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Can't Stand Israel!


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 7, 5773
Hi Re your response about the State of Israel been the awaited redemption, that is not Halacha - the religious here hate the State for the secular, greedy and immoral place that it is! I made Aliyah because I believed like you, but can simply not wait to go back to civilization where my children will have a hope and a future! How can anyone live here and see the corruption and stealing there is and think Hashem is involved?
Something terrible must have happened to you recently, because you sound extremely distraught. Unfortunately I can’t help you with your personal predicament which leads you to say terrible things about the Land and the people of Israel. But regarding your harsh words, I must tell you that you have slipped exactly into the Sin of the Spies (Cheit HaMeraglim). The Meshech Chochma (R. Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, know also as the Or Same’ach) stresses that Hashem forgave idolatry (Cheit HaEgel, the Golden Calf), but does not forgive Cheit HaMraglim, speaking bad about the Land, and convincing others not to make aliya! The Netziv stresses that the words of the spies against the Land and her inhabitants were true, nevertheless, like in the laws of Lashon HaRA (slandering), that’s also forbidden. It would take pages to answer and disprove your approach, but in short: 1. The redemption aspect of the State of Israel is halacha. When a Jew came to the cities of Judea during the 1,900 year exile, he would rip his clothes in mourning for that was considered “churban” (destruction). But since we have the Jewish State of Israel ruling in Judea, the Beit Yosef, Mishna Brura and all agree that one need not rip any longer, because the State of Israel halachically (!) removes the status of churban, and brings the status of ge’ula (Beit Yosef, Mishna Brura, Orach Chaim 561). 2. Most religious people in Israel do not hate the State. Some charedim do, but even they would never leave the Holy Land, as you are inferring that you’d like to, because even corrupt people don’t mar the inherent holiness of the Land. It’s always better to live even among idolators in Eretz Yisrael than even among religious Jews in chutz laAretz (abroad) for “settling in Eretz Yisrael is equated with the rest of the mitzvot combined” (Tosefta Avoda Zara 5, 2, Shulchan Aruch Ev. H. 65). 3. You’ll find a lot more “secular, greedy and immoral” people in America or probably any country, than in Israel, where “Your People are all righteous, they will always inherit the Land” (Yishayahu 60, 21). G-d tells us, “I wish my children would be in the Land of Israel, even if they defile her!” (Yalkut Shimoni, Eicha 1038). “Happy are those who dwell in the Land of Israel, for they are without sin, whether on purpose or even accidental” (ibid, Tehilim, 833). Jews aren’t perfect, but you won’t find too many R. Aryeh Levin’s, or even overprotective women on the bus who care about your baby, anywhere else. You certainly won’t find any other country where you can count the average plumber, soldier and bank teller for a minyan, as well as being privileged to be obligated towards them in all of the mitzvot bein adam l’chavero (btween man and his fellow)! In addition, just about all those Israelis whom you hate are nevertheless, willing to give their life to save you and your children. I don’t think the average goy in any other country cares about you as much, especially if you’d hate them like you apparently hate the Israelis! We tried living in more than 100 different countries over the last 1900 years, and objectively, the alternatives are a lot worse! 4. In addition to all the above, how can you compare raising your children with the holiness and Godliness of the Holy People in the Holy Land, with all of the gdolei Torah in the world who are here, as opposed to the tum’a, assimilation, and anti-Semitism of chutz laAretz?! In addition, here the mitzvot are real, in galut, theyr’e just practice (Dvarim 6, 1; Sifre, Ramban Vayikra, 18, 25), according to the Chafetz Chaim, worth only 5% of their value in Israel (L’Ntivot Yisrael, p.202). 5. Hashem is always involved with Am Yisrael, and out of love, He gives us free will to choose good or bad. Similarly the redemption has ups and downs, and our rabbis told us already 1,800 years ago in the mishna that there will be a rebellion against religion as part of the process of redemption (Sotah, 49b). It unfortunate, but not only doesn’t it “disprove” this is the geula, but it actually proves it! The great questions today’s rebels asked about Torah, enable the great answer (“tshuva”), which wer’e already witnessing. The ba’al tshuva movement in Israel is a national phenomenon, as opposed to all other countries where it’s statistically insignificant compared to assimilation. Most children enrolled in 1st grade here, are in religious Jewish education. Can you say that about any other state in the world? 6. For more on the topic, see my article, “The Centrality of Eretz Yisrael to Judaism” (, but finally, according to the Torah, if you leave the Land of Israel, it’s not that the Land isn’t good enough for you- it’s that you’re not good enough for the Land which vomits you out (Vayikra 18, 28). Hopefully these brief reminders will help you appreciate once again your historic and holy decision to make aliya. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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