A Final Word
By R’ Nison Gordon, z’l
From the 1964 book “Alt Un Nei In Yisroel.” Translated from the Yiddish by Victor Cohen.
A visit to Eretz Yisrael answers many seemingly difficult questions. The “Ta Chozi” in the Yerushalmi gives the answers to many of the “Ta Shama” in the Bavli. Nevertheless, a visit to Eretz Yisrael also creates new questions. One of these difficult questions which my visit in Israel calls out—How can a believing Jew sit outside the country while the doors of Eretz Yisrael are open?
Let us set aside the casuistry. Is living in Eretz Yisrael a Biblical obligation or is it a demand of our Sages? Let us set aside political contentions of all parties. The Holy Land is wide open for Jews to enter and if only we were permitted from all over to leave, just as we are permitted from everywhere to enter.
What has occurred with our love, with the deep-rooted love and our longing for Zion? Those of us who sit outside the land with complaints of the regime, of the administration, do they truly mean it or do they use these complaints as a camouflage for their love of the American “fleshpot”?
If we should accept the attitude that residing in Eretz Yisrael is a sin, then do not religious Jews ever err in more serious sins? Why does not one err in the sin of going to Eretz Yisrael and reside in Bnei Brak, Chofetz Chaim, Kfar Chabad, or Sdei Chemed?
Being in Eretz Yisrael and noticing how religious Jews live in religious communities, in cooperative settlements, and kibbutzim, makes the question of American religious Jews stand out in its fullest sharpness. I ask it not only of others; I ask it no less of myself as an individual of the American religious community.
If by drinking chalav Yisrael in America, we revolutionize the world—a lot of credit goes to those first pioneers who instituted that a Jew can drink a glass of milk, with no doubts—then where is our strictness in living and breathing in Eretz Yisrael?
The religious Jewry in America in general can have their logical or elaborate answers to why all religious Jews do not fly on one early morning to Eretz Yisrael. How does each individual, each religious Jew for himself in truth, sincerely not leave to Eretz Yisrael?
The destruction in our days has called for many skeptics questioning the whys and wherefores. The Jew, the believer, knows and feels “Righteous is Hashem in all His ways and magnanimous in all His deeds” and that the ways of Providence are concealed, that G‑d is right and His judgment is correct even if we do not understand it.
But the whys and wherefores of this era of Eretz Yisrael call out to account the believing Jews. Why do Jews, believers in the holiness of the Torah, also meaning the holiness of the land, reside outside of the land? This is the big question for us and not of Providence.
Here Providence waits for the answer.