Why Not Come Home?

Dear Rabbi Bloom,

Yes, as you wrote in Hamodia, in many areas of Hashem’s service, He leaves a small cruse of oil for us to discover and light, if only we search for it diligently. He then lavishes miraculous Divine aid over our efforts so that the flame grows to tremendous proportions.

I am among the fortunate who — many years ago — were privileged to recognize His lovingkindness in His establishment of a yishuv in Eretz Yisrael. I understood that, after the decimation of the Jews of the world in their lands of exile, we were meant to ascend to live in the Land He chose for our service of Him. Those of us who have come here have witnessed amazing growth toward the Geulah, in every single area of Torah observance and learning. As individuals, we have grown and flourished in unprecedented ways.

But the Land awaits the rest of its children, especially those faithful to His commandments. If an observant Torah Jew out there picks up and moves … why does he not consider moving to where the mitzvos are meant to be observed? How can it be, that Chanukah after Chanukah, so many Jews who really do want to find ways to expand the flames have their backs turned on this cruse, and seek only to dig deeper and deeper roots into foreign settlements?

We will soon read Parashas Vayigash, which ends with the tragic verse: “The people of Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they established themselves there, and they were fruitful and multiplied.”

Is it any wonder that this is a parashah sesumah, and that Yaakov dared not reveal the end to us (see Keli Yakar)?

I was pained that your daughter’s move to another city outside of our Land was referred to so casually, without even a touch of sadness.

For a balanced view of the subject, please read To Dwell in the Palace, Feldheim Publishers, 1991, with the Haskamah of Harav Mordecai Gifter, zt”l.

Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein, Jerusalem

Rabbi Bloom responds:

Thank you for your letter.

My wife and I, too, are, baruch Hashem, among the fortunate ones who were privileged to ascend to live in “the Land He chose for our service to Him.” It wasn’t immediate, though. It took us 50 years till we realized our dream.

During the interim period we felt, after consultation with our rebbeim, that, on balance, the way we could serve Hashem best was to work in His service in a foreign land.

Until Moshiach comes (hopefully soon) and all the Jewish people are able to come united to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, I think that each individual has to discuss with his rebbeim how best they can serve the Ribbono shel Olam.

If it turns out to be in Jackson, New Jersey, so be it.