Israel Forever

For the week ending 12 June 2004 / 23 Sivan 5764

Why Are They Leaving?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

A recent survey revealed that a shockingly high percentage of Israeli youngsters see their futures as being outside of Israel.

In reality this should not come as much of a shock when we consider how many hundreds of thousands of Israelis are already living abroad.

Is this phenomenon an echo of the failure of our ancestors to appreciate the gift of Eretz Yisrael following the slanderous report of the spies sent by Moshe that we will read about in this weeks Torah portion? The difference seems rather obvious. Those who had never yet experienced the "land of milk and honey" promised to them by their Creator could be duped by spies who misrepresented it. But how could Jews who experienced the fulfillment of the age-old Jewish dream of living in Eretz Yisrael so readily abandon it?

The answer is that most of those who left or are planning to do so never really experienced Eretz Yisrael in the manner that was intended by G-d when He gave us this land. They may have been citizens of a "Jewish National Homeland" but they were not educated in the sacred values of Judaism which cause a Jew to relate to this as the "Holy Land".

National pride is hardly a value that can stand up against economic difficulties, and the illusion of a "refuge for persecuted Jews" fades away before the threat of terrorism. It is only an appreciation of Eretz Yisrael as a holy land where a Jew can live a fuller Torah life that can keep Jews in Israel forever.

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