This week’s Parsha starts off with God telling Avram to leave from;
- His land
- His birthplace
- His fathers (parents’) house
And go “to a place that I will show you”.
Why was there a need to overemphasize the location that Avram was in? When Delta Airlines is calling passengers for the flight from New Orleans to Vancouver, they don’t announce; “now boarding the people from New Orleans, where the Stein family lives, the birthplace of jazz, a top Mardi Gra scene etc.” Rather they just say; “calling all passengers for the flight to Vancouver. Now squeeze into your tiny seats and eat your peanuts”. So why the overemphasis on details of the location? I can provide a hippy answer that “you don’t know where you can go, unless you know where you’ve been”. But that’s inaccurate, because one can just go to another location, and that second location can be where they are coming from.
I think that the purpose of these details may be to emphasize to Avram, what he is indeed giving up on when leaving his land; it’s not necessarily the land which includes the physical place that he lives on, but rather, he will also be giving up on the emotional side of it as well. “The land of your birthplace” and “the land of your parents” are both emotional sides of leaving a location, factors that also need to be considered when deciding to move. Too often, we only see the practical and tangible side of moving and don’t factor in the unintended emotional side of leaving. For example, I moved to Israel because it was the right thing for me, but did I properly factor the emotional side of not seeing my great-grandmother as often as I wanted and the emotional effect it would cause both of us (Bobby Mina passed away a few months ago). I’d like to think that I did, but…
Newton’s third law rings true. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Moving countries has positive and negative reactions, and to not see that, is looking at moving with blinders on. For example, there are many parts that I love about living here in Israel, things that I wouldn’t be able to acquire, or to be a part of, anywhere else. At the same time, do I miss America? Anyone that says that they don’t miss certain advantageous parts of living in America, such as donuts served at all times of the year, the lack of rocket attacks or the convenience of same day delivery (feel free to add your specific American’isms here) isn’t looking at the situation objectively. Is Israel perfect? No. What will it take to get me to move to America, a question that people have been asking me since the start of the war? Literally nothing.
But does that mean I am settled in my community and my life? Not at all. In fact, 36 hours ago, I moved out of Jerusalem to a community, where I feel that for the time being I can grow the most. Is this my final destination? Who knows?
To quote my first blog post after moving to Israel; “Why did I leave a secure lifestyle and livelihood for an unknown halfway across the world? How will I find a job here? How will I find the right job? Who should I date? Where will I settle down and what does the future hold in store for me? While I didn’t come up with any clear answers to these questions, I did come to the realization that life is not a destination. It is a journey and a process. A journey filled with meaning, doubts, twists and turns and a process with its very own custom-made ups and downs. I laugh nostalgically when people half my age expressively map out their life, which community they will live in and which ones they won’t, which Shul they will daven at, what profession they will work in, and what type of woman they will marry. Similar to how best friends in high school think they will be best friends forever. They don’t factor in something bigger than their plan. It’s called LIFE. And life has a funny way of taking all the PLANS and well thought out factors you’ve set into place and throwing them out the window. Its why the expression “Man plans, and God laughs” is so accurate. The fact that we think that that we control things is funny enough for God to laugh. And it’s why I entitled this blog post as “My Aliyah Journey” and not “My Aliyah”. Although the word Aliyah is frequently used in the context of moving to Israel, its literal translation is “moving up”. And that’s how I plan on journeying through life. By going up. Where will this journey take me? I don’t know and God hasn’t let me in on his plans. All I know is that I have to do my part and as for the outcome, only time will tell.
Much like God’s promise to Avraham, when we follow in His direction, we become a source of blessing and unfold the potential for generational greatness. As we navigate the journey of life in the steps of God, let us expect the unexpected and ever-changing paths it may present, with enthusiasm and opportunity.