one doesn’t need a reason to come home.

I am fully aware of the difficulty behind a commitment like this. It’s probably one of the most difficult decisions anyone could make- to uproot themselves and their families from that which they know of, from that which they feel comfortable with. It is extremely tough.

But I want to tell you something even more important. Us here in Eretz Yisrael, we need you. We are still trying to figure out what this dream of coming back home is all about. We are working very hard on it. And it would be so beautiful and so right if we could figure out the rest of our journey to our destiny together with the rest of the Mishpacha.

As I write these words I am praying stronger than ever that you hear how much sincere love and care are in these words.

I’m asking you all to seriously consider committing to coming home, to Eretz Yisrael.

For no reason and for every reason in the world.

Love, Shlomo

About the Author
Born in New Jersey, while growing up between Los Angeles and Ra'anana. I released a number of albums, and have been blessed to sing some of my melodies throughout the world. Received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at Yeshivat Hamivtar. We live in Efrat, with our four precious daughters. Spiritual leader of Beit Knesset Shirat David, in Efrat, where I get to pray and learn with some of my best friends. Founder of the Shlomo Katz project.
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