Archive for October, 2005
Arutz Sheva today reports that “31 percent of Arabs in the PA think about living permanently in another country”
5 minutes before candle-lighting on Monday afternoon, I went to check the mail. I did not do this because I necessarily had any time to read the mail – but with a small mailbox and two days of Yom Tov coming up, if I didn’t empty the mailbox right then…well, let’s just say that sometimes our mailman (or mail-person, if you prefer) gets a little bit overenthusiastic about trying to cram every last credit card offer into our box.
However, when I glanced at the numerous envelopes (mostly credit card offers and bills) that had been sent to us, I saw a large envelope from Nefesh B’Nefesh. Now with only 4 minutes left until candle-lighting, I quickly opened up the envelope. And there it was.
Up until this point, our aliyah date had still had a little asterisk next to it. “We hope to make aliyah on the second day of Chanuka, December 27″, is what we would tell people, quickly following with the qualifier: “that is, if Nefesh B’Nefesh will accept us”.
“Is there a risk that they wont accept you” was the inevitable reply. “Well…we don’t know…it is never for certain…” we would stammer in response.
Asterisk be gone. We have been accepted on the NBN’s Winter 5766 flight. (You can count down with us in the Upcoming Dates section on the right. 61 days to go!!)
It has come to my attention that some of thefrequent visitors to this site have thought about making comments, but for some reason have refrained from posting them for the world to see.
Why? It is so much more fun (at least for me) when people write comments. It only takes a minute. (You. I am talking to you. You know exactly who you are).
We visited yesterday with some of my wife’s Israeli relatives who are in the states for a couple of months to see their grandchildren. They are an older couple approaching their seventies. He is a retired judge who has been in Israel his entire life and fought at the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
I had kind of expected it, but it still suprised me a little when he said “I would love to move to America”. He said that he really wanted some quiet – in Israel it is nothing but Jews fighting Jews and Jews fighting Arabs. He sees America as a place where these things don’t happen, a place where he can sit down and enjoy his retirement without having to worry about everything going on around him.
He was surprised when I told him that America is no Gan Eden for the Jewish people – here there are still fights between Jews, assimilation is bad with the Jewish intermarriage rate is over 50%, you are living in a non-Jewish country where it is nearly impossible to avoid all of the Halloween/X-mas/New Years celebrations going on all over the place. He was taken aback by this – someone who has lived their entire life in Israel would definitely find it hard to comprehend what it is like to be walking around for a month with X-mas jingles being played left and right.
It seems that when I get into a conversation like this with someone, each party goes in with a preconceived notion about how “things are going to be so much better once I make aliyah/yeridah”. I have had Israelis look at me like I was crazy – “Why do you want to come here when you are already in America? I would love to live in America”. And I look at them and say “why do you want to come to America? You are already living in Eretz haKodesh”. They say “Wars, fighting, discomfort”; I say “Kedusha, Torah, Aretz, Chagim, Shabbat”. Sometimes it really seems like we are speaking different languages.
Yet I know exactly what they are talking about. There are definitely going to be some things about America that I will miss. There are going to situations where I will say to myself “this was so much easier to do in the US”. At one point or another I will miss Galut. On the other hand, I am really looking forward to living in a place where everyone around me know about all of the Jewish holidays (not just cursory knowledge of Rosh haShannah and Yom Kippur), where you can feel the anticipation of Shabbat around you, where my neighbors all share my religious (to one degree or another).
I just hope that I will always remember what goes in the sand and what goes in the stone.
(Um…You would be proud too if you were me…)
Right now we are in the middle of chol hamoed Sukkot – the intermediate days of the festival. On these days we are still prohibited from performing many of the same acts of Melacha that are prohibited on Shabbat and Yom Tov. The exceptions are acts which are necessary for the holiday itself (cooking), financial loss (going to work), etc. Other acts are specifically prohibited during chol hamoed in order to prevent people from holding off on performing them before the holiday just so that they can do them during chol hamoed. The idea is that right now we should still have a festival atmosphere.
Among this last group is getting haircuts, shaving and doing laundry. Yes, it is forbidden to do laundry during chol hamoed. There are some exceptions to this rule (speak to your posek for details). I thought that I had remembered that one of these exceptions is washing clothing for a child. To check this out, I looked it up in my trusty sefer Chol haMoed k’Hilchata. One of the good things about this book (and others like it that tend to give as many strict rulings as possible) is that when it says that something is permitted, it is pretty trustworthy.
In the section on washing baby’s clothing, the following is written (chapter 5:15)
Clothing for infants and very small children, since their way is to make their clothing soiled with Great Frequency (??????? ?????), and all the more so the diapers in which they do their business, on Chol haMoed it is permissible to wash the amount of clothing that they require at the moment (Rema 534:1)…because they need many clothing, all the time (ibid)…it is impossible to set a limit [for the amount of clothing that they may need at any one time]
Oh how well I know.
(In a different footnote it says that in a washing machine, as long as you are running a load for your infant, you can put in as many clothes for then infant that will fit in the wash. However, you cannot include your own clothes in the infants wash – footnote 53)
See this article in Haaretz that talks about the reactions of American olim to their first High Holidays in their new homes.
The first person interviewed complained that “here, the kids had to be quiet and if they made a noise we had to take them out” (awww shucks).
However, if you get past the third paragraph, you will find out that “most of the new immigrants interviewed by Anglo File this week had positive experiences” (nice of them to mention that). “It’s a much more all-encompassing holiday experience here. The notion of saying `Hag Sameah’ [happy holiday] to everyone you know – even before you start a bid on a job site or buy a tool at a hardware store – is something I enjoy. It makes me feel good. No great epiphanies, but for one split moment, people smile and relax.” (Seth Grodofsky, Arad)
The most important point (in my opinion) is made by Goel Jasper of Kochav Yaakov:
Here, [the leadership] was certainly capable but it was not focused on inspiring everybody, so [the service] had much less of a special feeling to it. People outside of Israel have more of a need for ritual. We [in Israel] don’t need the latest and greatest in Sukkah technology or to come up with creative ways of feeling close to God because we’re in his hometown.
Religious communities have a different role in Israel than they do in the Disapora. In Israel there is not so much of a need for the shul to be the center of the community, the religious beacon in people’s lives. Instead it is just one other place where people go throughout their day-to-day lives in order to fulfill some of their religious obligations. (This can and is done in the US as well – it is just much harder for people to do – and much harder to find shuls where it is possible to do this). It will definitely be something to get used to (for some more than others). However, going up in holiness (ma’alin bakodesh) is in general a good thing.
(Thankfully, Haaretz did not publish any accounts of recent olim expressing jubliation at being able to roller blade in the middle of the street and at not fasting on Yom Kippur because being in Israel is good enough).
For a few minutes on the first day of Sukkot, we thought that my Artscroll Sukkot machzor was lost (it was found five minutes later in the Sukkah).
Got me thinking though: will I ever be needing this machzor again? Next year, God willing, I will be living in Eretz Yisrael for all of the chagim. As such, I will only be celbrating one day of Yom Tov (instead of two) for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. The Artscroll Sukkot machzor, though very helpful, is very exile-centric. All of the sections on for Yom Tov prayers are assuming that you will be having two days of Yom Tov. And that Chol Hamoed will start on the third day of Sukkot (as opposed to when it really starts, on the second day). Similar confusion with Torah readings and hoshanot.
So I guess I will have to buy a new set of Yom Tov machzorim when I get There. Just one more unpublished aliyah expense (but one I will be happy to pay.
See Leading Kabbalist Urges Jews to Israel – More Disasters Coming in Arutz Sheva.
I do not know Kabbala. Predictions have been made in the past that have not come true. However, on reading things like this, I would like to quote my old Rosh Yeshiva: “Az Very Scary!”