Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Short, Uncharitable Rant

First of all, let me apologize for the previous post. The sappiness of it overwhelmed almost before I had finished posting it, but I can't afford to delete anything that I spent precious computer time writing.

And on to the rant of the evening. I just got back from a shiur for alumnae of my high school. It was a wonderful shiur, it really was. Not boring at all, and very full of lovely, surprising pro-Israel sentiment. Trotting out all of the traditional lines- "He who lives outside of Israel, it is as if he serves idols", "Ramban says it's a mitzvah d'orayta to live in Israel", roundly criticizing Reuven and Gad for choosing wealth over living in Israel, and so on and so forth. Really, it was wonderful.

But it still rubbed me just a bit the wrong way. I'm afraid that I am sick and tired of hearing my American teachers and rabbis lecture about the holiness and necessity of living in Israel. "Yes, inspiring, wonderful, great idea. Why don't you go for it?"

Or all the people who go up to me and congratulate me on my aliya. "You're so lucky," they say. "Take me with you," they say. "I wish I could join you," they say. Well, you know what? There's no immigration quota. You want, you can spend a couple of weeks filling out paperwork and you can go too.

And yes, I know that I am being smug and unfair and self-righteous. I know that making aliya is not simple or fun, and for many it may well be unwise or impossible. I know that I spent seminary being annoyed at the people who thought that every Zionist in American was a hypocrite for not moving there. I know that there are plenty of good reasons for staying here. I know that I am only making it due to a tremendously large amount of good fortune and help from above.

But still. I mean, still. One of the main reasons that I decided to go for it was that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life being one of those people. That I would have always felt like a bit of a failure if I never made it to fulfilling something that I believe is so important. That I would not be able to stand becoming one of those people who lecture others about the paramount importance of something that you can't do. Or forever being jealous of others for being able to do something that I just could never manage.

I don't address this mainly to the people with families and untransferable jobs or anything, I mean my peers who are just starting to plan out their lives and just say that "someday they hope to make it to Israel." Someday often never happens. And I know that this is hypocritical, because until six months ago, I was saying the exact same thing- "someday", "after college", "definitely in my plans". But- if you really mean it, if you want it to happen, then you have to do it. Just go for it. Not someday, not 'I wish'. And certainly not 'It is morally mandatory. For all of you."

1 comment:

Miri said...

yes, uncharitable, a little. the fact of the matter is, I pity all those who are not as fortunat as I, who stay locked into the "wouldn't it be nice?" version of things. when ppl tell me how jealous they are, I say, "Yeah, I'd be jealous too, if I were you." I spent my whole life being jealous. that's why I stopped. (By the way - it's awesome. NBN rules!)