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Delaying aliya for career and studies

Rabbi Ari ShvatAdar II 25, 5771
167
Question
Hi Rabbi! My wife and I are talking about the future, in terms of living in Eretz Yisrael and graduate school. My wife wants to pursue a Phd in Psychology beginning next year. However, it is a 6 year program, which could complicate our plans for aliya, especially as anything unexpected can happen in that time frame. Do you think it’s a good idea to wait it out and let her finish the program, or do you think this would tie us further down to chutz l’aretz? Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. Kul tuv, Aaron
Answer
BH Shalom Aaron! Mazal Tov to you and your new wife! I'm glad to hear that you haven't "assimilated" too much into the galut mentality and that BH, aliya is still on your agenda. Unfortunately, the most common difficulty I found among tens, if not hundreds, of friends and students who planned aliya and in the end, didn’t make it, is that they pushed it off, got used to the lifestyle and standard of living there, and in the end, sold their dreams for a nice, hot “lentil soup”. If you want to be realistic, the chances of making aliya in another 6 years, are extremely slim. Just think where you will be practically at that time. You”ll already be at the height of your career, with hard-earned connections, promotions, and potential for advancement. You will BH already have several children in school with friends, activities, etc. You”ll probably own a house and have to look to sell it (and most won’t want to lose money, and will wait that much longer to get a good price…). You will probably be established and comfortable in the community, have your she’urim, your rav and your chevruta… You and your wife will have strong social ties, and the longer you wait, the more friends you will have, and the stronger the ties will be with them. The more you wait, the older your parents and/or grandparents will be, and then you may feel guilty leaving them. The more you wait, the more relatives you will have to leave. Every month that you wait is going to make leaving that much more difficult. It basically boils down to the question, how important aliya is to you. That only you can answer. All I can help you with is that if Torah and Judaism is important to you, “Living in Eretz Yisrael is equated with the rest of the mitzvot combined!” (Tosefta, Av.Z. 5, 2), and “Whomever lives in chutz laAretz has no G-d”, and “is as if he worships idols (=gold and silver, rather than idealistic priorities) (Ktuvot 110b-111a). You are definitely at a crossroad in life, and now is the time to decide clearly, what are your priorities really are: money, comfort and convenience, or Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Torat Yisrael! I am confident that you will make a wise decision. If you are interested in seeing my article from Tchumin on the halachic sources regarding aliya and career, and how much one must be willing to lower their standard of living in order to make aliya, see the following link (which will also be on the web soon in English): http://www.rambish.org.il/journals/t/tehumin/vol22/thmn02280.doc Just remember, the future of Am Yisrael and Torat Yisrael are in Eretz Yisrael, and we are lucky enough to live in the historic generation of kibbutz galuyot. All of your ancestors dreamed and would have given anything to be able to make aliya as part of the ge’ula process. You have that opportunity- you’ll probably regret if you pass it up. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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