HaDassah Sabo Milner

The Air That I Breathe

I recently explained on the Orthodox Conundrum podcast how different I feel when I am in Israel and I wanted to expand on that, because a sound bite doesn’t quite convey the true depth of my feelings.

Since I was a toddler I visited Israel very often, at least annually until I got married and started my family. Up until then, Israel was Israel, the place where we went to see family.

As a mature adult it’s come to mean more to me than that. When the plane lands in Israel, it’s almost as if the lead balloon weighing my heart down lifts as if it were made from helium. There’s a lightness to my being that starts as I get off that plane, even as the tears fall. As soon as the plane lands I am home. These days there is no going down to the tarmac when you get off the plane, but if we still could, I would kiss the ground every single time.

I consider myself a very spiritual person – not really one for organized prayer, but very deeply connected to God. I have had a one way conversation with Him going 24/7 for many years. This connection is heightened in Israel, I feel so much closer to Him.

This feeling deepened as one by one my sons made aliyah and joined the army. Landing in Israel to see my warriors, to bask in their holy light – where else could that happen but Israel?

The connection that I feel is pure. I feel like I am home, I feel that my destiny is there, in Israel. There is a spiritual oneness with Israel that envelopes me. This country is in my bones and in my soul. It feels like every mitzvah I do in Israel is multiplied ten-fold. I can think easier, I can breathe easier, my everyday stresses seem less important. I know that I can accomplish so much more if I were living in Israel. I know in my soul that I am meant to be there.

Leaving at the end of my trip is so painful – not just leaving my kids and the family, but leaving the place that I know is home, leaving the place where I feel most peaceful and at ease.

Today, during the war, with my miliumnik soldiers serving, the feeling of not being there causes me so much pain. My boys are fighting for our people, and I am not there. I am 6000 miles away filled with angst and guilt and yearning for my boys and my home. Me being in Israel wouldn’t change anything for the war, but it would help me not feel separate and apart and somewhat alone.

Yes I know Aliyah is the simple solution but life and practicalities make it difficult right now. Aliyah will happen, it just won’t be soon enough.

About the Author
HaDassah Sabo Milner is a Welsh Jew who lives in Monsey NY. She is a writer and a blogger and a lifelong foodie, and works in the local court's system. She's married with four sons who provide her with much fodder for her writing projects. HaDassah's oldest son made aliyah in Aug 2013, and her second son joined him in July 2014. Son #3 made Aliyah in August 2016 .Son #4 is a volunteer EMT and an entrepreneur and has no plans currently for aliyah.