Should a person who desperately wants to make aliyah
do so even if his or her parents object?
Although one is not required to listen to one’s parents if they interfere with the performance of a mitzvah – and making aliyah is a mitzvah according to most halachic opinions – it really depends on the parents’ reason for objecting.
If they object on purely subjective grounds – they oppose the move either ideologically or they want their children and grandchildren near them – one is not obligated to heed their wishes.
However, if the parents need the child’s aid (e.g., they are old and can’t move about), or if moving will have a serious impact on shalom bayis, or if the parents object because they feel the child is being irresponsible – e.g., he will encounter problems earning a living, raising children, finding a suitable place to live, or living a proper Torah life – then although one is not required to heed their wishes, one definitely is not prohibited from considering their reservations and perhaps changing one’s decision based on their advice.
— Rabbi Zev Leff, rav of Moshav Matisyahu,
popular lecturer and educator
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The basic halacha is that a grown child may decide for him/herself about aliyah and that parents do not have the right to impose their will in this matter. This is especially true if the grown child feels that he/she can learn and observe Torah better in Israel and if he/she wants to raise children there.
It is best, of course, if parents and children reach as amicable understanding. In our days, it’s easier to maintain contact with family even if they live far from each other. We have WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom, etc. We also can travel to and from Israel much more quickly and easily than was possible for our ancestors even a few generations ago.
Making aliyah is a big decision. If a grown child has decided on aliyah after carefully considering the pluses and minuses, then the parents should accept this decision gracefully… and proudly.
— Rabbi Marc D. Angel, director of
the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals
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There is a halachic component to this question that I would prefer not to deal with. In terms of the proper Jewish outlook on moving to Israel, however, I would say the following:
Three times a day we beg Hashem to be able to return to our homeland, and going to Israel is a tremendous opportunity for many people to grow closer to Hashem and reach great heights.
For many others, though, it can be very damaging. School-age children, for example, have to make a big adjustment. In general, there’s a tremendous learning curve involved in moving to Israel.
Unfortunately, we’re not yet living in the era of Moshiach, and as much as we yearn to be in our holy land, the situation there is not a perfect panacea at the present time.
So each individual must conduct a very careful analysis of his situation, and it’s wisest to ask advise – preferably from a rav, but certainly from someone older – because although the desire to go is great, it’s not the correct choice for every individual.
— Rabbi Ben Zion Shafier, founder of The Shmuz
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A very interesting dilemma!
The Torah (Exodus 20:12) states, “Kabed et avicha v’et imecha l’ma’an ya’arichun yamecha al ha’adama asher Hashem Elokecha noten lecha – Honor your mother and father in order that you prolong your days in the land that the eternal L-rd your G-d has given you.”
From the very words of the verse, we see that this commandment – one of the principal commandments of the Torah – is tied to living in the Land of Israel.
If parents insist that their child not make aliyah, either he’ll listen and not fulfill his dream of fulfilling the mitzvah of yeshivat ha’aretz or, worse, he’ll make aliyah and his parents will have caused him to violate the mitzvah of kibud av v’em.
If the person is an only child, the parents may have a valid claim, and it’s advisable for the child to remain near his parents. If there are other children, however, it would seem that the words of the verse speak for themselves.
— Rabbi Yaakov Klass,
Torah Editor of The Jewish Press