Not long ago I heard a speaker say something that I found so outrageous, sacrilegious, ‘חילול ד chillul Hashem, disparaging of Gd and the Land of Israel, that I searched him out afterwards to tell him how upset he had gotten me. He had called Aliyah “The Ultimate Sacrifice.”

Of course I understand that Aliyah, the move to Israel is sometimes more difficult for others as it was for me, but to call it The “Ultimate Sacrifice” puts a value on living outside of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel over living here that has no place in Judaism or reality.


Of course there are adjustments one must make in any move, whether from Brooklyn to Monsey or Monsey to Jerusalem. Most people find any change traumatic, especially when the decision is made by someone else. And sometimes parents don’t “market it well” for their kids or find the right educational framework. In any move, parents must be sensitive to their children’s needs and advocate for them. I’m still upset with my parents’ oblivion to my suffering when we moved from Bayside, NYC, NY to Great Neck, NY. Even though the physical distance was just a few miles, the educational system was totally different. I was put back a grade, and my parents hadn’t a clue or didn’t care. Maybe it was the parenting style of that time, but nobody, neither parents nor school guidance counselors, ever spoke to me about it.

Moving to Israel, making Aliyah, is totally different from any other move. First of all, Gd commanded us to live in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Many of the mitzvot, Torah commandments can only be done here. Besides that, there are government offices and Nefesh B’Nefesh which are dedicated to facilitating the absorption, adjustment, of olim chadashim, newcomers to Israel.

Unlike when my husband and I made aliyah, came here in 1970, Israel is on the same if not higher technological, standard of living as any place else in the world. Today’s Israel also has one of the world’s strongest economies.

Every move demands change and adjustment. But if you are angry about the decision that had been made for you, learning to see the good and adjusting will be near impossible.

Israel is a wonderful, beautiful country, full of goodness, miracles and chessed. To me it’s a sacrifice living any place else.

Before one of my sons went into the IDF he was in a program which had a very good fitness trainer who always said:

הכל בראש
Hakol barosh.
“It’s all in your head.”

The meaning is that you actually can control your feelings and capabilities. If you look at Aliyah as  The “Ultimate Sacrifice,” then you will always feel victimized by it, rather than a privileged beneficiary of living here in Gd’s HolyLand.





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Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.