Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I’m sitting here crying as I write this, still shaking with disappointment and shock at the argument I just had with my parents. I never expected to hear from them negatively about my going to seminary in Eretz Yisrael after my graduation in June because it was sort of a given that I would go, following my sisters, who had gone after they graduated. But just this evening, my parent sat down with me and said that this year was not a good year to study in Eretz Yisrael. Their reasoning was that they were uncertain about my safety and they felt that waiting one more year to see the matzav improve would be the wiser path to take.


I burst out crying and said that just wasn’t right! Of all my classmates who were planning to apply to various seminaries in the hopes of being accepted once the selections came to our school, only two of the girls had a change of heart about applying, all the rest of us were looking forward to going and experiencing this special year of learning in Eretz Yisrael and possibly extending it to shana bet, if at all possible. The girls that have gone before us, like my sisters, all say how wonderful and important this is to our growth in ruchnius and for our foundation for adulthood. But still, this did not seem to sway my parents in their decision, especially my father, who has many relatives in Eretz Yisrael.

I am so brokenhearted I don’t know what else to do or who to speak to in order to change their minds. So, at three o’clock in the morning and with swollen eyes from crying, I write to you to ask what I can do to reverse their decision. I don’t know how I can face my two best friends about the fact that I may not be joining them to share this much anticipated experience and how it will affect our comradery! Please, please can you give me some idea of what to do that will make my parents see how very important it is for me to go and how very cutting and devastating their decision is for me.


Dear Talmida Yekarah,

Your letter touched my heart in so many different ways and your reason for writing is a lightening rod for many other young people who, perhaps, are or may well be facing the same issues that you and your parents are in the not-too-distant future. This fear and uncertainty may well cause more heartache for, and division between, children and their parents so it must be considered on a number of different levels.

First and foremost, I speak to you, the budding young student who, like her sisters before her, were granted the privilege of spending their first year(s) after graduating from twelve years of structured academic learning and living at home under the watchful eye of loving and protective parents, enjoyed and benefited from. I truly understand the huge let-down you just experienced, learning so late in the game that this privilege was being denied to you. I also know how divisive this may be in terms of your long established friendships and bonds with the classmates you shared for the last twelve years all the way from kindergarten through high school as kids and now hoping to sort these next years as young adults spreading your wings in Eretz HaKadosha together. I feel your pain and I also understand your resentment. But hear me out for a moment and maybe we can come to a better understanding of all involved that will lead to a wiser solution.

Your parents love you very much, I know you know this in your heart of hearts, so what they want for you is your continued safety and well-being. I totally understand where they are coming from, being a parent and grandparent of children who have followed that sheita of learning in Eretz Yisrael, that very special first, second and for some, even third year post-graduation. In fact, I still have grandchildren learning there at this very moment. The world was a very different place then from the one of today, only isolated incidences of attacks, but don’t think I and all other parents didn’t worry about our kids and grandkids, some of them too adventurous for their own good. We prayed for their good senses to take hold quickly and for all of Klal Yisrael to be safe. And our kids, for the most part, did come home safe and sound, much wiser than when they first went and with a deeper love and loyalty to Eretz Yisrael than when they first boarded that plane after graduation.

There has been a great upheaval in our world since those days, and in particular, in the past three months. After what occurred on October 7, Hashem yerachaim, not one of us feels the same way we felt the day before. Our very lives, no matter what country, city or state we lived in, suddenly felt hostile, unsafe and insecure. The people we looked at as friends, business acquaintances and with whom we exchanged pleasantries on a daily basis, suddenly fell suspect to our insecurities. Some of us mourned husbands, wives, children and elderly parents living on kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip and all of us mourned the brave and beautiful young chayalim, and those who were kidnapped, along with their biological parents, spouses, children and families because they are all our sons and daughters, as if we had birthed them ourselves. And from every state went our husbands, sons and extended family members, called up as reserves and volunteers who willingly and without hesitation, rushed to Eretz Yisrael, our homeland, to defend and protect her.

We all have changed, some getting trapped in the fear and false news, but most of us for the better, doing all we can to raise money and awareness against hate and the genocide of our people yet again. We volunteer to pack duffle bags filled with necessities to sustain our chayalim and to assist those families forced to move out of their homes because they live in an active line of fire in the war zones. We physically board planes to go and pick the ripened fruits and vegetables to sustain the country in these bitter times when manpower is needed on the front for protection of our existence. We cook food, take care of the cattle and livestock and work on the farms where the men folk have left to defend Jewry in Israel and abroad. And our children in Seminaries and Yeshivos have chosen not to leave and abandon their ancestral home at a time when their pure learning and praying are needed most and are living as one body and one soul the true meaning of ve’ahavta le’rayacha… and mi ke’amcha Yisrael! It is a time of return, not a time to abandon our beloved homeland, the land that was given to our forefathers and thus to us. It is a time when every Jew should invest in Eretz Yisrael, make aliyah, or simply buy a home for when they can actively return home! This is a time when we must all be of one mind and one body in our effort to protect the very essence of who we are and what we are expected to do by our Creator!

That said, and returning to the original purpose of your letter, I would tell you that your desire to learn in Eretz Yisrael must not overshadow your obligation to listen to your parents and be mekayem kibbud av va’eim even though you feel sorely towards them. They genuinely want what is best for you at this juncture and it takes an overpowering love to request this of you at this time. To your parents I would say to step back a moment and think deeply and honestly how they would have felt had their own parents denied them their year(s) of learning in Eretz HaKadosha, and in all fairness, understand and accept your desire to go, even at this time of crisis.

To all my grandchildren, in Midreshes Tehillah and all the other seminaries and yeshivos who have stayed put in spite of all the odds, helping when and where they can, volunteering to wash/mend/and make clothes for our chayalim on the front lines and elsewhere, who cook/bake and construct delicious food packages with notes of encouragement enclosed in each package, who make house calls to the grief-stricken and babysit for the women whose husbands have been called up to war. Kol hakavod and all my love, I am so very proud to be your Baba!

I hope this response will help you in some way, dear child, so if the answer is yes then go ahead and show it to your parents, along with the enclosed phone number if they wish to speak to me… or even berate me for my input. For all Klal Yisrael, I wish and pray for the ultimate peace that will ensue with the coming of Mashiach bimhayra Beyameinu, Amen!


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