By Shia Getter
I have just returned to Yerushalayim from a whirlwind trip to New York, Los Angeles, and London, where I consulted for clients and attended real-estate meetings. I continue to be amazed at the sheer number of acheinu Bnei Yisrael, from all segments of Orthodox Jewry, who yearn to live in Eretz Yisrael.
While not everyone has the ability and the z’chus to live here at this point in the galus, the yearning and the love with which people speak about Eretz Yisrael and even the warm “shalom aleichem” they give to a Yid from Eretz Yisrael have such special meaning. I definitely don’t remember being on the receiving end of the warm greetings I enjoy today when I lived in London!
In the fantastic book To Dwell in the Palace (p. 81), Ali Lavie quotes the Shela HaKadosh at the end of Maseches Sukkah, where he shares the following discomfort: “I will disclose something that has always troubled me greatly. I have seen Jews building homes like the fortresses of princes, making themselves permanent, this-worldly dwellings in impure lands . . .” The Kli Yakar (Bereishis 47) is similarly worried about how people with large mansions in Chutz La’aretz cannot properly daven for the geulah, because they don’t feel anything substantially lacking in their current reality. I’d like to take this opportunity, in the aftermath of the Three Weeks and at the beginning of Elul, to be meilitz yosher on those well-to-do Yidden.
With Jews scattered across the world after the Holocaust, from the U.S. and U.K. to Gibraltar, Panama, and other remote places, picking up a family and moving to Eretz Yisrael is by no means a simple procedure, and often it is simply not attainable. And yet, as soon as a Jew is financially and practically able, one of the first things he is moved to do is visit Eretz Yisrael. And as soon as they can afford to, many families look into buying an apartment in Eretz Yisrael.
It might not be viable for them to pick up and leave their community, jobs, and children’s chinuch. Many Jews, without Hebrew fluency, will hardly be able to make a living in Eretz Yisrael. In many cases it is unwise to uproot a stable family from a community where the children are flourishing. But that doesn’t mean they don’t yearn for their true home. And I am personally involved with many such Jews who express their feeling of connection by buying or building an apartment here. Some rent it out as an investment for the time being, while others prefer to keep it available for their own visits, perhaps renting it out short-term between trips.
I will repeat an interesting thing I saw. A client of mine has an explicit clause in his lease contract to the effect that “if you are the occupant of the apartment when Mashiach comes, you must vacate within 48 hours, as we would like to be able to occupy it ourselves.” (Whether or not he would actually be able to live there, and whether his shevet’s chelek will end up in that region of Eretz Yisrael where his luxury apartment was built, is certainly a fascinating topic for discussion.) While the economy continues to improve, new chareidi developments are spreading out through Bet Shemesh, Givat Zeev, and across Yerushalayim. At our office, we have witnessed a major increase in the number of buyers and calls from people who are ready to put their money where their heart is. It is a wonderful z’chus to be able to aid these Yidden in actualizing their dream of buying something in Eretz Yisrael, to develop their connection with our Holy Land and to have a place to call home when they come to visit. For many of them, their ultimate hope is to move here permanently and arrange things so they can use their current home in Chutz La’aretz as their secondary place of residence.
After all, where is a Jew’s true home if not Eretz Yisrael? v
Shia Getter is the CEO of the Shia Getter Group, a full-range real-estate services firm in Jerusalem catering to the Anglo-chareidi community. He is a noted expert, columnist, and author of Everything You Need to Know about Buying Real Estate in Israel (Feldheim, 2013). He and his professional team are Israel’s one and only true sellers’ and buyers’ brokerage. They provide a unique service by managing and maintaining your apartment and being completely responsible for the entire buying or selling process.
Shia Getter will be in New York and New Jersey August 19–26 and has some availability for consulting with serious owners and potential investors who want to buy property in Eretz Yisrael while being properly advised. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 718-473-3950, ext. 8, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.