Friday, July 24, 2009

Want to Go Home...

It's been my mind a lot lately. I really want to go back to Israel. Problem is, if we can't make it here financially, how are we supposed to make it there? So, I have to come up with a long term plan. It needs to involve me actually making some money here, going back to school to get a graduate degree, and making sure, should we decide to make Aliyah, that at least I, preferably both of us, have jobs in Israel. As I understand it, now is a great time to make Aliyah as the economy there is better, for the first time in history, than it is in the US.

But there's more to it than that. I have felt my connection with Judaism, Torah, and God slipping drastically in recent months. I'm always quite angry at God. The only time I ever feel a real connection is when I'm learning Navi, davening on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (and yes, I STILL do daven thrice a day and put on talis and tefilin for shacharis), and when I'm listening to older Jewish music (pre-1990 - anything after is pure crap). Aside from that, I just really feel no connection, except to one thing, which is a constant at this point: Eretz Yisrael. I miss it. I love it. I cry when I think about it. I cry when I daven about it. I cry during the three haftarot preceding (especially Shabbos Chazon) AND the seven proceeding Tish'a B'Av. On a side point, what really upsets me is that I daven in a Religious Zionist shul, and during these deeply moving and emotional haftarot, through my own tears, I see and hear people talking and chatting, not paying any attention to these haftarot (and even the ones who do pay attention so not seem to have any kind of emotional response) and the message they convey. It is deeply upsetting to me.

A friend, who also happens to be my rav, discussed the mourning period known as the Three Weeks. For a memory refresh, my issues with the Three Weeks are recorded here. I mentioned I find the idea of building UP to the worst day rather than down seems a bit backward when it comes to mourning. This is especially poignant to me having experienced going through aveilus after my father died (and yes, I'm still quite angry at him and do very much despise him, but I'm passed that now!).

He said, and I agree, one does build up, whether it's Rosh Chodesh Elul to Rosh Hahshana to Yom Kippur or Shiv'a Asar B'Tammuz to Tish'a B'Av, one builds up to the culmination.

Good. But, I said, I still don't agree, as mourning is supposed to dissipate, not get worse, and this is a mourning period, unlike the Yamim Noraim, which are does of repentance, and DO legitimately build up.

So, he asked me: "Do YOU deeply feel the loss of the Bais HaMikdash EVERY SINGLE DAY?"

I answered, honestly, that I did. Not for the Bais HaMikdash itself or even for what it represented, which was a closeness to God, because in truth, WITH the Bais HaMikdash, WITH the opportunity for such closeness, that closeness was squandered.

No. I feel, daily, all the time, the loss of the what the Bais HaMikdash was SUPPOSED to represent. It was a place where ALL Jews, regardless of HOW they worshipped God or HOW they followed legitimate halacha and a Torah lifestyle, were supposed to come together in Achdus, in universal unity. They were supposed to come together, bound by a love of their land, Torah, and each other, following the creed of "V'Ahavta L'Rei'acha Kamocha" - loving one's fellow Jew as one loves oneself.

But they didn't. And they STILL can't. Yesterday's events with that horrible moser, the "frum" person who baited people into laundering money for him and then turning them over to the government, is a prime example.

I just finished watching the miniseries Masada (Peter Strauss and Peter O'Toole) from 1981. There was one great line Peter Strauss, as the character of Elazar ben Yair said to Peter O'Toole's character of Flavius Silva. He said (I can't quote directly, but you'll get the gist) the problem Romans are having with the Jews is the Romans' own fault. When the Romans came in, they were a common enemy against whom the Jews could stand united. What the Romans SHOULD do, said Elazar ben Yair, is just leave the Jews alone. Left to their own devices, the Jews will be at each others' throats before long.

Truer words are difficult to find, again, especially light of yesterday's events.

So, yes. I do feel that loss. On a constant daily basis. And I do want to go home. I want to feel my connection to God and Yiddishkeit again. I've lost it, and that loss cannot be replaced with anything but what I've lost. I don't really know any other way to get it back.

Here's to hoping my wife and I can get our lives to a point where, soon, we can make Aliyah, happily and agreeably, and go home, where we belong.

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