Ask the rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Aliya

Land of Israel


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

20 Sivan 5763
I was living in Israel for quite a few years but left because I was just homesick and so many things are different in Israel that I just could not get used to. I also did not want my children turning into Israelis who would be more comfortable with Hebrew than English. Another thing I didn’t like was the "intense" all-encompasing "chareidi" view of Judaism (so different than the "Orthodox" Judaism of America) that I just could not identify with, despite being in close contact with that view for many years. Are these good enough reasons to leave, halachically? I have a feeling that they are not, but on the other hand, does it make sense for someone to be "trapped" by halacha and wanting to leave but staying only because it is halachacally "forbidden"? That does not seem right either.
Not all mitzvot are easy to observe. But raising children who are more comfortable in Hebrew- the language of our forefathers- than in English or any other foreign language, is a blessing (this doesn't mean they shouldn't be fluent in English). Your feelings are correct: the reasons you have written as to why you left Israel are inadequate halachically to justify your yerida. Also since there are so many different kinds of communities in Israel one could choose to live in- some more haredi some less so, some more Hebrew speaking, some more English speaking, some intense, some diffuse- it might be a good idea for you to reexamine what really made you decide to make yerida. This- not so that you should or shouldn't feel guilty, but to prepare for a more successful Aliyah in the near future.
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