Carolyn Steinman

Crossing the Yarden

As I glanced up, under the weight of my very overweight carry-on, I see our plane. And it strikes me looking at the emblem of the Etihad eagle on the tail, that we are truly being borne to the Promised Land on the wings of eagles! Okay, not quite what Hashem meant when He said He would bring us from Mitzrayim on the wings of eagles, but pretty close!

And sitting waiting on the plane for our departure as the technicians fixed the aircon, I couldn’t help but see the irony in a map of the route, out of Australia to Israel via Abu Dhabi, in Arabic. Yes, we are leaving our Mitzrayim.

The original journey of Bnei Yisrael was from Mitzrayim to the Land, via the desert and then across the Yarden. And now, as we are suspended 36,000 feet above the earth over the very same desert, we are about to cross the Yarden ourselves.  Although at a speed of 961km an hour, if we blink we will miss the moment!  And just like the time of Yehoshua it is on the one hand so easy. Then and now, the river is in reality so narrow. Today one can hardly compare a 20 hour trip with 40 years of wandering in the desert. But just as it was then, the significance of taking those steps into the waters remains as challenging. Just as it was then, there is the lack of certainty of how we will make a living. Well, to be honest, I am a bit like the tribes of Reuven, Gad and half of Menashe, as I too, have been privileged to continue my work in Sydney for a while. Just as it was then, issues of our national security still loom large.

Bnei Yisrael had the Ark behind them as they crossed, and while not quite the same thing, I too, have my faith in Hashem and conviction that we are privileged to be part of the history of our people stretching back to that moment when our people stood on the one shore looking over at the land they were about to enter.  They knew they had to conquer it and settle it. With hindsight that was a mission that would take not one lifetime, but the the generations of our people. And we are not there yet.

Each of us plays our own role in contributing to that process. Each Israeli, each oleh and olah is part of the building of our Land.

Conquering our inner fears as much as dealing with our enemies without. And we do this, not only as individuals, but as part of a collective with faith in Hashem. Therein lies our strength.

As my wise son told me, there will aways be opportunities in chutzla Aretz to test and to tease us. Stay a bit longer, earn a bit more. But as tempting as it may be, I know fulfilment for me lies across the Yarden on the other side. In our Land, with my people and my family.

וְשָׁבוּ בָנִים, לִגְבוּלָ

שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

About the Author
Carolyn was born in South Africa, lived in Australia and has now realised her dream of making Aliyah. She has taught in schools and university across two continents and four cities. Carolyn, now officially Gavriella, blogs her journey and it’s quirky and profound moments, from one side of the Yarden to the other.